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Olympia story begins in 1903, Berlin. Under the direction of Dr. Friedrich von Hefner-Alteneck, European General Electric developed Olympia manual typewriters. In 1921, the first successful Olympia Model 3 rolled into market. Two years later, the company set up shop in Erfurt, Germany. During 1930's, Olympia Simplex, Model 7 and Model 8 gained popularity worldwide.
By 1943, World War II raged over European skies. Allied Forces bombed the city of Erfurt and severely damaged the Olympia Factory. In April 1945, eleven remaining employees survived the capture by Soviet Forces. The East German government seized the Olympia Factory and renamed it "Optima." Several employees fled to West Germany and set up shop in Wilhelmshaven.
From late 1940's onward, Olympia enjoyed worldwide success. By 1961, half of all typewriters in West Germany were built by Olympia: Simplex, Progress, Elite, SM and SF Portables.
Olympia machines ("Mercedes Benz" of typewriters) are legendary for their craftsmanship, eye-catching design and exceptional reliability. These machines were favored by authors Woody Allen, Patricia Highsmith, Stan Laurel, Robert Penn Warren, James Michener, Evan S. Connell and Carson McCullers. Olympia Typewriters are perfect for enthusiasts who wish to own an aesthetically pleasing object but also want to type to their heart's content.
SM = Schreibmaschine Mittelgroß ("Medium-size Typewriter") Meant to be used! Olympia's SM models from West Germany are generally regarded as some of the best manual typewriters ever engineered. The solid, well-constructed machines are perfect for typewriter enthusiasts who not only want to own an aesthetically pleasing object, but truly want to type, type, and type to their heart's content. These meet the requirements of the most demanding typist!
Mechanically, Olympia SM3 and SM4 and nearly identical. The SM4 has:
After this model, Olympia Engineers were forced to reduce costs. They removed many advanced SM4 features and utilized lower-quality parts.
Larger than its predecessors, and not really a portable any longer. The SM8 / SM9 is another Olympia popular with writers. One might be surprised to learn that there were four different versions of the SM8 / SM9 over the years.
SF = Schreibmaschine Flach ("Flat Typewriter"). Highly-portable version of the Olympia SM-series.
Text courtesy ClassicVintageTypewriters.com, Richard Polt and MachinesOfLovingGrace.com