The Olivetti Italia 90 Typewriter - A Fusion of Football and Typewriter Passion


I have something truly special to share with you. If you're a fan of football and typewriters like me, then you're in for a treat. We'll be diving into the world of the Olivetti Italia 90 typewriters, a unique fusion of my two passions. 

The 1990 Football World Cup in Italy is often remembered for iconic moments like Roger Milla's corner flag celebration and Carlos Valderama's unusual hairstyle. But, as a typewriter enthusiast and collector, what caught my attention was a special typewriter associated with the tournament: the Olivetti 90 Italia typewriter.

Back in 1990, the Italia 90 World Cup was the first tournament that I watched on TV, and it ignited my love for the game of football. I spent my summer holidays playing with friends, and the memories of goals, players' names, and thrilling stats still linger without needing to check online. The Italia 90 World Cup was a tournament to remember!

Fast forward to 2017, during one of my countless Google searches, a blue Olivetti typewriter caught my eye. To my surprise, it had the World Cup mascot on its spool cover. I questioned its authenticity but discovered it was an officially licensed typewriter created by Olivetti for the Italia 90 tournament.

italia 90 Mascot for Football World Cup

What made this typewriter even more special was its vibrant blue colour, reminiscent of the Italian national team, and its larger-than-usual bright white keys. The logo on top of the mascot added a simple yet unique touch. Seeing this typewriter in person became a dream that I hoped to fulfil one day, especially since finding one in the UK was quite rare.

Let's take a quick detour into history. Olivetti has a legacy of supporting major sporting events. They were the first typewriter company to sponsor the Olympic Games, supplying typewriters to the press centres in Rome (1960), Tokyo (1964), and Mexico City (1968). However, there was no special design for these events; commonly used models like the Olivetti Lettera 22 were provided.

But in 1990, Olivetti created three unique typewriter models for the Italia 90 World Cup. One was an electric typewriter inspired by the Olivetti ET Personal 55 design, and the other two were manual typewriters, combining elements from the Olivetti DORA and Olivetti Lettera 35. All of them proudly featured the World Cup mascot and the "Italia 90" branding.

These typewriters came in various keyboard layouts to cater to non-Italian journalists, including QWERTY, AZERTY, and QWERTZ. However, the widely used Italian QZERTY keyboard layout dominated. These typewriters found their place in press rooms, enabling journalists to report on the matches, interview players and coaches, and disseminate news through faxes, phones, and mail since the internet wasn't widely available then.

Now, let me share my personal experience of acquiring my first Olivetti Italia 90 typewriter. During the COVID-19 pandemic, luck was on my side. I came across an online auction in Italy where an Italia 90 Olivetti typewriter was up for grabs. The condition was extraordinary, considering its history, as it was previously used by a journalist during the World Cup. I won the bidding, and despite the high fees and less-than-impressive shipping, the typewriter arrived safely, bringing me immense joy.

Italia 90 typewriter Olivetti DORA

This particular model took inspiration from the Olivetti DORA design, but what made it truly eye-catching were the additional Italia 90 touches. On a separate note, we managed to acquire the second Olivetti Italia 90 typewriter, inspired by the Olivetti Lettera 35. It came with its original and uncommon carrying case, adorned with the Italia 90 mascot. The condition of this typewriter was flawless, making it a great addition to our collection.

What I really love about these typewriters is the futuristic logo or mascot design. It truly captured the essence of that time. The azure shade used for the typewriters was simply out of this world. Furthermore, the large white keys were incredibly convenient, especially when your eyesight isn't perfect. And let's not forget the carrying cases, which were both practical and stylish, featuring the Italia 90 mascot.

On the other hand, there are a few aspects that I feel could've been better. the design of these typewriters remains quite similar to previous Olivetti models, and the quality of their frames is not as durable as I would've liked.

Second, the dominance of the Italian QZERTY keyboard layout often left little room for international options like QWERTY. And finally, the second Italia 90 typewriter, while visually appealing, had a bulky frame that made it challenging to carry in shoulder bags.

Despite these minor drawbacks, both Italia 90 typewriters hold a special place in our collection. Though we typically focus on acquiring typewriters made before the 1980s, I couldn't resist displaying these unique pieces because of my deep love for football and the nostalgic memories I associate with the 1990 World Cup.


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