Saturday, October 27, 2012

A week of reviews (Part Eight)- Olympia Plana








A bit hard to tell from the picture, but that is a Bakelite (or just plastic?) segment.




Opening...

Fully open. Notice the semi-circular latch moving away from the ribbon?


The very idea of two different sized ribbon dowels is perplexing, let alone the insert to accommodate them...







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10 comments:

  1. Very interesting typewriter. A bakelite housing is different. I wonder if the key on the left is tab set/clear and the one on the right is back space and margin release.

    I hope the storm is a mild in PA as it was in FL, but I understand there are 2 major storms converging.

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  2. It's a cool machine, to be sure. Seems to type nicely even if the feel and visibility aren't great (yet).

    The Express is another machine with a plastic segment. Bakelite, as I understand it, is just a particular kind of plastic.

    Keep safe when the storm hits.

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  3. A well done review and pictorial! We have an Optima Plana coming up in the review schedule; comparison between the two will be most interesting.

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  4. I'm glad this cleaned up well. My typewriter budget is blown due to as yet unrevealed machines, so I passed on this when it came up on ebay. I'm glad it has a good home. This is the second rarity in two weeks I have passed on that has shown up in the Typosphere! I'd say that I impressed with my self-restraint, but that would be a serious overstatement.

    It is hard to say exactly which plastic technology is utilized with this machine. In reading up on the Express that Richard mentioned, I found that the segment is made of the same BPA epoxy technology you would be accustomed to as a two component joint filler or grout. The body may be something else. Bakelite is a different resin system based on formaldehyde and is common in old radio bodies and electrical insulators. It is typically more brittle than epoxy based plastic.

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  5. I love the colour of this machine. And it has my initials!

    I instantly want one now... Dammit!

    As it happens, I collect old telephones. What you can do, to test and see if it is bakelite, is to do what is often called the 'Simichrome test'. A lot of people use Simichrome to polish their phones, but if you use a bit on a cotton bud, and just hold it against your bakelite object, the formaldehyde will stain the bud brown.

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  6. Love it! You really are a tracker of the unusual, Ken.

    Keep safe!

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  7. That is one cool machine. I've never heard of it before. This is why I don't search typewriters on ebay. Are you becoming the Olympia Brand Ambassador? I will be interested in what you discover about those keys by the spacebar. Does either of them hold it down to lock the carriage or something?

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  8. This Plana is so EMPHATICALLY MAROON!

    Thanks for posting all the characters of this typeface, which is very nice and clear.

    This typewriter looks surprisingly modern for its manufacture date; very sleek lines.

    I hope you get the ribbon vibrator to drop fully. It sounds like this machine is being awakened from a long sleep, and should smooth out with use. Great snag off eBay!

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  9. @Bill- The one on the right functions as tab, and the one on the left sets margins...I think. It's all very confusing. Still can't figure it out, exactly.

    @Richard- Ah, yes, the Express. I have seen one or two of those. Very neat machines. I must say, I am liking the feel of this Bakelite.

    @Will- I will definitely be checking that post out. Could be very interesting to note the differences.

    @Dwayne- Well then, that worked out well for me, didn't it? Ha! I am just assuming Bakelite, of course, from what I have read about the machine.

    @Scott- Yes, I didn't even notice that...it DOES have your initials! I may just have to try this method of testing for Bakelite at some point. Sounds neat.

    @Peter- This is WHY I scour eBay! I really hope to become something of an Olympia ambassador...anyone have some pre-war standards they could send my way? ;) And no, neither of the keys lock the carriage. I am still figuring it all out, but they all work with the margin/tab stops in the back somehow.

    @Cameron- Yes it is! Up until a few weeks ago, I had zero maroon typewriters...and now I have two! Fantastic! I have been using the Plana a bit more, and the vibrator is still sticking. I am sure I will get it working soon. I hope so, anyway...it is getting nicer to use with each keystroke.

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  10. Hi guys. I know I am half a year late, but I have some info. I have a pristine Plana in my possession, even with a manual (albeit a Czech one). What would you guys be interested in?

    @notagain: Yes, the keys by the spacebar lock the carriage AND set tabs. You can turn both them around for using the respective functions.

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