1 Feb 2015

272 International keyboard layouts

For those of you who aren't lucky enough to own a copy of Beeching's Century of the Typewriter, and those like me who don't carry it around with them every second of their lives, here are the international typewriter keyboard layouts offered by Olympia around 1974, all 272 of them.

It's been a great help in figuring out what country a particular typewriter with an unfamiliar layout is from. Apologies for the sometimes skewed keyboards; I couldn't scan them due to the binding so I took photos.

Afrikaans, American


American-Med/Drug,  American-Chemistry, American Air Force, Amharic, Anglo-Iraq

Anglo-Israel, Anglo-Persian, Anglo-Japan, Anglo-Thailand, Anglo-Siamese, Anglo-Universal

Anglo-Universal, Arabic

Arabic, Armenian, Belgian, Bolivia, Brazilian

Brazilian, Bulgarian, Burmese, Cambodia, Canada-English, Canada-French

Canada-French, Chile, Czechoslovakian, Danish

Danish, Dominican, Dutch, Dutch Antilles, French Egyptian

Egyptian English, English, Malta English, Finnish

Finnish, French

French, Equatorial Africa, German, German-French, German-American, German DIN

Greek, Greek-French, Greek-Latin, Guatemala, Gujrati

Hebrew, Hindi, Honduras, Hong Kong

Hungarian, Iceland, Indonesian, Italian

Italian, Japan Farrington, Katakana Japan, katakana-Latin, Korea, Laos

Lettish, Library, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonian Cyrillic, Malta, Misra-Hindi, Mozambique-Angola

Mozambique-Angola, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norwegian

Panama, Persian, Paraguay, Pashtu, Philippines

Polish, Portuguese, Romanian

Romanian, Russian, Russia-Ukraine, Siamese

Siamese, Singhalese, Slovakian, Spanish


Spanish, Spanish-Hispano, Sudan, Suriname, Swedish

Swedish Pharmacy, Swiss, Tamil

Telegraphy, Turkish, Ukraine, Universal

Universal, Urdu

Venezuela, Yugoslavia, Yugoslavia-Cyrillic


  1. it's easy to forget what a great resource the Beeching book is - I found my copy at Reed Books in Birmingham, Alabama about 4 years ago; mine is an old library edition, super durable and built for war(it even had an original owners manual for a Royal 10 tucked inside the back cover - Mr Reed let me keep it with the book at no extra charge). To anyone who doesn't have it: get it!

    1. Despite some inaccuracies and omissions, it's definitely very useful and entertaining. I found my copy (1990 revision) in like new condition from the UK; I think I paid more for shipping ($8-ish) than for the book.

  2. Definitely a posting to hang on to. Thanks How was the rest of your California trip?

  3. Imagine having to keep track of all these different keyboards if you were on the crew that fitted the type slugs, and keytops on the assembly line at the factories, especially for languages that you knew nothing about - were they correct or not!?

    1. It would have been a challenge! It might explain why my Olympia SM2 with US keyboard has two typeslugs switched accidentally (but the keytops are correct)

  4. Super interesting, thank you! Even some Swiss variants I didn't know existed.