Dante’s endorsement for the Olivetti M1

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.

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