AddersAdders Using Rods
From antiquity, mathematicians have known that one can represent numbers by lengths. To find the sum of two numbers, one can use two rulers that slide next to one another, assuming the rulers are long enough. In 1700, the Frenchman Claude Perrault suggested that one could represent each digit in numbers to be summed by a separate sliding stick. Another Frenchman, C. de Caze, actually built such an instrument.
The Smithsonian collections include several models of adders submitted to the United States Patent Office. Some of these represented numbers by the length of movable rods. Another rod-type adder, invented by Clarence E. Locke of Kensett, Iowa, was the first American-made adder to sell successfully for several years.
"Adders - Adders Using Rods" showing 1 items.
- This wooden patent model for an adder has a frame that holds seven strips of wood. Each strip has 19 holes on it. The ten right holes are numbered from 0 to 9. The nine remaining holes are unnumbered, but the wood is colored green. To the sides of each strip, the numbers 1 to 9 are written on the frame. The left part of the strip is covered by an upper piece on the frame.
- Samuel S. Young of Eaton, Ohio, took out three patents for computing devices. This is the patent model for the first. The later ones were a rule for calculating interest, patented September 2, 1851 (U.S. patent 8323), and an arithmetical proof rule, patented October 26, 1858 (U.S. patent 21921).
- The U.S. Census for 1850 indicates that S. S.Young of Eaton, Ohio, was 40 years old that year, and living with his wife and two children. His occupation is given as “gardener.” Apparently by 1860 he had moved to the nearby town of Washington and is listed as a “horticulturalist” by profession.
- References: Samuel S. Young, Calculating-Machine, U.S. Patent, No. 6602, issued July 24, 1849.
- Robert Otnes, “Sliding Bar Calculators,” ETCetera, #11, June, 1990, p. 6.
- P. Kidwell, “Adders Made and Used in the United States,” Rittenhouse, May, 1994, p. 80.
- Currently not on view
- date made
- Young, Samuel S.
- Young, Samuel S.
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- catalog number
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- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center