Oliver Tribute > Thomas Oliver Obituary

An Obituary of

Photo (right) and obituary text (below) provided by David M. MacMillan
and are classified as public domain.

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This image is from a special three-page leaflet on the death of Thomas Oliver (August 1, 1852 to February 9, 1909); It is bound between the January 10, 1909 (Vol. VIII, No. 2) and February 10, 1909 (Vol. VIII, No. 3) issues of The Bulletin.

The text of this leaflet reads:

"Born in Canada, called to the ministry at an early age, and satisfied, after years of service, that opportunities to benefit mankind were not confined to the profession in which he was engaged, Thomas Oliver, at an age when many men are already settled in life, took up new pursuits, gave up everything which had occupied his mind theretofore, and brought to bear his splendid inventive genius upon various problems as they presented themselves to him.

"His first invention to attract national and international attention was the U-shaped type-bar now incorporated as the fundamental principle of the typewriter which bears his name. After building the first experimental machines, Thomas Oliver succeeded in disposing of his rights to his typewriter inventions to the Company which afterward made such a success, and, with the proceeds received from the sale of his patents, was able to devote years to study and experiment in other directions.

"His invention of a panoramic device for cameras and kodaks marked an epoch in certain kinds of photography, and likewise brought him substantial returns. Up to the time of his death Mr. Oliver was convinced that he had discovered and perfected the principles that would make a successful rotary engine. He likewise believed he had solved the problem of eliminating in moving-picture machines, kinetoscopes and devices of that kind, the discomforting flashing of light that make moving-picture exhibitions trying to many eyes; while his latest triumph, claimed by those who believe in it to be a perfect machine for picking cotton in the fields, is now being exploited by a company, with which, at the time of his death, Thomas Oliver was connected.

"Mr. Oliver's death was a shock to all who knew him, but his friends consoled themselves with the knowledge that death found him prepared. The Oliver Typewriter Company issued bulletins to its entire Organization immediately after receipt of the sad intelligence, and, for one hour on February eleven, every Oliver Office in the United States was closed, while all flags were kept at half-mast from the time of death until after the funeral. During the same hour on February eleven, memorial services were held at Woodstock in the main assembly- room. The entire Factory Organization gathered to hear sermons by the leading divines of the city, an oration by the Judge of the Circuit Court, and an appropriate musical program by The Oliver Typewriter Band.

"The Directors of The Oliver Typewriter Company passed the following resolution:

"WHEREAS, Thomas Oliver, the inventor of the fundamental principles incorporated in the typewriter bearing his name, has died; and

"WHEREAS, Since the organization of this Company he has continued, when called upon, to give it the benefit of his counsel, ready at all times to serve its interests; and

"WHEREAS, We recognize the genius displayed in his original conception and the manifest advantages accruing to mankind therefrom, as well as the ingenuity shown in subsequent development; and

"WHEREAS, We appreciate his unfaltering devotion to the cause of this Company, his kindly disposition and his continued friendly interest in each and every one identified with us; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That we give expression to the deep sorrow which we, the Board of Directors of The Oliver Typewriter Company, in common with the whole Organization, feel at his untimely death, and that we extend our sincere and heartfelt sympathy to the bereaved relatives."


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