Dante’s endorsement for the Olivetti M1

macchina da scrivere Olivetti M1 typewriter

The Olivetti M1 was not really ready to launch at the opening of Turin’s 1911 World’s Fair. But Camillo Olivetti – who in 1904 had founded the company of the same name in Milan, moving it to Ivrea only four years later – had already rented a whole pavilion to present the first typewriter his company would manufacture.

He decided to dedicated the space to the people working to complete his brand’s first masterpiece: the M1 – “completely made in Italy, patented in all the most important countries”, as a brochure stated at the time – had a standard keyboard and 33-cm paper roll allowing for 110 characters, and featured two-colored ribbon, automatic reverse direction, and return key. It came to life right under the eyes of curious visitors, who gathered around the bizarre workshop-performance.

However popular the attraction proved during the event, the most popular advertisement created for the model was a poster designed by Teodoro Wolf Ferrari, in which an austere Dante Alighieri points to the device.

The most important figure in Italian literature, obviously, was a perfect fit for the first industrially-manufactured typewriter made in Italy.

March 19, 2015