Locke Adder

Description
The first American-made adder to enjoy modest commercial success was developed by Clarence E. Locke (1865-1945), a native of Edgerton, Wisconsin, who graduated from Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, in 1892. Locke worked for a time as a civil engineer in Minnesota, and then joined his father in operating a lumberyard in Kensett, Iowa.
This early version of the device has a wooden base with grooves for nine sliding metal rods that move crosswise. Each rod represents a digit of a number being added. Protruding knobs on the rods represent different numerals. The rods are held in place by a metal cover that extends over about a third of the right top, and by a metal bracket on the left side. When the device is in zero position, all the rods are in their rightmost position. Numbers are entered by sliding rods to the left, and the result appears in numbers immediately to the left of the metal cover. There is no carry mechanism. The cover is brown, not black or silver-colored as in later Locke adders.
The instrument is marked on the cover: C.E. LOCKE (/) MFG. Co. It is also marked: KENSETT, IOWA. [/] U.S.A. This example came to the Smithsonian from the collection of Felt & Tarrant Manufacturing Company (later Victor Comptometer Corporation).
References: Robert Otnes, “Sliding Bar Calculators,” ETCetera #11 (June 1990): pp. 6-8.
P. Kidwell, “Adders made and Used in the United States,” Rittenhouse, 8, (1994): pp. 78-96.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
adder
date made
1901
maker
C. E. Locke Manufacturing Company
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
wood (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 1.5 cm x 28.4 cm x 11.1 cm; 19/32 in x 11 3/16 in x 4 3/8 in
place made
United States: Iowa, Kensett
ID Number
MA*323620
catalog number
323620
accession number
250163
subject
Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Adder
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Adder
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Victor Comptometer Corporation

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