Oliver 1

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History and Useful Info

The Oliver no. 1 is the first and most elusive of the Oliver family. Built starting 1895, approximately 5000 units were estimated to be built -- a mere fraction of which survive today. One of the most expensive typewriters in the world now, the Oliver 1 was originally sold for $100 as the first "visual" typewriter in the world.

Designed by Rev. Thomas Oliver, a Canadian, the Oliver 1 was an attempt to create a "visible writer" -- a machine that displayed the typed print as it was written, as opposed to the upstrikes of the day, which wrote on the bottom of their platens. However, both of the typebar towers obscure the left and right sides of your writing line, so you can only see about 2"-3" of your writing line.

Like all true Oliver standard typewriters, the Oliver 1 types from two "towers" or "wings" of typebars that strike downwards from their resting spot on either side of the platen.

The Oliver 1 can be distinguished from other models by its nickel plating throughout the machine, and the handlebars on the sides of the machine that run parallel to the ground unlike those of later models.