Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Do you want to build an Oliver? Part 2

So you need an escapement/carriage rail assembly? Just make sure you have these handy dandy parts prefabricated and ready to be brought together!

First we begin with the base skeleton frame of the assembly.

Now we add the small hooked bit to the underside. This is the guide for the reverse-T bar well be adding later, and is also the anchor for the screws to the geardrive.

We now add the gear drive, screwing it into the piece added previously. Ensure the square towards the top has its drilled out half sphere pointed outward, to accommodate the spring used to allow tabulation.

Next we add the piece to lock the geardrive in place. Notice the other half-sphere, and the spring.

Youll want to take the top part off to make this considerably easier for the moment.

Add it with the round bulges aimed downwards, and reattach the top bit.

Next well add the tab bar and right margin release bar. Not pictured is another small bar which, surprisingly, was the only thing I forgot to take a picture of this time around.

Here they are added. Attach the springs seen previously to their respective spots.

Now we add the top of the geardrive which connects to the tab bar, allowing the press of said bar to force the gear back and disengage from the carriage.

Now we add the ribbon vibrator and escapement mechanism, which can not be taken apart safely beyond what is seen here for the most part. Most of whats connected is riveted or precise.

And here it is, in all its glory, attached once more.

Now we add the back-spacer holder.

It screws in on the bottom of the skeletal frame, and covers up the screws which hold the escapement/ ribbon vibrator assembly, so make sure this is done after the previous step.

Now we add the assembly guide wheel thing.

Make sure the wheels are facing away from the center of the machine. It is on the underside of the assembly.

I then add the carriage belt hook-stop, which allows the carriage to be taken off the machine without unwinding the motor. This is towards the back of the frame.

Next is the left-margin stopping thing. That's its name. I swear.

It is put on the underside of the skeletal frame. The small fan bit helps ensure its properly placed.

We now add the reverse T bar.

It goes on the opposite side of the ribbon vibrator on that entire assemblage, allowing a pivot action.

Next the shifting bar, which connects the assembly to the segment underneath which is operated during shifting.

Youll be placing it in the dug out well behind the ribbon vibrator/escapement assembly.

Next add the left margin rail

Then add the bell ringer device

Now we add the right hand support and back-spacer assembly.

Make sure that the backspacer is properly in its place near the center of the whole assembly, then screw it in with its two heavy screws.

Repeat for the left side, save for the back-spacer assembly.

And now, the finishing touch:

With the rails now in place, your escapement/carriage rail assembly is just about ready to be dropped into place on the machine body. There are just a few things to do before that, which will be detailed in the next section: How did we even get this far, Mr. Thomas?

If you have questions, concerns about the welfare of this machine, or comments, ask below! Ill do my best to help


  1. This is invaluable information for owners of Olivers. Seeing each piece clean / deconstructed / reconstructed is not only fascinating but extremely helpful and I will refer to this post frequently for comparison purposes.

    My own Oliver is still only advancing with striking of the space bar and not with striking of the keys. I have been tightening / repositioning / loosening various nuts and bolts and screws under the machine in the hopes that I have an adjustment issue but no progress.

    I will watch with great interest as you re-attach the escapement and carriage rail assembly and make your final adjustments as it may help me solve my Oliver's problem.

    1. My goal with these is to simply get the information out on the internet. Nothing is so daunting as wanting to try something like this and finding that there's no help whatsoever on the web. Keep tinkering with your machine, it'll start working in no time. Unless of course it's jealous of your shiny new corona.

  2. You've got access to the original factory assembly training materials, right?

    Your illustrated write-ups are fascinating and actually awe inspiring. A bit intimidating even :)
    The mechanical ingenuity of the machine on display here is a pleasure to see. Thank you for these posts (and good luck with the continued success of the project!).

    1. I wish I had those materials. If I did, I'd plaster them just about everywhere to prove that I knew what I was doing as I did it. As of now, I just wade into it all hoping the way I'm doing it somewhat resembles how it should be done

  3. Wow. Beautifully documented. Did you re-plate some of those pieces, or just do a very good cleaning? They sparkle.

    1. I got lucky with this machine, in that only a few pieces were actually rusted. Most of it was just covered in thick grime which came off after vigorous scrubbing with steel wool and maniacally taking a dremel to it. At this point, I must admit that steel wool can just about clean anything on a typewriter amazingly.

  4. AH! You know, I do need to get to work on my Oliver again. You're inspiring me to dig into it deeper than I was comfortable with.

    1. By golly, if an experienced and trained individual working in a factory a hundred years ago can do it, surely we can do it as well with our complete lack of Oliver company training, manuals, or Oliver engineers and co-workers! :D
      In all seriousness, Oliver's are the easiest typewriter to deal with. Go nuts with it knowing you'll be able to put it back together with no troubles, if it strikes your fancy