The other day Georg Sommeregger stumbled across my post on my Portex portable typewriter from late June last year, and commented on the “10-minute treatment” – that is, the very quick clean up one does immediately one unpacks yet another “new” old typewriter. “I love the 10 minutes,” wrote Georg, “I do the same.”
Today I received this Oliver. The seller explained she had acquired it, along with a Yöst No 9, from an 80-year-old lady, “who bought them new”. The Oliver and the Yöst were on display at the seller’s wedding. The seller was most helpful, and her new father-in-law made a neat wooden, padded box so it could be safely couriered to me.
eBay listing photograph
I wasn’t too surprised when I saw the condition it was in. The eBay listing photographs had clearly indicated that it needed a good clean up, with much grit and grime evident. I was confident that in short time it would come up looking as sharp as a tack. And after the “10-minute treatment”, it did.
Just unpacked here today
Since then, with a little more time working on the Oliver, I have managed to get it working beautifully. The drawband had come unattached from the carriage, but it had got caught up under the carriage, so it was still attached to the mainspring and very taut. Thus I could tell there was still plenty of tension in the mainspring. Once the drawband was untangled and reattached, the Oliver took off like new, typing magnificently.
Obviously there is still a lot of work to be done yet. With a good oiling, the Oliver is looking even more special now. Once I have completed the work, in about a week, I will post on it again, so it can be seen fully restored to its full former glory. It already has a new bright red pencil inserted in its pencil carrier (my first Oliver didn’t have this device, something which always disappointed me).
First appearances were deceptive
I have not yet been able to put this Oliver beside my No 5 to compare them, since the No 5 is still packed up after being in the typewriter exhibition. However, it strikes me this Oliver is significantly smaller and lighter. It may be just my imagination – we will have to wait and see. One thing I do know, the typeface on this Oliver is much smaller (about elite size) than the No 5, which has got a font which has to be at least 14-point.
My other Oliver
There is no model number on this Oliver, but it has the serial number 452478. Going by Jett Morton’s The Oliver Typewriter Co: Machines and History (2011), it would seem this is also a 5, but I will be quite surprised if it is the same weight and size as the No 5 which is still packed up. Maybe someone out there can tell me for sure which model this is. The seller said she thought it was a No 9 and dated from 1912. I’d guess the year is about right, but I’m not convinced yet to about the model number.