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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.

This object is full of stories

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.

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

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

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

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=http://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18638707/ |title=Typewriter, "Lettera 32", 1963 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=21 December 2014 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>

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