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Typewriter - Olivetti Lexicon 80
  • Olivetti Lexicon 80
    Nizzoli, Marcello, born 1887 - died 1969
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Olivetti Lexicon 80

  • Object:

    Typewriter

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1942-1968 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Nizzoli, Marcello, born 1887 - died 1969 (designer)
    British Olivetti Ltd (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pressed steel, chromed steel and plastic

  • Museum number:

    M.27-1993

  • Gallery location:

    20th Century, Room 76

Nizzoli took over on a consultancy basis the design of all Olivetti's products in 1936. He was concerned especially with the appearance of the products rather than with how they worked. With this typewriter Olivetti became the first manufacturer to make the standard office typewriter into an object of style. Its mechanical components are hidden in an elegant grey casing. Its production ceased in 1968.

Physical description

Upright typewriter with the standard qwerty keyboard; the keys of circular black plastic with white numerals with the exception of the back space key in the top right hand corner which is picked out in burnt orange. The grey steel envelope has straight sides and back with curved edges. The front hood which is domed is completely detachable for access to the mechanism has softly rounded edges and a curved front. Its lower edge dips down in a broad arc. The central window to allow the keys to strike the platen is a continuously curved lozenge. The carriage, when moved into its central position, fits precisely into the side profiles of the stationary back bar. The chromed levers and handles grouped at either end of the carriage are subordinated to the strong sculptural character of the body. The back of the carriage is relieved by a series of closely aligned, parallel channels.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)

Date

1942-1968 (made)

Artist/maker

Nizzoli, Marcello, born 1887 - died 1969 (designer)
British Olivetti Ltd (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Pressed steel, chromed steel and plastic

Marks and inscriptions

olivetti / Made in Great Britain
Adjacent to the right hand knurled knob of the carriage

Lexicon 80
In the centre of the hood, within a rectangular panel.

British Olivetti Ltd. Glasgow / Made in Great Britain
On the back, centre near the lower edge in a two tone black and silver panel

Dimensions

Height: 23 cm, Width: 56 cm maximum, Depth: 37.5 cm

Object history note

This object was selected by the Core Committee of the Twentieth Century Gallery Project. Found in PDP.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Objects of Desire, Design and Society 1750-1980, Adrian Forty, London, 1986, pp.152-3
An introduction to Design and Culture in the Twentieth Century, Penny Sparke, London, 1986, p.183
Olivetti: Design in Industry, Museum of Modern Art Bulletin, New York, 1952
Design Process Olivetti 1908-1978, Los Angeles: University of California, Frederick S. Wright Gallery, 1979

Labels and date

TYPEWRITER: OLIVETTI LEXICON 80

Designed by Marcello Nizzoli (Italian, 1910-1977) [sic - 1887-1969]
Made by British Olivetti Ltd., Italy, from 1942
Pressed steel, chromed steel and plastic

Nizzoli took over on a consultancy basis the design of all Olivetti's products in 1936. He was concerned especially with the appearance of the products rather than with how they worked. With this typewriter Olivetti became the first manufacturer to make the standard office typewriter into an object of style. Its mechanical components are hidden in an elegant grey casing. Its production ceased in 1968. [1992-2008]

Materials

Steel; Plastic

Categories

Metalwork

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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