Calculating Machines

An image featuring several calculating machines from the collection.


The Science Museum in London, the CNAM in Paris, the Deutches Museum in Munich, and the Arithmeum in Bonn  have extensive collections of calculating machines. Further collections are at the Heinz Nixdorf MuseumsForum in Paderborn, the Computer History Museum, Numerous other examples are scattered in museums around the world and in private collections.

Printed Materials

Aspray, William, ed. Computing before Computers, Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1990.

Baxandall, D. updated by Jane Pugh, Cataogue of the Collections in the Science Museum: Calculating Machines and Instruments,London: Science Museum, 1975.

Beauclair, W. de. Rechnen mit Maschinen: Eine Bildgeschicte der Rechentechnik, Braunschweig: Griedr. Vieweg & Sohn.

Cortada, James W. Before the Computer: IBM, NCR, Burroughs, & Remington Rand & the Industry They Created 1865-1956, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993.

Graef, Martin, ed. 350 Jahre Rechenmaschinen, Munich: Carl Hanser Verlag, 1973.

Kidwell, Peggy A., “Ethnicity and Invention: the Calculating Machine of Ramon Verea,” Rittenhouse, 1995, 9: 33-41.

Kidwell, Peggy A., American Scientists and Calculating Machines: From Novelty to Commonplace, Annals of the History of Computing, 1990, 12: 31-40.

Marguin, Jean. Histoire des Instrument et Machines à Calculer, Paris: Hermann, 1994.

Martin, Ernst, The Calculating Machines (Die Rechenmaschinen), trans. P.A. Kidwell and M.R. Williams, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1992. The original edition appeared in 1925, with a second edition, with supplement, around 1937.  A German reprint appeared in 1986. Ernst Martin was a pseudonym used by the publisher of the 1925 edition, J. Meyer.

McCarthy, J. H.  The American Digest of Business Machines, Chicago:  American Exchange Service, 1924.

Lindgren, Michael, Glory and Failure: The Difference Engines of Johann Mueller, Charles Babbage and Georg and Edvard Scheutz, trans. Craig G. McKay.  Linkoping, Sweden:  Linkoping University, 1987.  Reprinted by MIT Press, 1990.

Merzbach, Uta C., Georg Scheutz and the First Printing Calculator, Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1977.

Russo, Thomas A. Antique Office Machines: 600 Years of Calculating Devices, Altgen, Pa: Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 2001.

Swade, Doron, The Difference Engine: Charles Babbage and the Quest to Build the First Computer, New York: Viking, 2000.


In addition to general websites of museums, a few of the many websites offering useful information about calculating machines are:, a web site that especially emphasizes arithmometers.

Early Office Museum at:

John Wolff’s Web Museum at:

The Rechenmaschinen Illustrated web site at:

Rechnerlexikon: Die große Enzyklopädie des mechanischen Rechnens at Much of this site is in German.