Saturday, January 1, 2011

Olympia Mania

Well, I've gone and done it again. I bought anouther Olympia. Did I really need it? Not really. But this new machine means that I can try the dunk method of cleaning. In the February 1957 edition of Popular Science the process is presented. You can find it by searching Google Books for "He Dunks Typewriters"

Tis just a scratch!
It looks like a simple process and with the plastic keys of the Olympia there is little concern with water wicking up under celluloid keytops. I plan on documenting all the steps in photos for your enjoyment. If the dunking is successful,  I have a few other machines that need a deep clean.


  1. I'd be a little wary about dunking a machine in a sink full of water, myself. But hey, maybe it works as long as you can blow it dry immediately after.

    Personally I prefer the type of bath that is shown on the website, bathing the machine in cleaning fluids like Liquid Wrench.

    Can't wait to hear how it turns out!

  2. wasn't there an earlier Pop sci article from the 40's about dunking in benzene or gasoline?
    what model of Olympia did you get?

  3. I think that this one is an SM3.

    I am more afraid of the warnings that go along with petroleum distillates than I am of rusting a $15 typewriter. I have read in older repair manuals that water is fine as long as you get the machine to dry fully. That means getting as much water out of all joints and putting it in the oven at a low temp. I guess at one time special ovens were manufactured for those in the typewriter repair trade that made the process easier.

  4. I tried washing a Smith-Corona in the sink, and it didn't hurt it, but didn't remove the gunk either. Maybe I didn't do it right.