Prepare for the process by getting five parts trays or boxes. I use the cardboard flats that sodas are sold in. These are to keep the parts from wandering off and to keep various components of the machine separate from each other so that reassembly requires less rummaging. I label my boxes for the (1) carriage, (2) mainframe, (3) left and (4) right side parts, and (5) carriage rail/escapement assembly.
How far you disassemble the machine depends on how much restoration you want to do. In my case, I decided to do a complete reconditioning, including paint job, so this meant almost total disassembly. If you do not intend to go that far, disassemble things only as much as necessary to do the cleaning that is needed and to replace defective parts.

First, remove the carriage.
Find the right margin stop on the lower right side and slide it completely off. Then depress the carriage release plunger under the left platen knob, remove the carriage to the left and set it aside in your "carriage" box. Tip the machine to gain access to the underside and remove the screws that hold the cast nameplates on. Put them in your "left" and "right" boxes, respectively.
Still working under the machine, remove the thumbscrew on the carriage spring barrel shaft (NOTE—it has left hand threads). If the ratchet gear does not come off by itself, a light tap from a screwdriver handle on the end of the shaft will knock it loose. The spring barrel can now be pulled out from the top of the machine and all of these parts can be put into the "left" box.

The carriage rail/escapement assembly is removed next.
First, spend a minute looking at how it all goes together. Note the two hourglass-shaped rockers that support the assembly at the sides. These will fall away when the assembly is lifted off and it would be nice to know where they go when you put it together again.

2. Shifting levers on right side of typewriter

Also, study the various levers and cranks on the right side of the machine that lock and unlock the carriage when shifting (See Photo 2).

Under the machine, remove the nut from the end of the screw supporting the sliding-block for the universal bar, and then turn out the screw and block. Back on top of the machine, remove the retainer on top of the tail brace roller at the back of the machine by removing the two side screws. There is no need to disturb the center adjustment screw yet (Rule of thumb—never disturb any calibration settings unless you absolutely need to).

Disconnect the shifting arm below the keyboard by pulling the cotter pin. Next, remove the L-shaped hold-down retainers at the sides of the type towers. Note that the left one has its bottom flange pointed out and the right one has it pointing in.
Finally, remove the lateral alignment rod between the two type towers. At this point, you can fiddle and juggle the carriage rail/escapement assembly back and forth and upward, getting the shifting arm off its pin, and gently freeing the entire assembly and lifting it away. If it hangs up, just stop, look for the obstruction, and carefully work around it. Patience will be rewarded. Place the removed assembly and all the little parts that go with it into your "carriage rail/escapement" box.

Next, disassemble the key levers and typebars.
Work on one side at a time and place all components into the box for that side. First, make a chart showing the order of key levers as they pass through the comb, going from one side of the machine to the other. This will make reassembly a lot easier later. Then, going to the type tower of your choice, remove the plated typebar guard and set it aside.
Under the machine, remove the gear on the end of the ribbon shaft. With the machine right side up, loosen the setscrew on the ribbons shaft’s knurled knob and pull the shaft out from the top, noting any washers that are revealed in the process. Remove the ribbon cup. There will be (fiber) washers under it too. Remove the four screws holding the two typebar retainers and typebar rest to the plate on top of the type tower.

3. Note all the dirt that got between and under the typebars. Cleaning this with the typebars in place would have been impossible.
14. Key levers and typebars during reassembly.
4. Frame casting prior to stripping and refinishing

The typebar rest (Photo 14) is another detail that differs from later versions of the model 2 and the model 3.
At this point the typebars will be floating aimlessly above the machine, so be careful not to whack them. You will also see all the crud and filth that was hiding below the typebars and in the bearings (See photo 3). This is why taking all this apart is important—you would never get it clean otherwise.
Now, move to the back of the machine and loosen the setscrew holding the pivot shaft running through the key lever standard (the casting that all the key levers are hinged to). Remove the spring from the innermost key lever and pull the shaft out just far enough to free the lever. Carefully disentangle the lever/typebar combination and lift it free. Now bend the retaining tab on the key lever just enough to disconnect the typebar arm from the key lever and set both parts aside. Later models of the Oliver have a spring-loaded gate here that allows you to separate these parts more easily. You may be tempted to leave this alone to avoid bending things, but trying to clean this assembly in one piece risks more damage than taking it apart. Separating these parts will simplify reassembly later on as well. Repeat this process for each key lever/typebar combination for the rest of the side you are working on, continuing to work from the inside out.
When the last key lever is removed, the rectangular plate with spring holes in it can be removed from the frame casting (your machine may or may not have this as a separate piece). Note that the holes are not centrally located—the plate goes in with the line of holes toward the front of the machine. Follow the same procedure on the other side of the machine.

Now remove as much as you need to from the mainframe. Even if you are not going for complete disassembly, everything that is easy to remove should be taken off to make cleaning easier.
Since I was going to repaint the machine, I took it all apart, leaving nothing but a really ugly frame casting (See Photo 4).
At the very least, I would remove the tail brace roller at the back of the machine, the bell and its cast mount, the space bar and the patent plate under it, the ribbon switch knob and its base plate, the key lever comb, and the shift lever assembly.
Taking off this latter component involves unscrewing the hinge casting and shift lock lever from below, removing two link screws from the side (directly under the vertical travel limiter on the type tower), and then gingerly maneuvering the whole thing out to the side, bringing the two springs along with it.


I treated this shift lever assembly as a separate component for disassembly and cleaning purposes.
Separate the levers, pedestal, and spring parts, but do not remove or alter any adjustment settings on the levers. After the parts were processed, it was reassembled to await insertion into the machine as a complete unit. I discovered too late that the little "plastic" bushings decorating the spacebar holes in the frame were SCREWED in. I pried the first one out and ruined it, and since the second one had a chip out of it anyway, I had to make replacements. A good source of material for small turned plastic parts like this is the handle of a cheap screwdriver (Phillips head, since it goes into a lathe chuck easier). I made two new bushings this way and they look fine (See Photo 5).

