Universal Model 5 Adding Machine

This full keyboard printing manually operated adding machine has a metal and glass case, with the metal painted black. The keyboard is covered with green felt. There are nine columns of black and white color-coded plastic number keys, with a red clearance key at the bottom of each column. Two of the clearance keys are missing. The key stems for the number keys are bent to ensure that the keys form columns. A button on the left clears the entire keyboard. There is also a lever to the right of the keyboard. When it is shifted up, the keyboard automatically zeros after addition. When it is shifted down, the keyboard remains set after an addition, so that the lever also serves as a repeat key. A crank in the right side of the machine drives it. Behind the keyboard are nine white numeral dials that show the result through glass windows in the case. When the repeat lever is shifted up, the clearance button is depressed and the operating crank is brought forward, and the total decreases (it seems likely that this is supposed to zero the adding wheels).
At the top of the machine is a printing mechanism, with a two-colored ribbon. The carriage is 33 cm. wide, 46 cm. with the handles. The eight platen positions are set manually by release levers at the top. This is a blind printing machine, with the paper or paper tape emerging at the top so that it is visible to the operator. It has a two-color ribbon. A bell on the carriage handle rings when one approaches the bottom of a piece of paper.
The machine is marked at the front: UNIVERSAL (/) ACCOUNTANT MACHINE CO. (/) St. LOUIS, MO. (/) PAT.APR.20,1897, PAT.NOV.28, 1899, PAT.JULY 24, 1900 (/) PATENTS APPLIED FOR. It is marked behind the keyboard, over the result dials: Universal. It is marked on paper behind the carriage: No UAM (/) CO 5.
Universal Accountant Machine Company was organized by 1898 and purchased by Burroughs Adding Machine Company in 1908. The model originally sold for $300, with electric drive $75 extra. It was introduced in about 1905. Burroughs discontinued production of the machine.
J. H. McCarthy, The American Digest of Business Machines, Chicago: American Exchange Service, 1924, p. 544.
E. Martin, The Calculating Machines (Die Rechenmaschinen), trans. P. A. Kidwell and M. R. Williams, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1992, p. 148.
The Universal Accountant Machine Company, “1905 Model” and “Universal Adding Machines,” Warshaw Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.
Currently not on view
Object Name
adding machine
date made
Universal Accountant Machine Company
Physical Description
plastic (overall material)
fabric (overall material)
glass (overall material)
steel (overall material)
rubber (overall material)
overall: 38 cm x 45 cm x 54 cm; 14 31/32 in x 17 23/32 in x 21 1/4 in
place made
United States: Missouri, St. Louis
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
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 Victor Comptometer Corporation
Additional Media

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