Adding MachinesFull-Keyboard – Burroughs
William Seward Burroughs (ca 1855-1898), the son of a machinist in upstate New York, spent some years working as a clerk before moving to St. Louis and taking up invention. From 1884, he attracted investors to aid in his development of a printing adding machine. By 1890, he had patented a machine and sent it out on trial. By the mid-1890s, the American Arithmometer Company of St. Louis was actively selling the Burroughs Registering Accountant, as they called the machine. As early as 1898 it established a factory in Britain to produce for the European market.
In 1904, American Arithmometer Company moved to Detroit. The next year, it took the name Burroughs Adding Machine Company. In the course of the early 20th century, the company made and sold a wide range of adding machines. It vigorously defended its own patent rights, and purchased those of such rival companies as Pike, Universal, and Moon-Hopkins. Burroughs also hired inventors who successfully modified its products over the years. The Patent Department maintained a collection of models, both of Burroughs inventions and of rival machines. A handful of Burroughs machines also were exhibited at the Smithsonian.
In the 1950s, Burroughs abandoned manufacture of full keyboard adding machines in favor of ten-key devices built on patents of the British Summit adding machine. Burroughs Corporation inventors devoted attention to electronic computers, but did not attempt to design electronic calculators. In 1963 it gave many of the models and machines from its Patent Department collection to the Smithsonian. The company merged with Sperry Rand Corporation in 1986 to form Unisys Corporation.
"Adding Machines - Full-Keyboard – Burroughs" showing 1 items.
- This full-keyboard electric adding machine has a gray-brown metal frame and nine columns of color-coded gray and tan plastic keys. The two rightmost columns are tan, the next three columns gray, the next column tan, the next two columns gray, and the final column, tan. One key in the second column from the right is gray rather than white. Complementary digits are indicated. Keys for odd digits are concave, while those for even ones are flat. The key stems underneath the keys have a small round hole. At the base of each column of keys is a smaller key. To the right of the number keys are rear, front, addition, and subtraction keys, and another small key.
- In front and in back of the keys is a row of ten number dials. The dials at the front are for individual totals, those in the back for grand totals. Pushing the addition or subtraction key adds or subtracts the amount shown in the lower dial from the total. There is no printing mechanism and no paper tape. An electric cord extends from the back of the machine.
- The machine is marked on the front: Burroughs. It is marked on the bottom at the front with the following serial number: B166508. It is marked on the back: Burroughs Calculator.
- This machine appears to be a more recent, electric form of the Burroughs calculator.
- Burroughs Adding Machine Company, Burroughs Electric Duplex Calculator, 1945 , Smithsonian Institution Libraries trade literature.
- Currently not on view
- date made
- Burroughs Adding Machine Company
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center