Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sottsass' best kept secret: Olivetti Studio 45

The Olivetti Studio 45 

and the Underwood 450 
seem identical in every respect 
except for the design of the typebars 
cover, the platen knobs, and the color 
palette. The turquoise Studio 45 is what 
we often see. I will have to agree with 
Will Davis, Underwood 450 gets higher 
marks for looks. Like the Valentine, the 
Underwood 450/Studio 45 bears the creative 
fingerprints of noted Italian designer 
Ettore Sottsass. It's such a solid typer,
I almost forgot that it's made of plastic. 
So before you summarily dismiss plastic, 
give this machine a shot.
Then let's talk.

Like the Studio 44, here's another tricky serial number conundrum. Underwood 450 is not listed, so going by the Studio 45 listing, my machine is vintage 1973. The Studio 45 was first produced in 1967. 

This Spanish-made Underwood 450 is in pristine condition and has a clear pica typeface. I snagged it on ebay a couple of months ago; made an offer, seller accepted. am a huge fan of the Olivetti Studio series, I now have five of them. Five? Let's see, I've got Studio 42, 44, 45, 46... one is unaccounted for. Stay tuned.

Adwoa, you correctly predicted what was next in the Olivetti line-up. Almost.(: 

* There's scant info on Underwood 45, Typewriters by Will Davis is a godsend. The Olivetti Studio 45 pic is from Machines of Loving Grace.
* Typecast via Underwood 450/Olivetti Studio 45.


Work is taking me oceans away.
To an ancient, arid, sun-drenched region.
Flight time: 14 hours, with a layover at Charles De Gaulle.

I'll be back first week of June. 
More posts- hopefully, typewriter sightings -when I return. My commenting on your blog posts won't be zero, just sporadic. 

¡Hasta pronto!


  1. Very nice machine. I hadn't heard from that model before, but then again I was not into collecting typewriters until last year or so, and probably missed many models sold by Olivetti in Mexico.

    I agree with you; Olivetti typewriters have a very nice design, and even the plastic-bodied models (at least the relatively old ones) are solid and easy to use; I just confirmed that with my (plastic bodied) Lettera S / Dora.

    Very nice machine and very nice typeface. Will have to look and see if it was sold in this country.

    Bon voyage!

  2. I hadn't paid attention to this model before. You're right, it's a bold and interesting design.

    Have a great trip.

  3. There is a store in Columbus that has an architectural rendering of the Underwood offices, I cannot think of a more fitting home than yours. Drop me a line if you are interested in it

  4. Oh, wow...that side view is spectacular!

  5. Very nice typewriter. first time I've seen one of these. Enjoy your trip.

  6. It looks like a gent all duded up in a tuxedo! Tres chic! Safe travels.

  7. Very appealing colour scheme! How does it stack up in terms of typing action?

  8. @Miguel, certainly worth having, especially for Olivetti fans. Mil gracias, Señor, muy amable!

    @Richard, it's got the color scheme of your patrol car Underwood Quiet-tab.

    @bofish, thanks, very kind of you, but I'll have to pass on this one; just too much stuff right now.

    @Ledeaux, exactly.

    @Florian, as I wrote, a lighter Studio 44. Crisp, smooth, solid. "A" for performance.

    Appreciate all your comments, thanks!

  9. Very nice machine. I like the color sceme. On the other day I almost bought a blue one but it had an azerty keyboard so I passed it. But after reading this I start thinking I shouldn't...

  10. Fernando, why not plan to acquire both. ( :

  11. Aha! I knew you wouldn't be able to resist the allure of this gorgeous design. Well done, you got one even better than the original! The black-white color combo is quite fetching, and I agree with Ledeaux that the tuxedo look is très chic. A real beauty. Fortunately, an Underwood 450 will never cross my path in Geneva, so it won't be too hard to resist the temptation to acquire one. Whew. (Famous last words :))

  12. Adwoa, never say never, strange things have materialized in the Geneva markets. ( :

  13. This is an interesting typewriter, I admit that I can prefer typewriters made of metal, but the 45 seems very well constructed and a solid performer.
    I hope I'll find a 45 in a thrift store near home, just to try it :-D

  14. Beautiful looking to be sure. Why was it that only the Italian designers seem to have enduring fame? For typewriters that is..

  15. That is stunning! Never seen one before - thanks for sharing this.

  16. @tr0x, you'll try it and then you'll buy it. ( :

    @DonN, welcome here. I believe it's because Olivetti collaborated with high profile industrial designers/architects- e.g., Sottsass, Bellini, Nizzoli, among others -to design their typewriters.

    @Duffy, happy you share my opinion, it is a looker!

  17. i wonder what you will bring back and show us next...

    have a great trip!

  18. You make each one a work of art, they are so beautifully photographed!

  19. @B.C., thanks for your thoughtful message.

    @1950s Atomic Ranch House, thanks for your affirmation, glad to hear you liked the images.