A long long long time ago, people used typewriters to write beautifully-crafted love letters to their sweethearts. Today we have instant messaging, email, status updates, posts, and tweets, and we often take our technology for granted, forgetting that we used to actually put time and effort into putting meaning into our lives. This Valentine’s Day, I would like to pay tribute to one of the most important technological advances of our modern age – the typewriter. And not just any typewriter – the Olivetti Valentine.
Founded in 1908, near Turin, Olivetti has been manufacturing typewriters for decades. As innovators, they were even responsible for producing the very first commercially-produced computer for personal use – the Programma 101. Ettore Sottsass, (along with Perry A. King), designed the Valentine typewriter for Olivetti in 1969 in response to the growing field of technological advancement as an “anti-machine machine” to be used “anyplace but an office,” and quickly became a classic.
The Valentine got rid of the clunky cast-iron housings that dominated the typewriter market at the time and replaced them with a lighter, more modern casing made of plastic. Now a vintage collectible, this beautifully designed piece has gracefully bridged the gap between technology and beauty, inspiring an emotional bond between human and machine. Since it’s inception, it’s inspired designers to combine style and functionality.
Once an accessory that created envy amongst users, this chic typewriter is making a comeback in the recent years, being sought out by manual typewriter enthusiasts. Now you can find them in secondhand stores and on eBay, as well as on mytypewriter.com. Pick one up for your sweetheart for around $895.
If you can’t find an authentic vintage Valentine, you can also go the more modern route, with a laptop version created recently by an Austrian design team. They’ve included a sleeker body and kept the classic colour but also added a super cool keyboard that pulls out and a compact rolling screen, which allows the user to adjust the size and shape of the actual display using stretchable, flexible LEDs. Not yet available on the market, this laptop would totally blow other notebooks out of the water if ever released. Keep your fingers crossed.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!