Towards the end of the nineteenth century, the typewriter industry was developing rapidly. Before the Oliver typewriter entered the market, text remained hidden from the typist on the underside of the platen as it was typeset until the platen was lifted. This design was convention across many successful typewriter brands of the era. However, the typewriting industry was soon revolutionized by Reverend Thomas Oliver and his eponymous invention. The Oliver typewriter features two towers of typebars which strike down onto the platen, allowing the text to remain visible at all times. With this iconic typing mechanism, the Oliver become known as The Standard Visible Writer.

From 1893 to 1928, the Oliver downstrike mechanism was implemented on every model manufactured or licensed by the Oliver Typewriter Company. From 1928 to 1947, this mechanism was implemented in England on “British Oliver” models produced by the Oliver Typewriter Manufacturing Company, Ltd. These were initially sold by the Oliver Typewriter (Sales) Company, Ltd., but later sold directly by the manufacturing company. Beginning in 1931, various European portables were also sold under the Oliver name. By April 1958, the company was renamed to Oliver Industries, Ltd. In July 1959, all Oliver typewriters ceased production.