Friday, May 29, 2009

Olivetti repair conundrum

The other day I scored an Olivetti 36 for $10. The seller warned me that five keys are “dead” on the electric.

No problem. I’ve been on the lookout for a parts Olivetti 36 for months. I need drive belts for the one I already have.

Surprise, surprise — they don’t make them any more. In fact, Olivetti barely survived into the new century.

The belts on my recent purchase (that's the one on the left in the photos) are fine. In fact this is a better looking machine than the one I have. Now I’m thinking I’ll try to fix the keys on the new purchase first. If that doesn't work, I'll mess around with removing and installing the fragile belts on the old machine (which, by the way, came with manuals, tools and a better case.)

Besides, there’s the possibility that if I do the belt installation, the old machine’s keys could be dead too.

Such is my faith in Olivettis. Famously beautiful machines but notoriously unreliable. (I know some people like that — replete with the human equivalent of dead keys and frayed drive belts.)

I’ll let you know what happens.