Navigation
The Oliver Typewriter The Oliver Typewriter

British Olivers

In 1928, the British Oliver Manufacturing Company opened with headquarters in Croydon, England. They introduced Oliver models 15 and 16 based on the original Oliver design, as well as many other machines rebranded with the Oliver name.

Oliver No. 15 (Generation I)
Oliver No. 15
Serial number LC753 | Made in 1928

The first models manufactured by the Oliver Typewriter Manufacturing Company in England were the Oliver Nos. 15 and No. 16. These British Oliver models have the same gloss black finish introduced on the Olivers 11 and 12. A greatly needed improvement was made to the ribbon holder lids; they are now flat, pivotable, and attached to the machine so that they do not go missing.

Navigation
SERIAL NO.
DATE
Navigation
NO. 15 (GENERATION I) / NO. 16 INTRODUCED
(LC/R)001
1928
EARLIEST KNOWN NO. 16
R1001
1928
LATEST KNOWN "LC" PREFIX
LC1252
LATEST KNOWN NO. 16
R1399
(LC/R)2000
1929
"LC" PREFIX CHANGED TO "L"
(L/R)3000
1930
EARLIEST KNOWN "L" (WITHOUT "C") PREFIX
L3169
LATEST KNOWN "L" (WITHOUT "C") PREFIX
L4258
(L/R)5000
1931
(L/R)6000
1932
LAST NO. 15 (GENERATION I) / NO. 16 PRODUCED
1933

Oliver No. 16
Oliver No. 16
Serial number R1188 | Made around 1929
Dutch keyboard

The Oliver No. 16 is the export version of the Oliver No. 15 (Generation I) and the first export model produced by the British Oliver Manufacturing Company. Just like the export models that were produced in the United States by the Oliver Typewriter Company, this machine is identical to its previous odd-numbered counterpart, the Oliver 15 (Generation I), with the exception of the four additional keys and wider base. The most noticeable improvement on Oliver models 15 and 16 was a revision of the ribbon holder lids; they are now flat and pivotable such that they remain attached to the machine and do not get lost.

The Oliver No. 16 serial numbers are intermixed with the Oliver 15 (Generation I) numbers. However, The Oliver 16s have an "R" prefix instead of "LC" or "L".

Navigation
SERIAL NO.
DATE
Navigation
NO. 15 (GENERATION I) / NO. 16 INTRODUCED
(LC/R)001
1928
EARLIEST KNOWN NO. 16
R1001
1928
LATEST KNOWN "LC" PREFIX
LC1252
LATEST KNOWN NO. 16
R1399
(LC/R)2000
1929
"LC" PREFIX CHANGED TO "L"
(L/R)3000
1930
EARLIEST KNOWN "L" (WITHOUT "C") PREFIX
L3169
LATEST KNOWN "L" (WITHOUT "C") PREFIX
L4258
(L/R)5000
1931
(L/R)6000
1932
LAST NO. 15 (GENERATION I) / NO. 16 PRODUCED
1933

Oliver Four Bank (Stolzenberg-Fortuna IV)
Oliver Four Bank
Image courtesy of The Antikey Chop
Greg Fudacz

The Oliver Four Bank is a rebranded Stolzenberg-Fortuna IV that was offered for sale by the British Oliver Manufacturing Company. These were sold concurrently with Oliver models 15 and 16.

Over 5000 Oliver Four Bank machines were manufactured until the Oliver No. 20 was introduced in 1935. The Oliver Four Bank serial numbers were part of the Stolzenberg-Fortuna IV serial numbers starting at 50001. The Oliver Four Bank in The Antikey Chop's image is the only example I know to exist.

Navigation
SERIAL NO.
DATE
Navigation
FOUR BANK INTRODUCED
50001
1931
51000
1931
52000
1932
55300
1933
1934
LAST FOUR BANK PRODUCED
1935?

Oliver No. 20
Oliver No. 20
Serial number 476384 | Made in 1947

In 1935, the British Oliver Manufacturing Company began selling the Halda-Norden 5 rebranded as the Oliver No. 20. Some Oliver 20 machines are olive green but most are black.

It is unknown exactly how many Oliver 20 machines were produced. This is because the serial number count restarted every year. Note that the first two digits of the serial number determine the year of production ("35" for 1935, "36" for 1936, etcetera).