5. Making two new space bar hole bushings from a screwdriver handle

If you don’t have a lathe, an electric drill and a file may do it. Better yet, don’t mess up the parts in the first place!

Turn the machine over and disassemble as many of the bottom components as you need to, working logically by removing the most accessible parts first and then those lying beneath.
There are a variety of screws holding everything together. Take notes, if necessary, to remember which kind of screw goes where. Removing screws sounds like a straightforward process, but 100-year-old screws can sometimes be cranky, especially if they have already been mistreated by someone else. Minimize problems by saturating the screws with something like Liquid Wrench or kerosene and let the machine stand overnight. Then make sure your screwdriver fits the screw heads perfectly.
I have modified a number of screwdrivers over the years by filing and grinding so that now I have one that pretty much suits any task. In spite of such efforts, though, you will eventually ruin a screw slot. Your choices then are to leave the item alone and work around it, or to drill out the screw and replace it. I ended up taking both of these routes on this project. Two screws that I thought absolutely needed to come out were drilled, and another assembly that was giving me trouble was left alone.
Replacement screws can often be scrounged from your parts machine collection, and if that fails, hobby shops usually have interesting selections of small, odd screws not found in hardware stores. In addition to the photos, make your own drawings of how things are arranged whenever you have the slightest doubt. This kind of major disassembly can be an intimidating process, especially the first time you do it, and you may wonder if you’ll ever get it all back together again, but a careful, methodical approach and attention to detail is the key. Keep things organized, don’t try to do it all at once, and when you get tired or frustrated, just walk away, do something else, and come back later.

If you are going disassemble the base all the way in order to repaint it, the last thing to come off is the type tower pedestal casting, secured by four screws on the underside. Beneath this unit are two shafts that carry carriage-locking motion from the left to the right side of the machine. Disassemble these as well. Put all pieces from this exercise into the "mainframe" box. I left the typebar mounting plates on top of the pedestals (these screws were immovable) and simply masked these parts for repainting.
Spraying paint stripper on them won’t hurt them, and in fact stripper makes it a lot easier to get 100-year-old crud off of unpainted parts. In fact, I used it specifically for this purpose in a number of places. As with the main body of the machine, disassemble only as much of the carriage as needed to be able to clean and repair the component thoroughly. At a minimum, I recommend removing (in order):
- The paper bail and associated sliding fingers (one screw on each side)
- The line spacing lever/roller and spring on the left side (watch for the little spring-loaded detent button to fly out from behind it when disassembling)
- The paper table (two small screws on each side, one of them under the line space lever)
- The platen and platen shaft (remove setscrews and pull shaft out from the left)
- The front double feed roller assembly and paper scale (one big screw on each side) This last assembly will fall apart when removed from the confines of the carriage, so examine it carefully beforehand to see how it goes back together.

If you want to get the lower feed roller out of what remains of this assembly, you will need to remove one more screw to get one of the end pieces off. See Photos 7 and 8 for details of carriage construction.

7. Left end of carriage showing positions of controls
8. Right end of carriage from below showing strap, clip, and rail wheel

The large bottom feed roller may not need removing unless you intend to get it recovered or if you want to unscrew the rear carriage support wheel. If you want it out, remove the two screws holding one of the two bearing blocks in place. I also removed the line-advance device with the gear segment on it. This needs to come out if you want to get the left front support wheel off. I took all three support wheels off to make sure their bearings got thoroughly cleaned.

IMPORTANT—While the rear carriage support wheel is laterally free floating, the two front ones are adjustable for minimum play to keep the carriage stable on its rails. These two wheels (on my machine, at least) are asymmetrical, with a thicker edge on one side than on the other. How these wheels are installed will influence the front-back position of the carriage, so note the original orientation and put them back the same way. If you have funny looking print later on, with the top and bottom of the letters having different density, this may be the problem. I also removed the carriage release plunger and its sliding plate.
I loosened, but did not remove, screws securing the left carriage end plate so that I could remove the painted paper guide in front of the paper table since this part was going to be repainted. Depending on levels of wear and filth, you may want to remove more parts or stop here.

Decision Time:
Now that you have the machine disassembled as far as you have chosen to go, it is time to decide whether you want to get the platen and feed rollers recovered with new rubber. New rubber is not necessary, of course, unless the existing rubber parts are so badly deteriorated that they ruin the machine’s appearance, or unless you want to do a working restoration so you can use the machine to type with.
Disassembly quickly gives you a clue as to how practical a working restoration will be. A lot of broken parts or evidence of a lot of wear and tear (rounded-off teeth on the escapement wheel is a bad sign) may lead you to conclude that the machine is a candidate for static display only, and not worth the extra expenditure. On the other hand, a good mechanism on the inside and good looks on the outside may convince you that you want to do more than just visually admire your work when you are done.

9. Platen and feed rollers before and after recovering

If you do decide to get the platen and feed rollers recovered, now is the time to send these parts off to your favorite recovering shop (I use Ames Supply Company, in Downers Grove, Ill). By the time you get the rest of the parts cleaned and ready to be put back together, the new rubber will be back, waiting to be included in the reassembly process. If new rubber is not in plan, clean up the platen and rollers as best you can and set them aside for reassembly. I generally go around a platen I do not intend to replace with fine sandpaper to give it a smooth, consistent texture and color and let it go at that. My Oliver 2 platen was not particularly ugly, but the feed rollers were beyond help (See Photo 9). I decided to go for new rubber all around.

And now it's time for
Cleaning and Refurbishing: