Olympia SM-2 with segment shift? Has anyone ever seen one of these?

Got to talking with Bill Wahl down at MTE and he mentioned seeing an item in one of his old trade newsletters that indicated that the Olympia SM2 could be ordered with Segment shift (basket-shift) instead of the common Carriage shift. We both were dubious, considering the rather huge mechanical difference between the two shift systems, but later he dug out the newsletter and offered it to me to scan in as proof.

So here it is, from the April 1953 Ship-Ward News for Office Machine Dealers, an item in the changes for Line Book price data, indicating the Olympia SM2 could be ordered in either Carriage Shift *or* Segment Shift, with a $5 price difference.

Has anyone actually laid eyes on a Segment-shift Oly SM2/3/4? Does this mythical machine even exist? A conundrum wrapped in a mystery, for the Typosphere to solve! :D

PS: The rest of this interesting little newsletter is forthcoming in full in a future post. It’s fascinating! Also, the 1953 Olympias were *cheaper* than either Remingtons or Underwoods, by quite a lot, it appears.

Updated: July 29, 2011 — 9:22 am


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  1. Having never even seen an SM2, I can confidently say no I’ve never seen this subset ;-]

  2. I’ve never heard of that option. Interesting. I’m surprised that Olympias were less expensive because they sure seem like better machines. I’m horribly biased, though.

  3. Interesting! Finally, some mention of the Underwood Correspondent I spotted in a thrift shop a few weeks ago – a good mid-range machine, it seems, although I didn’t find the brown color very appealing. And just look at how expensive those Remington Quiet-Riters are! Fine machines in their day, but totally overlooked these days (I think the aesthetic does not appeal to many.) The Olympia, on the other hand, has retained its value all these years – a testament to good design and function.

    To answer your question, no, I’ve never seen a segment-shifted SM2… or even an SM2, period, come to think of it.

  4. Very intriguing indeed. I am not aware of any segment-shifted Olympia portables before the SM 8/9 of the 1960s!

    1. Me either. I think my ideal Olympia would be a segment-shifted SM4, so I’m very curious to find out if any were actually manufactured.

  5. Ha! I wast just today pondering this very same issue… my ideal machine would be a basket-shift SM4. Elite, please. I think that it would be the non plus ultra of “user” typewriters.

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