Navigation
SERIAL NO.
DATE
Navigation
NO. 20 INTRODUCED
350001
1935
1935
360001
1936
1936
370001
1937
1937
380001
1938
1938
390001
1939
1939
400001
1940
1940
410001
1941
1941
420001
1942
1942
430001
1943
1943
440001
1944
1944
450001
1945
1945
460001
1946
1946
470001
1947
478017
1947
1947
480001
1948
489766
1948
1948
490001
1949
4911400
1949
500001
1950
LAST NO. 20 PRODUCED
1950

Oliver No. 15 (Generation II)
Oliver No. 15
Serial number CS15326 | Made around 1938

During production of the Oliver No. 21, the Oliver Typewriter Manufacturing Company reintroduced the Oliver No. 15 for the British Government. (Note that the Oliver No. 16 was not reintroduced.) This second generation of Oliver 15 machines were painted matte black with a crinkle finish, which is sometimes referred to as the "war finish".

This second generation of Oliver 15 machines started a new line of serial numbers, each with a two-letter prefix. The known prefixes are listed in the table below.

Navigation
SERIAL NO.
DATE
Navigation
NO. 15 (GENERATION II) INTRODUCED
CA001?
1938?
CA458?
CL6947
CL8623
CO15105
CS15326
1938?
CS15608
1938?
CT19083
CT20000
1939
EA20001
1939
EA24750
1940
EB24751
1940
EB28350
1941
EC28351
1941
EC31350
1942
ED31351
1942
ED31800
1943
ED31801
1943
EE34050
1944
EE34150
1944
EF34151
1945
EF34259
1945
EG34260
1946
EG34389
1947
LAST NO. 15 (GENERATION II) PRODUCED
EH34390
1947

Oliver No. 21
Oliver No. 21
Serial number 021-4978 | Made in 1950

The Oliver No. 21 was the last desktop typewriter offered by the British Oliver Manufacturing Company. It is a rebranded Halda 6. Most Oliver 21 machines are black but some are grey.

The Oliver No. 21 serial numbers incorporate the year of production and model number. The first digit corresponds to the last digit of the year of production. The second and third digits are always 21. In 1950, the serial number count reset from 1949 and began at zero. From then on, the count continued over from each previous year.

Navigation
SERIAL NO.
DATE
Navigation
NO. 21 INTRODUCED
921-0001
1949
921-9999
1949
021-0001
1950
021-9999
1950
121-10000
1951
121-11149
1951
221-11500
1952
221-15700
1952
321-15701
1953
321-17279
1953
421-17280
1954
421-18849
1954
521-18850
1955
521-20299
1955
621-20300
1956
621-21553
1956
721-21554
1957
721-22428
1957
821-22429
1958
821-23334
1958
921-23335
1959
LAST NO. 21 PRODUCED
921-23490
May 1959

Remodelled Oliver
Remodelled Oliver
Serial number RM10642 | Made between 1915-1921
Remodelled between 1928-1933

At some point, the British Oliver Manufacturing Company was remodelling Oliver No. 9 machines in the style of Oliver 11 machines- black with gold pinstriping. They most likely remodelled these machines anywhere between shortly after they opened in 1928 to the end of production of the Oliver Nos. 15 (Generation I) and 16 in 1933. I have never seen any other Oliver remodelled besides the Oliver 9.

The remodelled Olivers were given a new serial number in place of the old one. The new number has the prefix "RM", meaning "remodelled". I only know two serial numbers of remodelled Olivers, both listed in the table below. It is possible they started at serial number RM10001.

Navigation
SERIAL NO.
DATE
Navigation
FIRST REMODELLED OLIVER
RM10001?
1928?
EARLIEST KNOWN REMODELLED OLIVER
RM10305
LATEST KNOWN REMODELLED OLIVER
RM10642
LAST REMODELLED OLIVER
1933

Oliver Portables

The British Oliver Manufacturing Company sold many different European portables under the Oliver name.

Click here to see the Oliver Portables.

Navigation

Sources
  1. Dingwerth, L. (2008). Kleines Lexikon Historischer Schreibmaschinen. Delbrück, Germany: Verlag Kunstgrafik Dingwerth GmbH.

  2. Sellers, A. (1994, December). The First Woodstock. ETCetera No. 29, 3.

  3. The Linotype Company. (1899, May). Battle of Detroit: An Impartial Account of the Fierce War Waged in the Board of Education By the Typewriter Trust Against the Oliver Typewriter, in the Year 1899. Montreal, Canada.

  4. Liste der Herstellungsdaten Gangbarer Schreibmaschinen, published by Wochenschrift für Papier, Otto Hoffmann. 1941, Verlag, Berlin.

  5. Liste der Herstellungsdaten Deutscher und Ausländischer Schreibmaschinen, 10 Auflage. 1955, Burghagen Verlag, Hamburg.

  6. Liste der Herstellungsdaten Deutscher und Ausländischer Schreibmaschinen mit Wichtigen Technischen Daten. Herbert F. W. Schramm. 11 Auflage, 1962, Burghagen Verlag, Hamburg.