23. Olympia SM3 – the dark horse

A page devoted to my black Olympia SM3, which I bought a month ago, and promptly sent  off to Tom Lucas, http://www.thetypewriterman.co.uk, north of London, for a checkover and new rubber on the platen. The latter is not something Tom does – he had to send it off – and that took about three weeks, but the wait was worth it. This is a quality machine. I can’t recommend Tom highly enough – very knowledgeable, with long experience in the typewriter repair industry, seems happy to fully answer any questions I have. What more do you want from a repair man?

As mentioned before, every new typewriter in our house starts with a poem, usually a bad one, as my mind is taken up with too many things when faced with a new typewriter. This machine has clocked up two poems, the first when it first arrived, of course, the second after returning from Tom’s work on it. In both events, the poem turned out bad, but let’s not worry about that.

One positive thing about these poems is that they allow us to see the difference Tom’s work has brought about. And having the new platen is a delight. A recommended procedure, despite the expense – about £110. In the old days, they used to change the platen every three or four years. Now it is rarely done, which is a pity, as it makes such a difference.

OlympiaSM3manual –  a pdf of the original manual.

Here are some photos.

And that’s that…

7 thoughts on “23. Olympia SM3 – the dark horse”

  1. A brilliant cleaning job. I need to establish a platen connection in the U.S. Some of my prewar machines do a number on the paper, and I feel bad for not using them. They need new rollers, too.

    I’m keen on the feel of an Olympia. My fingers move faster on them. I posted a spoof on Flann O’Brien’s Third Man a while ago. Whereas his characters become part bicycle when they ride too often, mine became part typewriter (and the typewriter part human). In a way, I don’t think cybernetics requires a direct interface between flesh and machine. Look at how people stroll with their cell phones or how we instinctively handle our cars!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am fortunate enough to have an Olympia SM3 too and it is one of the best types in my collection. The action is fast and crisp. A pure delight to type on.

    I must admit, your machine looks great in all black. Mine is the standard 1950’s odd green (war surplus?) and has maroon keys. Prints in Elite italics. Wish I could attach a photo and type sample.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, they are excellent typers, faster than my fingers can type.
      Elite italics, eh? I’m not sure I would always want italics, but it would be fun to have in the house somewhere (not that I’m buying any more!).


  3. Whenever I see a particularly stunning typewriter, and it’s in the hands of a fellow collector and not a museum, I have to soothe myself by finding something I don’t like about it. It’s very difficult with this one. It’s down to the pica font. Yes, that’s it. So unnecessarily large. I don’t like it! I don’t!

    I recently received a reconditioned platen for my own SM3, which is brown, but at least it’s as attractive a brown as brown can probably be. It hasn’t been installed yet because I’m not mechanically inclined and I can’t understand the broken ESL tech-speak of the Olympia service manual, which also references parts by numbers on diagrams that I don’t have. I’m hoping it makes a difference. This SM3 was by far the loudest manual typewriter I’ve used–every keystroke sounded like a flyswatter hitting a plastic drum.

    Before I got the SM3, I bought an SM2, which has fewer features (and that big pica font, bigger even than the pica on Smith-Coronas and Royals), but a lighter touch on the keys than the SM3. A fellow collector here in Portland who specializes in Olympias says that this is true of SM2s and SM3s in general.

    I love the “Is All This Known Already?” headings in the manual. They remind me of John Hodgman’s take-off of the old newspaper “Believe it or Not” series, titled “Were You Even Aware of It?”

    Your SM3 is just about the cleanest one I’ve ever seen. And it still has the brush, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d like to give you five stars for that comment, John 🙂 The keys are not hard work, save for the pinkies on the Shift keys. To make you feel better, I should tell you there are a few Tippex spots which are seemingly impossible to get rid of without causing damage to the top. But apart from that, it’s really quite perfect, and I’m delighted with it.

      Liked by 1 person

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