Thursday, July 18, 2013

Removing an Olympia Badge

No, the title of this post is not a metaphor. Although I am gifted in mystical arts of the metaphoric, what I am taking about is far more literal. I wanted to give you a few tips on removing this troublesome little piece of decorative metal.

Olympia badges on the 1950s varieties (SM-2, SM-3, SG-1, etc.) are high-quality aluminum castings that are adhered to the body of the typewriter by four sprue. Each of these four legs are placed in a corresponding hole and the ends deformed. The deformation holds the badge fast and makes for a very strong connection. Come to think of it I have never seen a badge-less Olympia. Quality German engineering.

Removing the badge is not for the faint of heart. You must drill out the deformed end of the sprue just enough to ease the badge from the mounting holes. To do this you need an electric drill and a steady hand.

I used an electric hand drill fitted with a bit only slightly larger than the sprue. Starting slowly, I drilled out the end taking care to only drill enough to get rid of the riveted end. In place of the rivet-like end you will se shiny, bare metal in a slight concavity. This concavity will play an important part in reassembly. 

After the drilling, I took a very thin bladed screw drive and carefully eased the badge out of the mounting holes. The aluminum badge can be bent easily, so make sure that you are prying up near a sprue.

There you go. Your Olympia cover is badge-less and ready for refinishing.

When you want to reinstall the badge, just fit it back together and put four small beads of JB Weld in the concavities made while drilling. After the JBWeld is cured, you can put the felt back and it should be as good as new. This process can also be done for the riveted badge from the back of the machine. 


  1. Great idea. I have done similar with a Dremel tool and used very fine machine screws to hold them back in. Not impossible without a drill press, but much easier with one.

    JB Weld is great stuff. It even works on engines.

  2. When I first saw that word I thought, aha, I've caught Ryan in a typo. But now I have learned something. Gates and runners and sprues, oh my.

    I presume a re-paint is in the works. I wonder if you will try to reproduce the Olympia crinkle finish from that era. Any way you do it, Olympias are worth saving.


  3. Good tips and thanks for sharing. I have been on the cusp of having to do this a few times and then managed to get the paintwork back into decent condition. Bill's Dremel trick sounds handy too.

  4. Drastic! But in the case of the paint on this machine, probably necessary. The clean section of the ribbon cover just goes to show how much gunk accumulated over the years.

    I assume you're prepping for a full-shell repaint? If so, I'm curious about what you do with the metal manufacture's plate on the back. Offhand I remember this being riveted on, the Germans never being ones to build something halfway.

    1. I drilled the backing of the rivets out in the same way. I just saved them for reinserting later on. They are very small little things. I almost lost one while I was removing it.