Antique Typewriters

The Martin Howard Collection

Oliver 2

Oliver 2

Oliver Typewriter Company, Chicago
1896 - serial no.5884

The Reverend Thomas Oliver

Thomas Oliver was born in Woodstock, Ontario, Canada in 1852. As a young man he moved to Iowa to be a Methodist Minister. In 1888 he started to develop his first typewriter as a means to produce more legible weekly sermons. He received his first patent in 1891 and in 1892 had a 'crude working model' to bring to market. He left the ministry and found investors to support his venture to the tune of $15,000 each. He built his first factory in Iowa and began to market the Oliver extensively for home use to great success. Later the factory moved to Chicago, where over a million Olivers were produced!

The Oliver was an early typewriter to give visible writing. This is achieved by having the type-bars swing down to the top of platen from the two type-bar towers. Oliver typewriters were solidly built and typed smoothly, selling very well for many years. Many Olivers survive today, with the exception of the Oliver 1.

The Oliver 1 is all nickel plated with lifting handles on the sides that are flat or flush to the table. The Oliver 2 pictured here is an early model, being similar in mechanical design to the model 1 and in maintaining the nickel plated finish on the frame.

This typewriter originally sold for $95.00.

"It took 25 years to find that typewriters have been built up-side-down. The Oliver is built right-side-up, where the work is in sight."

"In use by 157 railroads and largest business houses all over the world. Years of success - ample capital - highest awards at three International Expositions."