Oliver Typewriter Company, est. 1896

Museum Artifact: Oliver Typewriter No. 9, model year: 1917

Made By: Oliver Typewriter Co., 159 N. Dearborn St., Chicago, IL / Factory: Woodstock, IL

“Simplicity, durability, speed, manifolding power, and visible writing are conceded to be the five great essentials in a typewriting machine. We present to the public THE OLIVER as the most striking embodiment of these features, and the most radical departure from other methods of construction.”

Addressograph Company, est. 1892

Museum Artifact: Addressograph Print Ribbon Tins, 1920s

Made by: The Addressograph Company, 915 W. Van Buren St., Chicago, IL

While the terrific 1920s ornamentation suggests something rare and precious, these small ribbon tins were more like the printer ink cartridges of their day; stacked in office storage rooms to keep a business’s addressograph machine up and running. What’s an addressograph, you ask? Why,

Stenographic Machines, Inc., est. 1938

Museum Artifact: Stenograph Reporter Model, c. 1947

Made By: Stenographic Machines, Inc., 80 E. Jackson Blvd.

“The Stenograph was the best machine ever made. It would work with or without oil. Every bearing was like a jewel.” —Robert T. Wright (1906-2000)

Now I will admit from the outset, Robert Wright’s opinion of the Stenograph might not be entirely unbiased,

Woodstock Typewriter Co., est. 1907

Museum Artifact: Woodstock Standard Typewriter, Model No. 5, 1922

Made By: Woodstock Typewriter Company, 300 N. Seminary Ave., Woodstock, IL (Offices at 35 N Dearborn St, Chicago)

Woodstock is a sleepy, romantic little town of 25,000, accessible by the Union Pacific Northwest Metra rail line from downtown Chicago—about an hour and a half journey. If you go there, you might recognize it as the stand-in for Punxsutawney in the movie Groundhog Day.

Woodstock No. 5 Typewriter by Woodstock Typewriter Co., 1933

Woodstock Typewriter Company, 300 N. Seminary Ave., Woodstock, IL

Though it was built 11 years after the machine profiled on our primary Woodstock Typewriter Company page, this 1933 design is still identified as the same model type—No. 5—just with some minor structural and aesthetic updates from A.C. Roebuck’s original. The top and sides of the machine, for example, are now closed rather than open, and the stylish Woodstock lettering and golden eagle logo—displayed prominently on the paper table during the early 1920s—are completely gone;

Ditto Inc., est. 1921

Museum Artifact: Ditto Typewriter Ribbon Tin, c. 1930s

Made By: DITTO Inc., 605 S. Oakley Blvd., Chicago, IL

Research is underway on this one and a full write-up will be coming soon.

Oliver Typewriter No. 5 by Oliver Typewriter Co., c. 1910

Oliver Typewriter Company, 159 N. Dearborn St., Chicago, IL. Factory: Woodstock, IL

“The Oliver Typewriter No. 5, which is now being placed on the market, is the ‘last word’ in typewriters—a Symphony in Steel. It is scientific in principle, flawless in construction, accurate in adjustment, splendidly efficient in operation.”—Oliver Typewriter Co. catalog, 1908

Produced between 1907 and 1914, the Oliver No. 5 was also the last offering from Thomas Oliver himself,