Olivetti introduced a mainframe about 1960 which was called ELEA, then in 1965 the Programma 101 - which was probably the world's first real desktop computer. Then a little later they introduced the Audiotronic range of "office computers". The first was the A770, which was replaced by the A7. The A5 was the desktop version.
The Olivetti Audit 5 or A5 was largely an electro mechanical computer. It printed via a golf ball typewritter mechanism at the astonishing speed of 16 character per second (CPS).
It was a machine that was designed to meet a use that was quickly dying out at the time, visual record computers, that is electronic ledger machines. These were fast being replaced by screen based computers.
According to a former australian computer reseller (Geoff Greig), the A5 and A6 models had problems were they would catch on fire!
He also recalls: "Some of the customers I had would start printing a report at close of business one day and come in the next morning to find it still printing. However the print mechanism being so mechanical often such a big print run would result in a breakdown. I tink Olivetti in Australia made more money out of Maintaince agreements than selling computers.
And the sound was liike a machine gun. Not the sort of thing you would was to having printing beside you. Some people even made giant sound boxes to put them it to try and reduce the noise.
The 2030 had a dot matrix printer that printed at the outstandind 100 cps and was much more reliable."
The BCS 2030 (BCS stands for Business Computer System) was a vast improvement on the the machine the Olivetti A5. The BCS 2030 Floppy disk version replaced the A6. The A6 being an A5 with a dual 128K floppy drives and still the 16 CPS printer.
Here is what www.storiaolivetti.it says about the A5:
"The Audit A5, introduced in 1974, is an accounting system with the characteristics of a real computer. It has a central unit (Micro 8, designed Olivetti), RAM, hard disk and removable disks, magnetic cards, adjustable, built-in printer, the programming language BASIC owner (LIMO, Interactive machine language Olivetti). As the "elder brother" A7, presented simultaneously, the system A5 is designed with the logic of modular and can be expanded according to user needs, such as the A7 has no video, but unlike ' A7, which looks like a desk job, the A5 is a desktop machine. The design is reminiscent of the typewriter, also to be more easily accepted by the environment secretary. E 'marketed with an extensive library of programs for various applications in the accounting and administration."
Contributors: Daniel Moffat, Geoff Greig.