12 Apr 2015

Olympia SM series (part 2, 1964-1980s)


This post covers post-war segment-shifted Olympias of the SM line from 1964 to the 1980s. It is part 2 in a series of 2. See part 1 here.

All of the pictures in this post have been found on the internet and come from the collections of myself and other typospherians, as well as current and ended online auctions, and are presented purely as examples essential to this post. No infringement intended.

This post will be edited when new information becomes available, especially with model examples. If you have an example with a serial number and photo, please let me know because every piece of information connecting age with finish/colors helps!


SM8/SM9: 1964-1979

The SM8/SM9 was introduced in 1964 with an all-new segment shift design and a new body. The keys were off-white with turquoise accents. The logo was originally turquoise as well.

The SM8 is an SM9 without the keyset tabulator and touch selector. It also has body-colored carriage ends, rather than chromed as with the SM9.

SM9 - 2521859 - 1964

SM9

After only a year, the logo went back to the traditional metallic finish in 1965, retaining the turquoise shift keys and carriage knob ends.

SM9 - 2711423 - 1965

SM8 - 3372259 - 1968

As before, a stripped-down version without a tabulator was offered, the Monica.

Monica

In 1968, the color of the entire keyboard was changed to charcoal grey, as well as the carriage knob ends. The carriage return lever now is able to fold down to fit the new smaller black case.

SM9
SM8 - 3721460 - 1969
 Sometimes, machines of this generation have light grey keys. Sometimes the light grey keys are accompanied by green shift keys, as below. This is a peculiar instance where the new Olympia International orange logo is present with the old script logo.

Monica


SM8

In 1969, a similar but completely new body shell was introduced along with moving the tab set keys from the sides of the spacebar to the left of the keyboard. The white paint was also brightened. The touch selector was moved from there to under the ribbon cover. This marks the introduction of the new all-caps Olympia logo.

SM9 - 3917209 - 1969

SM9 - 4236821 - 1972

I have also seen one example with off-white typing keys and all the function keys charcoal grey.


As early as 1970, new carriage knobs were introduced on the Monica, while the old knobs were still being used on the SM9.

Monica - 4117705 - 1970

SM9

By 1974, the new knobs were used on the whole SM range. A new textured paint for the white sections was also introduced, replacing the semigloss.

Monica - 4638501, 1974

SM8 - 4680632, 1974

By 1977, the knobs had been changed to be completely black. This is the final version of the SM9 produced, and is said to be of lower quality than the previous models. It was produced until 1979.

SM9 - 5268393 - 1977 

SM9 - 5976626 - 1979

A version of the Monica with yellow paint was sold during this time as the Sunshine.

Sunshine - 5215242


Post-SM9: 1970s-?

The SM9 design lived on for a few more years as the Monica in a new plastic shell with an interestingly curved rear and bright colors. At this point, the quality has decreased significantly and is nothing like the excellent writing machine the SM9 was in the late 60s and early 70s.

Monica - 6037267

Monica

Monica S

Monica
The Olympia SKM is another design based off of the SM9, it appears to essentially be a wide-carriage SM9 with some modifications to make it look more imposing on a desk. I have dated this model to 1971 based on the accompanying sales slip, which does not align with the numbers on the typewriter database.

SKM - 0063973 - 1971


During this time, Olympia also was rebranding Japanese-made machines as well as Robotrons. While I can't say the Japanese Olympias were any better than the last West German Monicas, the East German-made Robotron Olympia Monicas were excellent machines to the end.


Anomalies

As with the carriage-shifted Olympia SMs, there was a Colortip version of the SM9 produced. It is interesting because it had a keyboard locking mechanism that would lock certain keys in three different positions.

Colortip S

Colortip S

Colortip S


A black version of the SM8/SM9 was produced for the West German military for several years.

SM8 - 4173425

SM9

Summary

Hopefully this has helped clear up some of the confusion regarding the Olympia SM series. Again, if you have a correction or additional information, please let me know!


14 comments:

  1. SM8 and SM9 are basket/segment shift. The SM7 and before were carriage shift or I have some special Olympias.
    Nice progression of the SM9s.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Opening sentence typo! I got it right everywhere else at least, haha.

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  2. I'd never seen those late Monicas. Sorry to hear that quality went down. They do look kind of like toys, with those bright plastic shells ...

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    1. I was going to buy one, but I brought it up with Scott K and he said sadly his was far removed from an SM9 in quality even though it technically is descended from it.

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  3. Interesting, so it seems everything up to 1970 is a safe bet, quality-wise.

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    1. I think pretty much up to 1975 is going to be good, but I haven't used an SM9 newer than 1972 so I can't say. (The 1972 one is my favorite over the 60s models)

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  4. Nice! Looks like you've got the whole range of SM's covered! (:

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  5. Thanks for the series on my favorite brand! Somewhere between 1972 and the later 1970's, some pleasing flourishes were lost. These include tthe lovely machining swirls on the paper guide and support, and the red paint on the cast frame seen beneath the typebars when the ribbon cover is lifted. The carriage lock went from a lever with plastic cap at the upper left of the keyboard, to a bare metal lever at the left end of the carriage. Makes one think there must also have been diminishing changes in the mechanism. But they remained fine typers - I have - or have had - both versions, and kept the 1972.

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  6. Hi. First of all, I'm French. I guess, nobody is perfect. But sorry for my poor English, hope it'll make sense. Anyway, thanks for that amazing piece of research on the Olympia SM series. Really, this is priceless. One question, if I may. Do you happen to know if the platen of the later SM 9 version (1968 – 1979) fits in the earlier version (white one with turquoise shift-keys)? And for that matter, is the shell interchangeable too? Voilà, and thanks again for your blog. As much as I can, I try to avoid soul-contact with the Internet. But here, it was worth the risk.

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    Replies
    1. I believe the shell is not interchangeable between the two variations, due to the way they are mounted.

      I don't know if the platens can be swapped or not, though. I would say yes, but I can't be sure.

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    2. Okay, I'm off to track down an 1970's variation to be sure. In France, they are very cheap. In fact, like most typewriters. At least, for now. Anyway, thanks for getting back to me!

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  7. Ha HA! I knew you would come through for me. I just acquired a second SM9 - did not realize the slight differences between the 9 and the 8. Got this one for 2.50 US. It really needs cleaned, otherwise in beautiful shape. Thanks for the great series on the SM models. ~Tom~

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  8. I have a 1977 SM9-13, and it is one of the best typewriters I've ever used (for some reason, I have an easier time typing quickly on it than on earlier SM9s.)

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    1. While I haven't used one of the late SM9s (still haven't had a chance), in my experience, after the switch to the new logo and different shell they did become easier to use.

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