This purely mechanical desk top calculator the Summa 15 (1949) was designed by Marcello Nizzoli. Olivetti formed alliances with some of Italy's finest industrial designers, nurturing the formation of new products in collaboration with them and exploring new materials and techniques of manufacture and assembly.
Nizzoli became one of the instruments through which Olivetti was able to combine industrial design and the plastic arts to create new designs for its existing line of office products.
From humble beginnings in the early 20th century the Italian company - Olivetti - grew to be the largest manufacturer of typewriters in the world by the late 1950s. Adriano Olivetti, the son of Olivetti's founder Camilo Olivetti, was appointed general manager in 1933. Adriano was enamored by the modernist aesthetic and had in the years previous to his appointment visited the US to observe modern industrial practices. He immediately set to recruiting the very best designers and architects to oversee the transformation of Olivetti into a modern international corporation.
Marcello Nizzoli was appointed the company's chief design consultant in 1936 only relinquishing this position to Ettore Sottsass in 1958. Throughout this period Nizzoli's work for Olivetti led the industry in the adoption of advanced manufacturing processes, new materials and the highest standards in mechanical engineering.
Campbell Bickerstaff, 2013