Burroughs Payroll Segregator

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In the first half of the 20th century, many workers were paid in cash. Businessmen needed to know the coins and bills they would need to meet their payroll. This device, invented by John Magnus of Burroughs, was designed to carry out such calculations. It has seven columns of black and white color-coded plastic keys. The keys in each column are numbered from 1 to 9. The front of the machine has ten sets of numeral wheels labeled with denominations of money from 1 cent to $10. Knobs on the right zero the wheels.
A red paper tag attached to the object is marked: PATENT DEPT. (/) #45. The machine is marked on the front: BURROUGHS (/) PAY ROLL (/) SEGREGATOR. A metal tag attached to the base of the keyboard reads: B.A.M.CO. (/) MODEL (/) NO. 401.
Compare to 1982.0194.12.
According to the accession file, “This is the original model of Payroll Segregator from which the patent drawings were prepared . . .” The object was model #45 in the collection of the Patent Division of Burroughs Corporation.
John Magnus, “Adding Machine,” U.S. Patent 1,699,540, filed January 21, 1921, issued January 22, 1929.
Currently not on view
date made
Burroughs Adding Machine Company
place made
United States: Michigan, Detroit
Physical Description
glass (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
metal (overall material)
overall: 15.6 cm x 17.5 cm x 38.4 cm; 6 5/32 in x 6 7/8 in x 15 1/8 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Burroughs Corporation
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Adding Machines
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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