Mudd's Tax Calculator

Doing the calculations associated with tax collection has inspired inventors from at least the 1600s, when the French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal invented an adding machine for that purpose. In 1879 Robert Levin Mudd (1837–1910), the county clerk in Bond County, Illinois, patented this tax calculator. It has sliding tables for calculating the tax due on property worth up to $10,000, at rates of 3 cents, 5 cents, and 25 cents per $100 value. Other columns give the total tax due if assessments are made at several rates for different projects. The instrument folds and fits neatly into a wooden case. This example is incomplete. Compare to U. S. patent 213234, dated March 11, 1879.
Currently not on view
Object Name
mathematical table
date made
Mudd, Robert Levin
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
paper (overall material)
metal (overall material)
leather (overall material)
overall: 10.5 cm x 58.2 cm x 51.4 cm; 4 1/8 in x 22 29/32 in x 20 1/4 in
place made
United States: Illinois, Bond
ID Number
nonaccession number
catalog number
Science & Mathematics
Mathematical Charts and Tables
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Mathematical Charts and Tables
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Michael Lawrence
Additional Media

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