The Olympia Traveller site

On repairing and researching the Traveller series typewriter


This website focuses on Traveller-specific subjects. Things I discovered while buying, restoring and using Travellers.

The Olympia Traveller had an impressive career, the typewriter was still produced well into the 1980’s. That’s problably one of the reasons Travellers are easy to get, at least in the Netherlands. Nevertheless, little practical information about the Traveller series is available on the internet. So it seemed a good idea to me to start publishing about everything Traveller – to help people use and maintain their Travellers in this day and age.

Feel free to send me an email: laurenz@planet.nl.


Contents


Assembling left-hand platen knob

When you remove the left-hand platen knob, the platen may shift a little to the right. It is hardly visible, and will cause type alignment issues due to the fact that the platen will rotate incorrect. It also may give problems with the line space lever and/or assembling the pressure roller above it. Before putting the left-hand platen knob back, make sure the gab between the line space lever and the sprocket-wheel is not too large. If so, use the right-hand platen knob to rotate te platen while pushing the platen simultaneously to the left. At a certain point the platen will click into place.

The wrong situation (1) and how it should look (2). Notice the little difference in how far the platen axis protrudes. See the differences in this animated GIF.


Prevent damage to margin scale

When you mount the back panel (the part with the margin scale and the paper support), it is possible to do it with one or both of the the margin stops in front of the margin scale. If you don’t notice it, you may damage the margin scale when moving the margin stops. Best practice to prevent this is to remove the margin scale before removing the back panel. Put masking tape around the margin stops and move them to the center. This way it is impossible to forget the margin stops when you put everything back.

Scratches caused by a margin stop in front of the margin scale (1), the pesky little margins stops you forget so easily (2), and the same margin stops marked with masking tape (3).


Prevent damage to headless screws

To adjust the vertical type alignment you have to work with headless screws. These may break if you’re not careful. Make sure to use a screwdriver that fits and to loosen the nut before turning the headless screw.

The result of applying force to a headless screw with a slightly too large screwdriver (1). Use suitable tools, pick the ones on the right side (2). In case you wonder, you need a 5.5 mm wrench for the nuts.


Rattling sound when moving the carriage

When you hear a rattling sound when moving the carriage, examin the escapement. Look closely to the mechanism while moving the carriage to the left and right to find out what triggers the sound. The times I had to deal with this problem the little wire spring that lifts the locking theeth was misaligned. After pushing the spring a little around the rattling was gone.

The escapement in resting state (1) and when the carriage is moving (2). See the differences in this animated GIF.


Soft scraping sound when moving the carriage

When you hear a soft, subtle scraping sound when moving the carriage, check the little spring below the carriage on the left side. It may touch the carriage bottom. One of my Travellers had a spring with a slightly bigger diameter then springs in other machines. This is when parts machines come in handy; after replacing the spring the problem was solved. To gain the best possible access to the spring, set the left-hand margin stop to 0 and move the carriage as far as possible to the right. Also remove the bottom plate and the left-hand platen knob.

The spring, photographed from the back of the typewriter and therefore displayed on the right side of the carriage.


Loose/slipping right-hand platen knob

The right-hand platen knob should be permanently fixed onto the platen axis. A loose or slipping knob can be glued to the axis with super glue. Put a little glue on the inside of the knob and/or on the the axis, but not on the knob rim. After glueing the knob you can still replace the platen, you have to pull out the entire axis and leave the knob were it should be: on the axis.

A glued right-hand platen knob. For clarity the platen axis is pulled out a little, don’t do this when glueing the knob.


Heavy touch/key action

Some Travellers have a nice light touch, other a stiff, exhausting touch. Fortunately, this can be adjusted by raising or lowering the metal slotted plate at the front (the one from which the keylevers protrude). If present, set the touch adjuster to the lightest setting. Then loosen the screws which hold the plate, just enough to move the plate up and down. Do not raise or lower the plate too much, the keys may become uneven or jam. For the best result, press the plate firm down with both hands, until the typebars raise up. Now type a little (on as much keys as possible) until the keyboard feel allright. When done, tighten the screws of the plate. Check if the shift lock works, fix it if needed.

The metal plate is hold by a pair of screws next to the margin release key (1) and a pair next to the backspace key (2). The extra screw in the middle on the left side is for setting the shift lock (3).


