Olympia-Werke was a major typewriter manufacturer.
The project to design and manufacture Cherry MX started out as a DIN-compliant linear switch module. Olympia were looking at the time for a cheaper switch that would replace Marquardt’s “Butterfly” type, while retaining one or more of its characteristics. It’s no longer clear which, but it would have been the click feedback, the hysteresis or both combined. This is the reason for Cherry MX gaining its click and hysteresis mechanism, which was already finalised by the time that the MX patent was filed in Germany in 1982. Olympia then decided not to use Cherry’s switch, but Cherry decided to put it into production regardless, with grease applied to cut down the click sound.
Olympia would nonetheless turn to Cherry later, and at least one variant of Cherry MX was custom-produced for Olympia.
Sadly, many examples below do not provide date information.
Marquardt Butterfly was used in various models, including the ES 100, ES 101 (ca. 1981), Professional ES 105 (ca. 1983), ES 110 and Disque. The only branding found on the keyboard PCBs is Olympia’s, suggesting that they produced the keyboards themselves, but this is not proven.
The Olympia Carrera is known for using Marquardt Series 6180 switches, in the mid 1980s. Further photos show a few additional details of a ca. 1986 example. The same switches were also used in the Olytext 20 word processor. The Carrera could also be found with Cherry MX switches (see below).
Marquardt also made custom switches for Olympia, adapted from Series 6180 but with the keycap mount of the “Butterfly” switches. These can be found in the Olympia Compact S.
The AEG Olympia Olytext 30 has been found with the later Marquardt Series 6184 switches. The Caps Lock key in this example is a “linear clear” Cherry MX switch, and while a green LED is fitted, the switch does not have the factory-LED shell.
A variation of Mitsumi KAM can be found in the Olympia Startype. Just as with the Marquardt custom type, these switches take the same keycaps as Marquardt “Butterfly”. Presently there is little further information available; dates on the typewriter itself go back as far as 1985.
The Electronic Compact model used conventional KAM switches.
Olympia also used Cherry MX switches in some typewriters.
In addition to Marquardt Series 6180, the Carrera could also be found with Cherry MX switches, specifically an unidentified “linear clear” type.
“Cherry MX Olympia Linear Clear” is another custom switch type. It appears to be an adaptation of Cherry MX Black that matches the above-plate height of Marquardt Series 6180 or 6184. This switch is claimed to have been used in the AEG Olympia Carrera Si and ES 72 typewriters.