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The Oliver Typewriter The Oliver Typewriter
No. 1 No. 2 No. 3 No. 5 No. 7 No. 9 No. 11
No. 4 No. 6 No. 8 No. 10 No. 12 No. 16
No. 15 (Gen. I) No. 16 Four Bank No. 20 No. 15 (Gen. II) No. 21 Remodelled
Fortuna / S.I.M. Patria Courier Eaton's Simpson's Consort M-Series
No. 3 (L) No. 5 (L) No. 6 (L) No. 7 (L) No. L-10 No. L-12 No. L-13 Revilo No. 5 Revilo No. 9
Courier Jacobi Jwic
Monopol-Stolzenberg No. 2 Monopol-Stolzenberg No. 3 Stolzenberg No. 3 Stolzenberg No. 4
Canadian No. 2 Canadian No. 3 Woodstock
Way-billing Four Bank Prototype

Standard Olivers

The typewriters manufactured by the Oliver Typewriter Company for sale in the U.S. are generally considered the standard models. These are Oliver models 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11. Even though these models were manufactured primarily for the U.S. market, they were also sold in limited quantities in Europe and Latin America. From most common to least common are Oliver models 9, 5, 3, 7, 11, 2, and 1.

Oliver No. 1
Oliver No. 1
Serial Number 288 | Made around 1895

Sammlung Historischer Schreibmaschinen
Monika & Berthold Kerschbaumer

The Oliver No. 1 is one of the most sought-after Oliver models and typewriters in general. This is due to its rarity and histroical historical significance. The Oliver 1 was manufactured in Dubuque, Iowa. All model 1 machines were nickel plated and have flat side handles and black keytops. Unlike its successors, the Oliver 1 does not have a removable carriage. Almost every part on the Oliver 1 looks to be unique and therefore not interchangeable with parts on later models. Between serial numbers 395 and 400, the figures on the keytops were displayed above the letter instead of below. All subsequent Oliver models display the figure above the letter.

The highest known serial number of an existing Oliver No. 1 is 400. It is estimated around 500 machines were made with 10 currently in existance today. Unfortunately, I have yet to add an Oliver 1 to my collection.

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SERIAL NO.
DATE
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PROTOTYPE MADE FROM TIN CAN STRIPS AND RUBBER
OCT 30, 1894
PATENT NO. 450,107 (NOT DOWNSTRIKE DESIGN, SIMILAR TO HAMMOND MECHANISM) FILED
DEC 3, 1894
PATENT NO. 450,107 (NOT DOWNSTRIKE DESIGN, SIMILAR TO HAMMOND MECHANISM) GRANTED
JUL 9, 1895
PATENT NO. 528,484 (NO. 1 WITH RECTANGULAR BASE) FILED
AUG 21, 1895
NO. 1 INTRODUCED
001
AUG 1, 1893
EARLIEST KNOWN NO. 1 ADVERTISEMENT
SEP 1893
PATENT NO. 542,275 (NO. 1 DESIGN) FILED
SEP 19, 1893
PATENT NO. 528,484 (OLIVER NO. 1 WITH RECTANGULAR BASE) GRANTED
OCT 30, 1894
CANADIAN PATENT NO. 49,711 (NO. 1 DESIGN) FILED
DEC 3, 1894
PATENT NO. 542,275 (NO. 1 DESIGN) GRANTED
JUL 9, 1895
CANADIAN PATENT NO. 49,711 (NO. 1 DESIGN) GRANTED
AUG 21, 1895
EARLIEST KNOWN OLIVER NO. 1
284
OCT 30, 1894 AND JUL 9, 1895 PATENTS SHOWN, 284 PROBABLY ALSO SHOWS THESE
288
LATEST KNOWN OLIVER NO. 1
400
PATENT NO. 562337 (NO. 1 DESIGN) FILED
MAR 2, 1896
PATENT NO. 562337 (NO. 1 DESIGN) GRANTED
JUN 16, 1896
LAST OLIVER NO. 1 PRODUCED
500?
DEC 1896?

Oliver No. 2
Oliver No. 2
Serial Number 5965 | Made in 1897

Sammlung Historischer Schreibmaschinen
Monika & Berthold Kerschbaumer
Oliver No. 2
Serial Number 29546 | Made around 1901

The Oliver No. 2 was the first Oliver model produced at the factory in Woodstock, Illinois. Most of the early Oliver No. 2s were nickel plated with the iconic olive green paint avaibable as an option. In due time, the olive green paint became the standard finish with the nickel finish being optional. In a similar manner, white keytops replaced black keytops as the standard option.

