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The Oliver Typewriter
Standard Olivers British Olivers Export Olivers Latin American Olivers | Revilo Olivers Oliver Portables Woodstock
Canadian Olivers Oliver Monopol-Stolzenberg | Oliver Stolzenberg Courier | Jacobi | Jwic Oliver Way-billing Oliver 4-Bank Prototype

Standard Olivers

The Oliver Typewriter Company manufactured most of their typewriters for sale in the United States. These machines are the standard Oliver models.

Oliver No. 1
Oliver No. 1
Serial Number 288 | Made in 1895
Kerschbaumer Collection

The Oliver No. 1 is arguably one of the most sought-after typewriters ever. This is due to its historical significance as well as its uniqueness in that it looks very different from its successors. The Oliver 1 was manufactured in Dubuque, Iowa. All model 1 machines were nickel plated and have flat side handles and black keytops.

Only 500 machines were made, and I know of 10 currently in existance today. Unfortunately, I have yet to add an Oliver 1 to my collection.

Serial Number
Date
001
August 1893
500
December 1896

Oliver No. 2
Oliver No. 2
Serial Number 5965 | Made in 1897
Kerschbaumer Collection
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. Initally, the first few hundred Oliver No. 2s were nickel plated. The iconic olive green paint was introducted as an option and eventually became the standard finish. The white keytops were also introduced in the same manner.

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 from serial number 500 to 5001 when starting production of the Oliver No. 2.

Improvement/Introduction
Serial Number
Date
June 16, 1896 patent date added
5001
December 1896
5315
Optional green finish introduced
1896?
5476
Side panels changed to "Open O" logo
8001
8787
March 1, 1898 patent date added
1898
April 1, 1898 patent date added,updated shift mechanism
15085
Ribbon covers, key comb, base,and key attachments changed
16001
20806
"No. 2" displayed on paper table
25816
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

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.

Serial Number
Date
35001
1901
15 May 1905
146518
183000
March 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.

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.

Improvement/Introduction
Serial Number
Date
183001
March 1907
187671
Bell clap redesigned
Tabulator added, pencil holder redesigned
212001
1910
Ribbon reverse/patent plaques redesigned
245001
1911
Backspacer added
280001
1912
Type guards changed from brass to steel
386001
386425
Shifting mechanism updated
389421
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.

Serial Number
Date
494001
1914
551000
1915
Similar Models
Oliver No. 8

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.

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.

Improvement/Introduction
Serial Number
Date
551001
1915
Alternate keyboard becomes default
A980001
A1000000
1922

Oliver No. 11
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. Many sources say that only 35,000 model 11s were produced. However, this is incorrect; 50,000 Oliver 11s were produced. I have seen Oliver No. 11 serial number 1049945 to help back this claim.

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.

Serial Number
Date
1000001
1922
1050000
1928

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