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Olivetti’s typewriter: ‘The iMac of its day’


In their heyday, typewriters were big and bold devices, dominating the desk space like the bulkiest of PCs.

In the late 1960s, the Italian firm Olivetti unveiled the bright red Valentine typewriter, a portable machine which its creator Ettore Sottsass referred to as an “anti-machine machine”. The typewriter’s minimalist styling, light weight and attractive carrying case have made some design critics hail it as a precursor of the friendly tech Apple created such a stir with in the late 1990s.

London’s Design Museum‘s exhibition Extraordinary Stories About Ordinary Things includes an example of Sottsass’s playful design – and here, director Deyan Sudjic sings its praises.

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