Many improvements were made during the production run of this model, all of which are listed in the table below. Note that there is no Oliver model "1 1/2" or "1B"- the model 2 was continually revised and updated throughout its production run. Also note that the Oliver Typewriter Company jumped to serial number 5001 when starting production of the Oliver No. 2.

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SERIAL NO.
DATE
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NO. 2 / MONOPOL-STOLZENBERG NO. 2 INTRODUCED
5001
DEC 1896?
EARLIEST KNOWN NO. 2
5050
JUN 16, 1896 PATENT SHOWN (5050 PROBABLY ALSO SHOWS THIS)
5315
OPTIONAL GREEN FINISH INTRODUCED
1897?
EARLIEST KNOWN GREEN FINISH
5476
LATEST KNOWN CLOSED-O LOGO
7187
SIDE PANELS CHANGED TO OPEN-O LOGO
8001
EARLIEST KNOWN OPEN-O LOGO
8787
MAR 1, 1898
MAR 1, 1898 PATENT ADDED (RIBBON COVERS WITH ROUND HOLES)
1898
APR 7, 1891 PATENT ADDED, LATER SHIFT MECHANISM
15085
RIBBON COVER HOLES CHANGED FROM ROUND TO LONG, PLASTIC KEY COMB CHANGED TO METAL, NO CUT OUT ON BASE, KEY ATTACHMENTS THICKENED, LATER BACK
16001
16019
20806
"NO. 2" ADDED TO PAPER TABLE
25816
ONLY KNOWN MONOPOL-STOLZENBERG NO. 2
25939
LAST NO. 2 PRODUCED
35000
1901

Oliver No. 3
Oliver No. 3
Serial Number 164373 | Made around 1906
Oliver No. 3
Serial Number 41702 | Made in 1901

Chestnut Ridge Typewriter Museum
Herman J. Price

The Oliver No. 3 is very similar to the model 2. The most distinguishable difference is the taller base. The model 3 also introduced left and right margin release keys.

Between serial numbers 62567 and 121426, the spacing adjustment underneath the machine was updated to allow more fine tuning. Throughout the run of the Oliver 3, the drum spring was updated to be held on with a single screw, making it much easier to access for repairs. In addition, the ribbon spool holders were updated with a wider hole at the bottom so that they could be removed from the machine without removing the ribbon advancing rods.

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SERIAL NO.
DATE
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NO. 3 / MONOPOL-STOLZENBERG NO. 3 / STOLZENBERG NO. 3 INTRODUCED
35001
1901
EARLIEST KNOWN MONOPOL-STOLZENBERG NO. 3
36215
1901
LATEST KNOWN MONOPOL-STOLZENBERG NO. 3
55756
EARLIEST KNOWN STOLZENBERG NO. 3
89705
"OLIVER" TRADEMARKED IN MEXICO
MAY 15, 1905
EARLIEST KNOWN LATIN AMERICAN OLIVER
146518
162732
NOV? 1906
LAST NO. 3 PRODUCED
183000
MAR 1907

Oliver No. 5
Oliver No. 5
Serial Number 371604 | Made around 1913

The Oliver No. 5 is the next traditional model after the Oliver No. 3. (The Oliver No. 4 is not the next traditional model because starting with the model 4, the even-numbered machines were manufactured for international markets.) The model 5 is noticeably different from previous models in shape and design. Numerous improvements were introduced throughout this model's life span, all of which are listed in the table below. Essentially, there are seven different iterations of the Oliver 5 if all improvements are taken into consideration.

The Oliver No. 5 was the first model to offer a new typeface called Printype. It was designed to mimic actual book print. Machines with this typeface option have "The Printype Oliver - Pat. Nov. 5, 1912" displayed on their paper tables.

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SERIAL NO.
DATE
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NO. 5 / REVILO NO. 5 INTRODUCED
183001
MAR 1907
LATEST KNOWN WITH EARLIER BELL CLAP
187671
BELL CLAP REDESIGNED
202692
FRICTION-FIT PENCIL CARRIER CHANGED TO SIMPLE, TABULATOR ADDED
212001
1910
RIBBON REVERSE AND PATENT DATE PLAQUES CHANGED
245001
1911?
EARLIEST KNOWN REVILO NO. 5, LATEST KNOWN NO. 5 WITHOUT BACKSPACER
275198
BACKSPACER ADDED
280001
1912
EARLIEST KNOWN BACKSPACER
280651
EARLIEST KNOWN PRINTYPE
385314
TYPE GUARDS CHANGED FROM BRASS TO STEEL
386001?
387704
SHIFTING MECHANISM REDESIGNED
388001?
389421
LAST NO. 5 PRODUCED
494000
1914

Oliver No. 7
Oliver No. 7
Serial Number 509570 | Made around 1914

The Oliver No. 7 is the successor to the model 5. The frame was redesigned to wrap around the keyboard. From a distance, one could easily mistake it for an Oliver No. 9, but the model 7 has a single set of shift keys to the left of the keyboard. The left margin release key is located to the right of the keyboard and the right margin release key is above the keyboard to the left of the tab key.

