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A man of the cloth and the steel he wields

Doris Day, the 1966 Olympia SM 9 De Luxe

Doris, as found at the local Goodwill

Some strange force compelled me to stop by the local Goodwill store yesterday after work, a force that whispered insistently “There’ll be a nice, shiny black Voss waiting for you, i guarantee it!” (This voice has popped up regularly since I saw the pics of Duffy Moon’s beautiful Voss). Well, the voice lied, sorta. There was no Voss waiting for me, but upon making a beeline for the shelf where this Goodwill regularly stashes it’s typewriters, I do see a distinctive grey and white case and I immediately plop down in front of it and open it up. Inside is a mid-sixties Olympia with the words “Needs Some Work” grease-penciled on it. By “Work”, the good folks at Goodwill meant “the carriage doesn’t move and the keys don’t press all the way down”. Knowledgeable readers will recognize these symptoms as the common state of well-stored typewriters whose owners know what the carriage lock lever is for. $5.99 later, and I have added a pristine-condition Olympia SM-9 Deluxe to my collection, which is the newest typewriter I own now – having been manufactured the same year I was born.

It didn’t stay mine for long, though. My girlfriend happens to love Olympias, and an SM of the same vintage and color as her beloved Socialite was just too shiny to not be hers. Within minutes of her getting home from work, she’d gushed over it and then Named and Claimed it. The SM 9 is now christened “Doris Day” and is now her fourth typewriter rather than my eighth (or ninth, I’ve sorta lost count).

Updated: July 29, 2015 — 3:50 pm

6 Comments

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  1. Nice find, very amusing about the carriage lock. SM9s are the best (to write with, that is. They aren’t much to look at).

  2. I think they’re rather attractive, actually. I only find the action just a tiny bit slowish and squishy for my taste. However if I see a good-condition Oly for that price anywhere, you’d better bet I’m losing my lunch money that day. :D

  3. How do people get such deals? I don’t get it. I’ve never been so fortunate to make such a discovery. I need to start visiting my local Goodwill more often.

    1. well, that was Feb ’11, back before the whole typewriter revival got into full swing in the papers. Goodwills were still treating old typewriters the same as they treat inkjet printers and such. $6 or $9 was a pretty common price for them. That’s not the case in most of the Goodwills I cruise nowadays.

  4. Hi, I think I have an Olympia SM9 from checking the picture you have. I tried to google what I think is the serial number 2535218 and couldn’t find any information to help with a quandry I’ve been having. I found this at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and it was working perfectly days before I went back to buy it. I believe it still works perfectly but……….

    My problem is that the keys do not press all the way. It looks like something is locked but I can’t figure out how to unlock it so the keys start pressing all the way. Can you help solve this?

    1. lever on the far upper left of the keyboard is the carriage lock. unlock it.

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