The Oliver Has Landed – Hard

A package showed up today.  It was marked “Fragile” and had some mysterious puncture wounds.


Hurray!  It’s our long-awaited little Oliver!


Veiled beauty

I dragged her out to the back patio and gave her a good look.


She is magnificent. I am not worthy.

She was filthy – I could see families of dust bunnies in the cracks, so I took off the front plate.



Fortunately we have a convenient hand-held air compressor with lots of attachments. It’s cheaper in the long run than canned compressed air.


I removed the carriage as well (thanks to a very helpful Martin Rice video).  The carriage was very sticky and hung up on areas of rust, but I was able to gently wiggle it free from the body.

I blew the dust and debris out from the body. I then carefully wiped down the body with warm water and little dish soap.

Inventory of Ills

The Oliver looks fairly complete, but has a few issues:

  1. Missing draw band. This is not a big  problem; I can replace that thanks to another Martin Rice video about Oliver draw band replacement.
  2. Missing draw band hook. I can probably fabricate a hook as Tony Mindling did with his Oliver.
  3. Sticky keys. These should respond to gentle cleaning
  4. Lots of rust. I may need to make a run to the auto parts store for some Evapo-Rust.  I have some naval jelly, so I’ll try that first. I just need to be careful around the paint.
  5. Broken mainspring.  I had hoped this wouldn’t be the case, but I am unable to wind the mainspring without it giving a sad little snap and losing tension. Fortunately, Tony Mindling had a mainspring problem with his Oliver that he was able to fix. I will refer to his post.
  6. Bent right tower. At some point in her travels west, this Oliver landed hard on her right tower. She arrived today with alarmingly little packing, so she suffered a bit on her trip. The type bars seem OK, but the right U shape band is bent as is the pencil holder. I’m unable to fully retract the pencil holder and keys are hitting the tower band.  I am going to remove the U shaped band and do some careful bending of the band and the pencil holder.
  7. Frozen carriage. This seems unrelated to the draw band. It may be a rust issue. I hope.

The right tower is bent – it’s a bit shorter than the left. The pencil holder can’t return to its upright position.

There's a fair amount of rust underneath and parts that seems like they should move, don't move.

There’s a fair amount of rust underneath and parts that seems like they should move, don’t move. That oval loop in the center is completely crusted over. I feel like it should be moving freely.

Despite all her flaws, I spent a very enjoyable afternoon cleaning and tinkering with our new Oliver. She is very special, what you might call a “terrible beauty”.  Our new Oliver No. 9 is quite a beauty, but, boy, is she in terrible shape. I think that I am up to the task.

15 thoughts on “The Oliver Has Landed – Hard

    • And I am heading out to the auto supply store for some Evapo Rust. I have been poring over your amazing Sholes Visible restoration posts at Typewriter Revolution.


  1. Thanks for the hint on Datavac Duster! I jumped on Amazon, bought it and I’m blown away 🙂
    More expensive here in UK – though as it is “Made in USA” it had to travel across the pond. I used it already on my Oliver…


  2. I have several Oliver’s I am trying to restore. From #2 ,3,5,7,9,11. Can you have too many ? I am an overachiever , but back to restoring these wonderful old typewriters. Will PB blaster hurt the paint. Or what’s left of the paint. thanks. Steven


    • I haven’t had PB B’laster hurt paint, but I don’t let it sit on painted surfaces. It is a solvent and from what I have read, primarily naphtha, so I wipe it off old painted surfaces if I get over-spray.

      And no, I don’t think you can have too many Olivers – ask Martin Rice:)


    • Ted Kierscey says:

      I’ve got a #2 that is just finished, types beautifully, looks beautiful, no rust, but needs the right margin stop on the carriage, the one that taps the bell. I don’t even know what it looks like. Thinking that finding one next to impossible. But if I knew what it looked like or had a photo, I might be able to fashion one somehow. Thoughts? How bout sending me a new one for big bucks. Just kidding. Ted Kierscey


  3. I am struggling with a similar issue. Draw cord and main string have been repaired, but the carriage still does not advance. Did you identify what caused your issue? Was it as simple as rust underneath, or was there another problem/situation you ran into. I am hitting a wall.


    • Confirm that all is OK with your drawband and mainspring by pulling the carriage gently to the left and typing. Does the carriage advance with typing? If so, there may be a problem with your drawband or mainspring. If it doesn’t advance, remove the top cover plate and examine the escapement. I didn’t realize it initially, but the problem with that Oliver was rust and gunk in the escapement. The escapement was frozen from the rust and years of inaction. Remove the top plate and clean as thoroughly as possible. Here is another Oliver that wasn’t typing that I was able to clean to a functional state:
      I blew out dust and gunk and then used mineral spirits and PB Blaster (very smelly, use outside) and worked the parts manually with my hands. Eventually the typewriter began to type. It took several days for my first Oliver to wake up after the lubricants had a chance to penetrate. Good luck!


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