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SERIAL NO.
DATE
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NO. 7 INTRODUCED
494001
1914
LAST NO. 7 PRODUCED
551000
1915

Oliver No. 9
Oliver No. 9
Serial Number 877799 | Made around 1919
Oliver No. 9
Serial Number A900380X | Made around 1920

With nearly half a million machines produced, the Oliver No. 9 is by far the most common Oliver model. This model introduced shift keys on both sides of the keyboard.

The key cover was changed (most likely at serial number 875001) to have a single open slot at the top instead of two smaller slots.

Some Oliver No. 9 machines have the keys staggered differently. Traditionally, looking from left to right, the keys protrude from the top row, the bottow row, and then the middle row. The alternate keyboard staggers in order, from the top row, the middle row, and then the bottom row. Some of the symbols and other characters were also rearranged on the alternate keyboard.

Traditional Keyboard
Oliver No. 9 Traditional Keyboard

Alternate Keyboard
Oliver No. 9 Alternate Keyboard

The machines with these alternate keyboards have an "A" prefix on the serial number. The earliest example I have found is my machine, serial number A900380X. After this machine, the only other examples I could find before serial number A980001 is A928771X and A975283X. Beginning with A980001, all model 9 machines were given the "A" prefix and alternate keyboard. Note that this excludes Oliver No. L-10 machines which have a Spanish keyboard with the traditional staggered layout and therefore do not have an "A" prefix.

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SERIAL NO.
DATE
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NO. 9 / NO. L-10 / REVILO NO. 9 INTRODUCED
551001
1915
ONLY KNOWN REVILO NO. 9
554030
1916
EARLIEST KNOWN NO. L-10
585889
800000
1919
ONLY KNOWN GREEN FINISH L-10
837932
LATEST KNOWN OLD KEY COVER
873975
KEY COVER CHANGED
875001?
EARLIEST KNOWN NEW KEY COVER
877799
EARLIEST KNOWN ALTERNATE KEYBOARD (A PREFIX), ALSO HAS X SUFFIX
A900380X
ALTERNATE KEYBOARD (A PREFIX) AND X SUFFIX
A928771X
LATEST KNOWN ALTERNATE KEYBOARD (A PREFIX) AND X SUFFIX
A975283X
EVERY NO. 9 AFTER HAS ALTERNATE KEYBOARD (EXCLUDES NO. L-10 WITH SPANISH KEYBOARD)
A980001
EARLIEST KNOWN OF CONSECUTIVE ALTERNATE KEYBOARD SEQUENCE
A980455
LAST NO. 9 PRODUCED
1000000
1922

Oliver No. 11
Oliver No. 11
Serial Number 1027900 | Made around 1925
Oliver No. 11
Serial Number B1025192 | Made around 1925

The Oliver No. 11 was the last Oliver model produced for the domestic market. Compared to its predecessors, the Oliver No. 11 was given a different look. The iconic olive green paint was discontinued in favor of gloss black accented with gold pinstriping. The Oliver logo was redesigned using a thin lettering. The side handles were replaced with side cutouts to lift the machine.

Some model 11 (also 12, L-12, and L-13) serial numbers have a "B" prefix. Unlike the "A" prefix on Oliver No. 9 machines which denotes an alternate keyboard, the "B" prefix has no correlation to the keyboard. Some machines with a "B" prefix have the alternate keyboard and some do not. I have yet to figure out what the "B" prefix means.

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SERIAL NO.
DATE
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NO. 11 / NO. 12 / NO. L-12 INTRODUCED
1000001
1922
EARLIEST KNOWN NO. L-12, EARLIEST KNOWN B PREFIX
B1003267
1922
1018000
1923
1020000
1924
EARLIEST KNOWN NO. 12
1021181
1924
1025000
1925
LATEST KNOWN NO. L-12
B1026139
LAST NO. L-12 PRODUCED
NO. L-13 INTRODUCED
EARLIEST KNOWN NO. L-13
1032141
1035000
1928
LATEST KNOWN NO. 11?
1049945?
1928
LAST NO. 11 PRODUCED
1050000?
1928

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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.