Oliver Tribute > Oliver Ruling Devices

The Oliver Ruling Devices

Indelible Leads

Indelible Leads

Fig. 4

By Shannon L. Johnson, original appearing in issue 61 of ETCetera.

On the 21st of August 1906, Stephen Horr, of the Oliver Typewriter Co. was granted a patent for a Ruling Device for Type-writing Machines (U.S. Patent No. 829,108). His initial patent included two types of ruling devises, a Rotative Marking Disk ( Fig. 1 ), and a Friction-fit Pencil Carrier ( Fig. 2 ). The more common Simple Pencil Carrier ( Fig. 3 ) that replaced the Friction-fit Pencil Carrier on the Model No. 5, may have it's own patent, but it is not in my list of Oliver patents. I would appreciate knowing it if someone has found that patent.

Fine Friction-fit
Pencil Carrier

Fig. 5

Thus far, no information has surfaced to indicate that the Rotative Marking Disk ever entered production, but the Friction-fit Pencil Carrier was available for a time early in the production of the No.5. Based on Patent No. 829,108's drawings, Mr. Horr intended these devises to be interchangeable. The production version of the Friction-fit Pencil Carrier differs from his patent images, but the socket the carrier is fastened in, is the same as the more prevalent Simple Pencil Carrier. The ruling device appears to have been optional on early No. 5 machines, but all later No. 5s have one of the pencil carriers, or the signs of once having one. Oddly, on the No. 6, the No. 5's export version, the device seems to have been optional through out its production run. Models Nos. 7, 9, and 10 all appear to have had the ruling device as a standard feature. No examples of an Oliver No. 8 have yet surfaced. But definitive patterns rely on my receiving information on as many Olivers as possible

The Friction-fit Pencil Carrier is shown in Mr. Horr's patent with a fine lead pencil ( Fig. 5 ), and the photo example of the production version shows a thicker type lead. Actual leads ( Fig. 4 ) from Oliver have been found, but the fine lead pencils may also exist. The Simple Pencil Carrier is pictured in Oliver ephemera with a short golf style pencil, but presumably other marking devices could be used (e.g., ball-point pens, grease pencils, colored pencils. etc.)

This invention of Stephen Horr's is uniquely Oliver. Other machines have work arounds with nooks and pen holes, but none match the elegance and utility of the Oliver Ruling Device. Be on the look out for the here-to-for-unseen Rotative Marking Disk and the early Friction-fit Pencil Carrier, they are interesting gems in any Oliver collection.

Rotative Marking Disk

Fig. 1

Friction-fit Pencil Carrier

Fig. 2

Simple Pencil Carrier

Fig. 3


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