Olivetti was founded in 1908 in the small northern Italian town of Ivrea, near Turin not far from Milan. Camillo Olivetti had been much impressed on his various trips to the United States with the typewriter, already well established in U.S. offices but still largely unknown in his native Italy. Olivetti pulled together a modest capital fund of L 350,000 and, in Ivrea, Italy, opened his own typewriter manufacturing plant--the country's first--employing 20 workers. The Olivetti family took an active interest in the welfare of their workers. In the 1930s, they built schools, housing, roads and recreation facilities. They went on to become a very diverse company adding lines such as office furniture, adding machines, and teleprinters.
Olivetti enjoyed unprecedented growth in the years following the war. The company expanded its export business to include the entire industrialized world. It also acquired Underwood, the U.S. typewriter manufacturer in 1959, and built new plants in southern Italy, Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and the United States. Its growing collection of office products all exhibited the aesthetic sensitivity that had made Olivetti famous in the world of design, and Adriano Olivetti pursued his vision of an industrial giant responsive to the needs of both consumer and worker.
The Olivetti typewriter has achieved lasting elegance in its machines with an unparalleled standard of stylishness in design, and at the same time a serious, unwavering level of technological quality. Put together, these ensured Olivetti typewriters were seldom matched by other brands. They are the most beautiful typewriters ever made.