Adding MachinesFull-Keyboard - Other
In the early twentieth century a variety of companies manufactured full keyboard adding machines that competed with the products of Felt & Tarrant and of Burroughs. Their inventors often had ties to one of the older companies, and competition was fierce. For example, Joseph A.V. Turck (1870-1956) of Providence, Rhode Island, took out patents for a key-driven adding machine in 1899 and 1901. The Mechanical Accountant, as he named the machine, was produced in Providence into the 1920s. However, Turck chose to leave Providence Mfg and Tool Company, the makers of the Mechanical Accountant, to take a position at Felt & Tarrant. He would spend the rest of his career there.
The inventors of two other adding machines, William H. Pike and Frank S. Rinsche, both worked at American Arithmometer Company in St. Louis for a time. Pike went on to invent the Pike adding machine, which was produced in New Jersey from 1904 onward. Rinsche joined with others to form the Universal Accountant Machine Company of St. Louis. Burroughs soon acquired the rights to both the Pike and the Universal machines, and both Pike and Rinsche returned to the company.
The inventor Charles Wales also spent a brief time at Burroughs, although he is better remembered as the inventor of the Wales and the later Federal adding machines. Both offered visible printing of results, unlike the first Burroughs machines. The Wales machine attracted the attention of Ralph C. Allen, who worked at Burroughs from 1904 until he went into business for himself in 1924. Allen first imported calculating machines from Europe. In 1926, he arranged for the Allen Corporation to purchase the Wales Adding Machine Company, and soon thereafter the Peters-Morse Company, to form Allen-Wales Corporation. Allen-Wales, in turn, was acquired by National Cash Register Company in 1944.
During the 1920s and early 1930s, several other inventors saw the adding machines they had devised come to market. O.D. Johantagen, who had patented several machines, saw his Victor Adding Machine begin to sell in 1920. Two years later, the company was taken over by Chicago grocer Carl Buehler, whose family managed the firm successfully for many years, eventually merging with Felt & Tarrant. Glenn J. Barrett, who had worked on the Barrett adding machine before World War I, patented the much lighter Portable. This machine sold from 1922. It was manufactured by Corona, which took over sales and renamed the machine in 1926. The Barrett also remained in production, made by the Lanston Monotype Company of Philadelphia from about 1928. An electric version sold from the late 1930s. Not all inventors lived to see their machine produced. Clyde Gardner, who had worked at Pike and at Burroughs, died shortly after establishing the Gardner Adding Machine Company in 1923. His machine did make it into production. Patent rights eventually were acquired by the Monroe Calculating Machine Company.
A few adding machines made overseas reached the United States. These included a Swiss machine similar to the Comptometer known as the Direct and a much later Italian copy of the Comptometer called the Addicalco. The German Torpedo, introduced in 1931, had a more distinctive keyboard. Comptometer operators had long been trained to use only the lower half of the keyboard, as it was faster to push, say, the 4 and then the 5 key than to reach up the hand to the 9 key. The Torpedo only had keys from 1 to 5 in each column. The Sumlock, a machine made in Britain by Bell Punch Company, was specifically designed for British currency but collected by the Burroughs Patent Department.
"Adding Machines - Full-Keyboard - Other" showing 1 items.
- This full keyboard printing manually operated adding machine has a metal and glass case, with the metal painted black. The keyboard is covered with green felt. There are nine columns of black and white color-coded plastic number keys, with a red clearance key at the bottom of each column. Two of the clearance keys are missing. The key stems for the number keys are bent to ensure that the keys form columns. A button on the left clears the entire keyboard. There is also a lever to the right of the keyboard. When it is shifted up, the keyboard automatically zeros after addition. When it is shifted down, the keyboard remains set after an addition, so that the lever also serves as a repeat key. A crank in the right side of the machine drives it. Behind the keyboard are nine white numeral dials that show the result through glass windows in the case. When the repeat lever is shifted up, the clearance button is depressed and the operating crank is brought forward, and the total decreases (it seems likely that this is supposed to zero the adding wheels).
- At the top of the machine is a printing mechanism, with a two-colored ribbon. The carriage is 33 cm. wide, 46 cm. with the handles. The eight platen positions are set manually by release levers at the top. This is a blind printing machine, with the paper or paper tape emerging at the top so that it is visible to the operator. It has a two-color ribbon. A bell on the carriage handle rings when one approaches the bottom of a piece of paper.
- The machine is marked at the front: UNIVERSAL (/) ACCOUNTANT MACHINE CO. (/) St. LOUIS, MO. (/) PAT.APR.20,1897, PAT.NOV.28, 1899, PAT.JULY 24, 1900 (/) PATENTS APPLIED FOR. It is marked behind the keyboard, over the result dials: Universal. It is marked on paper behind the carriage: No UAM (/) CO 5.
- Universal Accountant Machine Company was organized by 1898 and purchased by Burroughs Adding Machine Company in 1908. The model originally sold for $300, with electric drive $75 extra. It was introduced in about 1905. Burroughs discontinued production of the machine.
- J. H. McCarthy, The American Digest of Business Machines, Chicago: American Exchange Service, 1924, p. 544.
- E. Martin, The Calculating Machines (Die Rechenmaschinen), trans. P. A. Kidwell and M. R. Williams, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1992, p. 148.
- The Universal Accountant Machine Company, “1905 Model” and “Universal Adding Machines,” Warshaw Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.
- Currently not on view
- date made
- Universal Accountant Machine Company
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- catalog number
- accession number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center