Burkhardt Arithmometer Model E

In 1878 a German firm in Glashütte began making a stepped drum calculating machine with modifications on the design of the engineer Arthur Burkhardt. The company made various improvements in its products over the years. In 1920, not long after Burkhardt’s death, this firm merged with a company in the same city to form Vereinigte Glashütter, the manufacturers of this machine.
The stepped drum, manually operated, non-printing calculating machine has ten levers covered with black and white plastic tops (one top is missing), which are moved upward to set a number. The number entered appears in a row of ten discs above the levers. Four levers do not reset to zero. Left of the levers is a key stem for addition and multiplication and another for subtraction and division. The second key stem has no top. At the front of the machine on the right is a round stem with no key on it.
A crank on the top of the machine at the right has a wooden handle and is rotated clockwise to calculate. Behind the levers is a movable carriage with a row of nine small discs in the revolution register and a row of 16 larger discs in the result register. Zeroing levers for both of these registers are on the right of the carriage. Thin metal rods carry decimal markers for each register. The bottom of the machine has a hard rubber panel and one (of an earlier four) rubber foot.
Marks on the front of the machine, on the left top, and in back read: BURKHARDT-ARITHMOMETER. A mark on the carriage reads: MODELL “E”. Stenciled in paint on the bottom is the mark: MADE IN GERMANY. Engraved on the back edge of the carriage on the right side is the mark: 12108 9564W. A mark below the levers on the front of the machine reads: VEREINIGTE GLASHÜTTER RECHENMASCHINENFABRIKEN - GLASHÜTTE i/SA.
This machine came to the Smithsonian from the collection of Felt & Tarrant Manufacturing Company.
Compare MA.313158, MA.313519, MA.323624 and MA.323597.
E. Martin, The Calculating Machines (Die Rechenmaschinen), trans. P. A. Kidwell and M. R. Williams, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1992, pp. 78–82.
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1925
Vereinigte Glashuetter Rechenmachinenfabriken
place made
Deutschland: Sachsen, Glashütte
Physical Description
steel (overall material)
brass (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
rubber (overall material)
overall: 15.2 cm x 56.8 cm x 15.2 cm; 5 31/32 in x 22 3/8 in x 5 31/32 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
maker number
12108 9564W
Credit Line
Gift of Victor Comptometer Corporation
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Calculating Machines
Data Source
National Museum of American History