Commodore 201 Adding Machine

By the 1960s most adding machines on the market had ten keys and printed results. Often they were manufactured overseas. This ten-key, printing adding machine was made in Japan and imported by Commodore, a firm then based in Toronto. It has nine digit keys, a slightly larger digit bar, and keys marked with two vertical lines and with three vertical lines. It also has four function keys right of the digit keys and what appears to be a place value lever on the left, with a mechanical display of the place value above this.
Behind the keyboard at the back of the machine is a paper tape holder with a paper tape, a printing mechanism, and a two-colored ribbon. A rubber cord fits in the back of the machine and there is a plastic cover. At the front of the machine is a metal carrying handle.
A mark on the top reads: commodore. A tag on the bottom reads: commodore 201 (/) No 22742. The tag also reads: COMMODORE BUSINESSS MACHINES INC. MADE IN JAPAN. A mark on the cord reads: KAWASAKI.
Commodore Business Machines was incorporated in Toronto in 1955 under the direction of Jack Tramiel, a Holocaust survivor who had spent some years in the United States. The company initially distributed typewriters and came to sell electronic calculators and then personal computers. Commodore adding machines were advertised in American newspapers as early as 1962 and as late as 1972 (by this time they faced severe competition from electronic calculators). The Commodore 202, which is quite similar to this model, was advertised in 1968 as “all new.”
Pine, D., “Jack Tramiel, Founder of Commodore Computers, Lodz Survivor, Dies at 83,” The Jewish News Weekly of Northern California, 116 #16, April 20, 2012.
Los Angeles Times, January 21, 1968, p. C87. This is one of many advertisements found through the ProQuest database. It is for the Commodore Model 202.
Currently not on view
Object Name
adding machine
date made
ca 1968
Commodore Business Machines, Inc.
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
rubber (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
overall: 16 cm x 19 cm x 32 cm; 6 5/16 in x 7 15/32 in x 12 19/32 in
place made
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Computers & Business Machines
Science & Mathematics
Adding Machines
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Adding Machines
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Jack A. Strahs
Additional Media

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