The Oliver Typewriter
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Thomas Oliver
The Oliver typewriter is the invention of Reverend Thomas Oliver. Born in Woodstock, Ontario, Canada on August 1, 1852, Thomas Oliver became interested in mechanics at an early age. In 1888, after moving to Iowa, Oliver began to create a typing machine out of strips cut from tin cans and rubber. At this time, he was Reverend Thomas Oliver, and his goal was to create sermons that were more legible for use in church. It was claimed he had never seen a typewriter of any kind before.

After patenting several designs in the early 1890s, Reverend Oliver found investors interested in his machine. Oliver was able to lease a brick building to manufacture his typewriter. While visiting Chicago to promote his machine, Oliver encountered a businessman who became interested in the typewriter and bought the stock held by the initial investors. Thomas Oliver retained a 65% interest in his company and continued developing his typewriter.

The Oliver Typewriter Company officially opened in 1895?, with headquarters in only two rooms on the ninth floor of a building in Chicago. In December 1896, manufacturing was moved from Dubuque, Iowa to a factory on a 12-acre lot in Woodstock, Illinois. Since the Oliver Typewriter Company outgrew their office space six times in ten years, construction of a new office building begun. From 1907 to 1926, 159 North Dearborn Street in Chicago served as world headquarters for the Oliver Typewriter Company.

A minor recession from 1921 to 1922 caused a large number of customers to default on their payments resulting in the repossession of their Oliver typewriters. The board of directors voted to liquidate the Oliver Typewriter Company in 1926. In 1928, The Oliver Typewriter Company was sold to investors who formed the Oliver Typewriter Manufacturing Company Ltd. in Croydon, England.

The British Oliver Manufacturing Company began to steer away from Thomas Oliver's typewriter design and instead opted to sell licensed rebranded machines produced by various European nations. In 1958, the Byron Typewriter Company (formerly the Barlock Typewriter Company) of Nottingham, England was purchased by the Oliver Typewriter Manufacturing Company. The licensing ventures were ultimately unsuccessful, and in May 1959, the British Oliver Manufacturing Company was liquidated.