Olivetti-Underwood Studio 21

Olivetti-Underwood Studio 21

It’s hard to believe my luck sometimes. After months and months of coming up dry on my thrift store runs, the past couple of weeks have been like Moses striking the stone and having a steady stream pour forth. Lately, I’ve been only hitting the most convenient Goodwill every three or four days – the one that’s right across the parking lot from my office. I stop in on my way home from work, trot back to the “Electronics” section and scan the bottom shelf for those familiar little suitcases that mean “sweet portable manual typewriter inside”.

So, after reading Little Flower Petals and SEMI-AUTOMATIC‘s posts on the Olivetti 21, I was surprised to find that today’s little suitcase contained a bright blue two-toned model 21 just like the ones they had posted, in quite excellent shape. The carriage was locked, just as someone who took good care of their typewriter would naturally do before putting it away in it’s case, and the price was right: $5.99 – a deal I can never pass up if the machine’s in good shape.

I put in a new ribbon (yep, it still has the original metal spools), and I’ll need to apply a little elbow grease to clean up the grease pencil and price stickers that Goodwill inevitably applies, but the paint is great, with no gouges or wear spots, the platen is in good shape and the type is clean enough for me to think that this machine just wasn’t used very much. The question remains “what am I going to do with it?” :D

Type sample of the Olivetti-Underwood 21, 10cpi Pica.

Updated: April 11, 2024 — 12:49 pm


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  1. Very nice. I love the feeling of spotting a typewriter case in a thrift store! This is one I haven’t yet seen in person myself.

  2. Very, very nice find. I’d be envious if I didn’t already have one. My 21 has become one of my most-used machines: I love the simple elegance of both the typewriter itself and the typeface, and it feels nice, too. I also like how quiet it is, especially for its size.

  3. Hola saludos, ayer adquiri una Oliveeti-Underwood 21, muy hermosa, no la conocia, pero esta bien conservada, me retiro, Chao.

  4. Where can I get ahold of that neat typewriter font?


    1. if you mean the digital font I use for website text, it’s Google’s Special Elite:

  5. I just picked one up tonight for $2!


  6. I actually just did the same thing. I have been searching for a blue vintage type writer for two years. And yesterday I stumbled upon a 1960 underwood 21 typewriter with original box, instructions, and key. For $15 I was astounded! The best part is the ribbon is still good and it types beautifully. As an author this was something I wanted to project with and now I get the opportunity.

  7. Just stumbled upon a Underwood 21 at a local antique store I sometimes frequent, for just $20.00. I am just now reviewing said machine. It was a whim stopping into this shop, as it is one that is mostly closed when it should be open, teasing me with views of luscious machines. Today I had a splendid choice of several writers, and my eyes were drawn to the Underwood 21. I could have acquired several machines of worth, but I have a lack of space for my modest collection. I endeavor to procure viable Typers to pass on to my 7 grandchildren. I love the hunt ! A repairer in training. RBM

  8. Thanks! Today I had some time to look into the Underwood 21. I respooled the original metal ones from my supply of “universal” ribbons, with excellent results. Wonderful! It has a similar feel in typing as my 1957 Underwood Golden Touch S 150 Standard, the shape of the key tops is very similar, if not a perfect match. Nice machine! I am lucky to have Tom Furrier as my go-to guy at Cambridge Typewriter, only a 45-minute drive away. If I can’t figure problems out on the antique shop finds, at least Tom is there to help me out and share some knowledge most generously. I also order instruction books from the typewriter database as well, just throwing myself into it and absorbing like a sponge ! Thanks to the teachers!

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