Science & Mathematics
The Museum's collections hold thousands of objects related to chemistry, biology, physics, astronomy, and other sciences. Instruments range from early American telescopes to lasers. Rare glassware and other artifacts from the laboratory of Joseph Priestley, the discoverer of oxygen, are among the scientific treasures here. A Gilbert chemistry set of about 1937 and other objects testify to the pleasures of amateur science. Artifacts also help illuminate the social and political history of biology and the roles of women and minorities in science.
The mathematics collection holds artifacts from slide rules and flash cards to code-breaking equipment. More than 1,000 models demonstrate some of the problems and principles of mathematics, and 80 abstract paintings by illustrator and cartoonist Crockett Johnson show his visual interpretations of mathematical theorems.
"Science & Mathematics - Overview" showing 1 items.
- This key-driven non-printing adding machine has a metal mechanism, steel keys with German silver and plastic key tops, and steel dials at the front that record the result. It is a production model of the Comptometer made by Felt & Tarrant Company of Chicago during its early years.
- The eight columns of keys have nine keys each. Celluloid discs in the key tops are color-coded to mark off dollars and cents. Complementary digits are indicated on the discs, to aid in subtraction. The key tops are alternately concave (odd digits) and flat (even digits). There is a spring around each key stem. Eight levers above the dials serve as decimal markers. Nine windows at the front of the machine reveal the result.
- A metal piece to the left of each “1” key is moved to prevent carrying when the complementary digits are used for subtraction. Depressing a lever on the right side of the machine allows one to turn a nearby knob and zero the number dials.
- The serial number, indicated in the front center of the machine under the decimal markers, is 1876. A second mark, on a metal tag screwed to the machine in back of the keyboard, reads: TRADE COMPTOMETER MARK (/) PAT’D (/) JUL.19.87 JUN. 11. 89. (/) OCT.11.87 NOV.25.90 (/) JAN.8.89 DEC.15.91. (/) Felt & Tarrant Mfg. Co. (/) CHICAGO.
- This machine was transferred to the Smithsonian from the U.S. Geological Survey in 1908.
- 1991.3107.06 (Catalog of the Felt & Tarrant collection).
- Currently not on view
- date made
- Felt & Tarrant Manufacturing Company
- ID Number
- maker number
- catalog number
- accession number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center