Layton's Arithmometer

In 1881 the English engineer Samuel Tate applied for a British patent for an improvement in the arithmometer invented by the Frenchman Charles Xavier Thomas. Tate’s machine was manufactured by the publishers C. & E. Layton of London, who made various improvements to it.
This stepped drum manually operated and non-printing calculating machine is one made by Layton. It has a brass top and metal mechanism and fits into a mahogany case. Eight levers are used to set digits, with a stepped drum below each lever. The plate that covers the drums and top of the machine has slits in it to allow these and other parts to move. The edges of the slits next to digit levers are numbered from 0 to 9 to indicate the digit entered. An ADD MULT / SUB DIV lever is left of the digit levers, but the machine has no windows to show the number set up. A crank on the right side operates the machine.
Behind the levers moves a carriage with a row of nine windows for the revolution register and a row of 16 windows for the result register. The discs in the revolution register have the digits from 1 to 8 in red and from 0 to 9 in black. The discs of the result register have only the digits from 0 to 9. Rotating the crank on the right side of the carriage zeroes these registers. A handle for lifting the carriage is on its left. Three brass decimal markers fit in holes between the levers and windows. Thumbscrews in the revolution and result registers can be used to set numbers. Handles at both ends of the case assist in lifting.
A mark toward the front of the machine, left of the digit levers, reads: C. & E.LAYTONS (/) ARITHMOMETER (/) LONDON. A mark below the operating handle reads; C.A. BAYNON (/) AGENT (/) NEW YORK. Stamped on the underside of the carriage on the left is the serial number: 1431.
C. & E. Layton sold arithmometers particularly to insurance companies. This example came to the Smithsonian from Colonial Life Insurance Company of New Jersey, a firm established in 1897.
Compare MA*311,953, MA*323657, MA*323629, and MA*333922.
Currently not on view
Object Name
calculating machine
date made
ca 1905
C. & E. Layton
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
wood (overall material)
steel (overall material)
overall: 16.5 cm x 63.5 cm x 19 cm; 6 1/2 in x 25 in x 7 15/32 in
place made
United Kingdom: England, London
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
maker number
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Calculating Machines
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center


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