LETTER:When Z takes the place of Y

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The Independent Online
From Mr Bernard Sharp

Sir: Although 10 years younger than Jonathan Glancey's Olivetti portable ("Qwerty lovers do it manually", 28 August), my Olympia portable (1958), made in Wilhelmshaven, is truly European, being equipped with all the diacritical marks for Danish, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish, as well as with the inverted question and exclamation marks for Spanish. It has the further distinction of being a qwertzuiop/QWERTZUIOP model, the y/Y being where the z/Z is on more insular typewriters.

On it I have typed, inter alia, three novels, some 300 poems, 40 short stories, an MA dissertation and countless letters. It has fallen from a Boeing 747 (fortunately, before take-off), from a ferry crossing the River Moa in Sierra Leone (instantly retrieved by the ferryman), been stolen and recovered, regularly serviced and, together with my 500 music cassettes, is my most prized possession. I have enough spare ribbon to see me and it through to at least the millennium. My Olympia portable cost me pounds 35. After 37 years of unfailing reliability, its value is beyond rubies.


Bernard Sharp

Saltaire, West Yorkshire

28 August