Ink ribbon type

The Olympia Traveller uses a DIN 2013 ‘universal’ ribbon on a DIN 32755 spool. The ribbon has a width of 13 mm.

The regular Traveller uses one-color ribbons (1), the Traveller de Luxe can use two-color ribbons (2).


Serial number location

The serial number can be found under the carriage on the right side, near the bell.

On some machines two digits representing the production year of the frame are stamped inside a circle into the frame. The frame on the picture is casted in 1973.


Undocumented differences between Traveller and Traveller de Luxe

The obvious difference between the regular Traveller and the De Luxe model is the feature set. The latter sports a touch adjuster, a two-color ribbon system, and a lever to automatically raise the paper support. The lesser known differences are the touch and the sound. The regular Traveller types somewhat lighter and snappier, but the keys also give a kind of kick back. The pitch is a little higher and there is some vibration at the end of each keystroke. The De Luxe on the other hand has a slightly more solid touch, a lower pitch and less vibration. The differences are subtle yet noticeable, resulting in a different typing experience between the two moddels. In words, and a bit exaggerated: click-click versus thud-thud.


Make a typebar protector

New Travellers were shipped with various protection materials, one of them a cardboard or plastic typebar protector. This nifty ‘device’ keeps the typebars in place during transport. If you still have one, you can simply create another. Take a piece of thin cardboard, mark the outline of the typebar protector with a pencil and cut it out. If you don’t have the original protector, you can use the template PDF.

The plastic typebar protector that accompanied an AEG Traveller (1). For making a duplicate, a postcard will do. The small bulge on the long side may be omitted when cutting out (2). The duplicate in use (3).


End of paper indicator

Draw a short, horizontal line at the right bottom of the paper, about 19 mm (0.75″) from the bottom edge. Then flip the paper vertical; the line should now be located at the top op the paper, on the back. Feed the paper this way into the Traveller and start typing. At a certain point you will see the line appear from behind the metal plate on the right site of the carriage. Now you have 3 lines left to type. Just enought to finish your line, add a blank line and put a page number on the next. This works with single line spacing.

With the help of the Traveller itself, the line can be drawn easy and without a ruler! Put the paper behind the margin scale and push it gently down until it stops. Now use the margin scale as a ruler to draw the line on the right side of the paper and continue as described above.

The end of line indicator drawn at the right bottom of the paper (1). As soon as you see the indicator above the metal plate, you’re almost there (2). With a Traveller, you don’t need a ruler (3).


Manuals, leaflets and other documents

Various scans of Olympia documents, mostly in Dutch. Click on the images for the full PDF version.

Two almost identical Traveller leaflets, the second is a redesign (1 and 2). A typeface leaflet in German (3).

Olympia price list from 1969 including an overview of available typefaces and keyboards (1). Updated price list from 1972 (2). Prices are in guilders and excluding VAT.

Manual from a Traveller produced in 1977 (1). Manual from an AEG Olympia Traveller the Luxe produced after 1987 (2).

Unpacking instructions in German, English, French and Spanish (1 and 2).


List of Travellers

The Travellers on which I base my experience. Bought on garage sales, thrift shops and online. All of them were used nor serviced in a long time. Prices ranged from € 8.50 to € 50, for most of them I payed around € 15.

Typewriter Serial Frame year Produced Issues at the time of purchase State Notes
Olympia Traveller 15-3470620 Yugoslavia, 1977 Loose/slipping right-hand platen knob, rust on body/key levers Bad Water damage
Olympia Traveller de Luxe 15-3548829 Yugoslavia, 1977 Loose/slipping right-hand platen knob, damaged body, loose carriage Bad Fall damage
Olympia Traveller 15-3846368 73 Yugoslavia, 1977 Loose/slipping right-hand platen knob Lightly used Documentation, original packaging box
Olympia Traveller 15-3870697 73 Yugoslavia, 1977 Rattling sound when moving carriage Lightly used Documentation
Olympia Traveller 15-5435948 80 Yugoslavia Used
AEG Olympia Traveller de Luxe 15-7566222 87 Yugoslavia Rattling + scraping sound when moving carriage, margin release key pushes carriage up Used
AEG Olympia Traveller de Luxe 15-7911946 87 Yugoslavia Paper support does not pop out Lightly used Documentation, cardboard typebar protector

Some observations on this very small subset of Dutch Travellers:


Site by Laurenz van Gaalen (laurenz@planet.nl)
Last updated: 2019-09-01