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.
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 Oliver 11 and 12. The most noticeable improvement was made to the ribbon holder lids - they are now flat and pivotable, presumably so that they would not get lost. Unfortunately, it took over a dozen Oliver models for this improvement to be made.
Some lists show a serial number range for the Oliver No. 15 being LA001 to LA7000. However, this is incorrect. The serial numbers start with an "LC" prefix, but the "C" was later dropped.
The Oliver No. 16 is the export version of the Oliver No. 15. Just like the export models produced in the United States, this machine is identical to its previous odd-numbered counterpart (the Oliver 15) with the exception of the four additional keys and wider base.
The Oliver No. 16 serial numbers have an "R" prefix. It is unclear as to whether these numbers are intermixed with the Oliver No. 15's serial numbers or not. The first Oliver 16 may be R1001.
In 1935, the British Oliver Manufacturing Company begain 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, and so on).
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.
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 the model number. The first digit is the last digit of the year of production, and 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.
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.
The British Oliver Manufacturing Company sold many different European portables under the Oliver name.
Click here to see the Oliver Portables.