|OLIVER portables and relatives|
|A favorite brand for collectors both experienced and new is OLIVER. While best known for its unconventional but successful standard typewriters, this company's descendant in England, namely British Oliver Typewriters Ltd, was responsible for portables as well. There is also a large family of mechanical duplicates made in other countries. Here's a little photo montage of machines from this family, starting with Chuck & Rich's pre-war OLIVER at right. Note that these were made both in England and Italy; they're copies of the German EUROPA. The Europa was made by a predecessor of Olympia, and this design split off and was made in other countries under brand names like S-I-M and M-A-S.
This variant seems to have been manufactured only from 1931 through 1933.
|The post-war machines are different, and begin with this 1950 example from Jim Dax. My 1952 Oliver Portable is seen below, along with its logo and the "messenger," or courier, which was actually branded later. These post-war Oliver machines are members of the Euro-Portables family, which was a phenomenon wherein a single design was widely produced all over Europe.|
|Two mechanical features are common to most every member of this large European family of portables. Both are seen on my 1952 OLIVER machine. At left, the ribbon selector switch mounted directly on the type-bar segment. At right, the margin release key (up arrow) seen in an odd position to one side of the keyboard, in this case on the left side of the keyboard.|
|Many people are familiar with the fact that the final variant of this machine was the OLIVER COURIER. A curious finding, however, is seen at left in a shot by Matt Resist. This machine has what is known as the COURIER body, but is only labeled OLIVER. I'd have to say it's a transitional model.|
|Most machines of this variety resemble Matt Resist's machine, except for the fact that the logo and name appear on the top cover. Here we see the rarer, final version; note the flat enamel paint (as opposed to crinkle) and centered logo. Also apparent are the three red keytops. This is my 1959 machine.. and it's rather significant if you're an OLIVER enthusiast, because of its manufacturing date.|
|The serial number of this machine is CF 78557, which decodes to April 1959. Production of all OLIVER typewriters ended in May of that year; thus, this example is from the second-last month of production. Only 1275 machines are newer than this, out of a total of something like 150,000 OLIVER COURIER machines made from 1954 to 1959. It seems as if this styling variant appeared about 1957 (red keys, centered logo, enamel paint.)|
|..to see more family members from other countries|
|Here, we see rear and side views of the Oliver Courier. Note the rounded shape of the ribbon cover; this translates to all of the other family members, sooner or later, made in other countries. Note also the visual effect from the side; a curvy body, with what appears to be only a small platform for a carriage appearing too small and light for the machine. It's easy to say that these were not particularly expensive machines to manufacture. The knob just barely visible on the left side in front of the carriage is the carriage lock, which is another distinguishing feature of family members. Note that, mechanically, the relation between pre-War and post-War Oliver Portables remains unclear, as does the exact origin of the Courier's mechanical design.|
|At left, a shot from Tilman Elster of his Oliver Portable. This is a different machine from that seen above; properly, it falls into the family loosely known as the "SIM / MAS" group of portables, made in Italy and which carried a wide variety of names and models over a number of years.|
|The paper table and front logos on this machine are actually punched through the metal, and have white celluloid cards mounted behind the panels to give an offset or relief effect.|