Athens typewriter safari

by | Jun 5, 2022 | Uncategorized | 6 comments

I’ve been to Athens before. Athens, Ohio, that is. But there’s also an Athens, Greece! And this is my first visit.

The city is both magnificent …

… and shabby.

Of course, as promised (and as I can’t help doing), I am looking for ????????????. My first sighting was at the Stoa of Attalos, a reconstructed building from the Roman period that houses the Museum of the Ancient Agora. 

The other tools used by archaeologists in the ’30s are also interesting. (The Leroy Lettering device was very popular in its day, as I found out with a quick check of eBay.)

I had Sunday afternoon free, so I headed for the Monastiraki district, which houses a bustling flea market. (Here’s a former Ottoman mosque, with the Acropolis in the background, and busy shops at its foot.)

As I hoped, there is a profusion of miscellaneous old things.

Surely some palaiopoleion would have typewriters?

Some shops and dealers do have old technology. In Greece as in the US, you need to find the sweet spot between cheap modern junk and fancy antique furniture.

Aha! An L.C. Smith — with QWERTY keyboard.

A well-worn Adler with the French AZERTY layout.

Finally, a machine that types in Greek! This is an Erika 10 from East Germany.

And here’s a wide-carriage Siemag from West Germany.

Both the Erika and the Siemag feature a Greek keyboard based on QWERTY that is also capable of typing in capital Roman letters, since the Roman capitals that don’t match Greek ones are available on the top row of the keyboard when you shift.

Here’s a Continental portable, lacking some body panels, with a different Greek/Roman layout, based on AZERTY.

This Oliver (no. 9?) has a slightly different AZERTY-based Greek keyboard.

As cool as the Oliver is, I think this is still cooler. This Adler has four characters per key and is capable of typing both Greek and Roman capital and lowercase letters. The layout is a really weird, but still QWERTY-based concept.

There is no way that I’ll be lugging a huge, heavy, rusty Adler home with me, but at least photos are portable and free! I hope you’ve enjoyed them.


  1. McTaggart

    Well done, Richard, you hit the mother lode but sadly not in English! I might have been tempted with the multi-lingual Adler, but the weight!

  2. Anonymous

    Thanks. It’s like I’ve been there myself and looked at them . . .

  3. Mayank Ajugia

    Wonderful. This reminds me of my trip to Athens in the last decade. Typewriters were not on my radar then. I have played with the Leroy set and have a similar lettering set of another Japanese brand. They beat the stencils by a mile in terms of crisp and uniform output. Vital for hand-drawn technical drawings, maps, etc.

  4. Bill G

    Fun typewriters to look at, thanks for sharing! Whether or not it can rightfully be claimed by the Turkish or the Greeks, were I to find myself in that neck of the woods I'd likely be hunting for some tasty baklava instead.

  5. Mitchell

    Excellent, Good trip. Nice write up, Thanks. Mitchell

  6. Bill M

    Great post Richard.


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