Ettore Sottsass, Jr. Perry A. King Olivetti Manufacturing Company
Valentine Portable Typewriter and Case
Ettore Sottsass, Jr., Italian, Valentine Portable Typewriter and Case, 1969, Plastic, rubber and metal; 10.2 x 32.7 x 32.7 cm (4 x 12 7/8 x 12 7/8 inches), Gift of Glenn Gissler 2005.97.2
Introduced on Valentine’s Day with a flurry of advertising, the Olivetti Company’s bright-red portable typewriter was an instant sensation of the Pop Art movement. Ettore Sottsass and Perry King designed valentine to be the “anti-machine machine,” meaning that it functioned as a typewriter but also had a humanized quality lacking in most office equipment. Sottsass noted that his seductive red typewriter was for use “in any place except an office … rather to keep amateur poets company on quiet Sundays.” To further differentiate valentine from workaday equipment, Sottsass’s early designs lacked both uppercase type and the bell signaling the end of a typewritten line. Understandably, Olivetti manufactured the typewriter with these necessary features, but the lowercase “v” in the logo above the keyboard recalls the designer’s original intention.