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What is this?

A green/grey metal cased typewriter with a white keypad and black keys. "olivetti" and "lettera 32" in black and white on front of typewriter.

Why is this in our collection?

Today, a student might purchase a laptop to help with college work. In the 1960s, that same student might have bought a Lettera 32. Weighing ten pounds and having its own case, this typewriter was advertised as the perfect graduation gift. Designed by Marcello Nizzoli for Olivetti, the Lettera 32 was an innovative new product for the Italian typewriter manufacturer; its portability made it a popular choice for students as well as writers who appreciated its compact design. During the 1960s —the Lettera 32 was designed in 1963 — designers worked for Olivetti on a part-time basis, as it was thought that full-time employment would crush creativity, and spent much of their time away pursuing other projects. Consistency of style was not important and uniqueness was encouraged from its rotating roster of designers: Mario Bellini, Ettore Sottsass Jr., and Michele de Lucchi.

This is a typewriter from Italy. It is dated 1963 and we acquired it in 1992. Gift of Mel Byars.

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ This object is currently resting in our storage facility.

Its medium is

enameled metal

Its dimensions are

H x W x D (in case): 10.1 x 31.3 x 43 cm (4 in. x 12 5/16 in. x 16 15/16 in.)

This object was designed by Marcello Nizzoli and manufactured by Ing. C. Olivetti & C. S.p.A.

This object was donated by Mel Byars

A timeline of event horizons

See more stuff from the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

Do you have your own photos of this object? Are they online somewhere, like Flickr or Instagram? Or have you created a 3D model of one of our objects in SketchUp or Thingiverse? If so then then tag them with ch:object=18638707 and we will connect ours to yours!

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Lettera 32 Typewriter, 1963 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=5 August 2015 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>

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