Bookkeeping Machines
National

A representative sample from the bookkeeping machines collection in the Division of Medicine and Science.

In 1902 St. Louis patent attorney Halcolm Ellis and mechanical engineer Nathan W. Perkins, Jr. took out a patent for an adding machine. Ellis then patented a combination adding machine and typewriter, and tried to manufacture it in Massachusetts. When his funds dried up, he returned to St. Louis and organized the Ellis Adding-Typewriter Company. The firm soon moved to New Jersey, with Perkins managing the company’s engineering division. By 1911, it was selling the Ellis adding typewriter.

The Inventions Department at National Cash Register Company developed the firm’s first bookkeeping machine, the NCR Class 2000. It went on the market in the early 1920s. While some customers used it, the machine lacked a typewriter that could describe transactions in detail. In 1928 NCR purchased rights to the Ellis adding typewriter.  It soon introduced the successful Class 3000 bookkeeping machine.

NCR expanded its offerings in 1943, when it purchased the Allen Wales Company in 1943.  Allen Wales offered a much less expensive bookkeeping machine, as well as an adding machine. Modifications of these machines would sell even after the introduction of NCR’s first electronic accounting machines in the mid-1950s.