In previous posts on the origins of rave, ravers and raving, we have established that the use of these terms in relation to parties goes back as far as the 1940s and were used fairly widely in British jazz and later counter-cultural scenes from then up until at least the end of the '60s. The use of the words rave/raving as in over-enthusiastic ('raving mad', 'rant and rave') go back at least as far as the 14th century.
But when was the word raver, as in one who raves, first used as a noun? So far the first example I have found is from a 1704 translation of Plutarch's Morals which criticises 'Triflers and Ravers' in the context of 'Lies, fawning Speeches and deceitful Manners'.
A similar meaning was clearly implied in an 1845 article in the Institutes of the Christian Religion which states 'Let all the hired ravers of the Pope babble as they may'. Similarly an article entitled Public Opinion published in the United States Democratice Review, (Issue 3, March 1856) denounces 'your loudest ravers of disunion' alongside 'your Ism-ites, your Free-soilers, your Arch-Agtitators' in the context of the lead up to the American Civil War.
Still haven't found any use of these terms in relation to parties and dancing before the 1940s though - but will keep searching at the quite addictive Google News Archive and Google Books.