Burroughs Registering Accountant

This is a relatively early product of a company that would (under the name of Burroughs Adding Machine Company) come to dominate the market for adding machines in the United States.
A heavy full-keyboard printing manually operated adding machine, it has a metal frame painted black, and glass sides that reveal the metal mechanism. The dashpot is on the inside on the left. There are nine columns of color-coded black and white plastic keys. That is to say, the two leftmost columns are black for cents, the next column white for dollars, the next two columns black for tens and hundreds of dollars, the next column white for thousands of dollars, and so forth. The unlabeled metal key at the left front is used both to correct errors and in totaling. Another unlabeled metal key, on the right side, is used to repeat entries, as in multiplication by repeated addition. The keyboard is covered with green felt.
The machine is operated by bringing forward a metal crank with a wood handle. The register at the front of the machine toward the bottom has no number wheels. The printing mechanism at the back of the machine prints totals up to nine digits long. The carriage behind it is hinged at the bottom so that it can be swung open when the operator wishes to see the result (the machine is, to use the language of the day, blind printing). The carriage is 3 1/2” (8.7 cm.) wide. This machine lacks a ribbon and a paper tape. The object has four rubber feet. A metal key unlocks the cover.
The machine is marked on the front glass side: BURROUGHS’ (/) REGISTERING (/) ACCOUNTANT. It is marked on a metal plate screwed to the front of the machine below the keyboard: AMERICAN ARITHMOMETER CO. ST. LOUIS U.S.A. (/) OWNER OF PATENTS (/) PAT’D. A serial number tag is at the base of the machine, but no serial number is visible.
The machine appears to be earlier than MA* 323592, which is from 1903. It is from the collections of Felt & Tarrant Manufacturing Company, and was donated by the successor firm of Victor Comptometer Corporation.
Instructions for Operating the Burroughs Registering Accountant, pp. 5-6.
Currently not on view
date made
before 1903
American Arithmometer Company
place made
United States: Missouri, St. Louis
Physical Description
rubber (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
glass (overall material)
metal (overall material)
felt (overall material)
overall: 31.5 cm x 32 cm x 38 cm; 12 13/32 in x 12 19/32 in x 14 31/32 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Victor Comptometer Corporation
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Adding Machines
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center


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