Tate'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. This stepped drum manual non-printing calculating machine is built on Tate’s 1884 patent. The brass top and metal mechanism fit into a wooden case.
Eight levers are used to set digits. An ADD MULT / SUB DIV lever is left of these levers. the machine has no windows for showing the number set up. The operating crank is on the right. Below it is a lever for zeroing the entry.
Behind the entry levers is a movable carriage with a row of nine windows for the revolution register and a row of 16 windows for the result register. The zeroing crank for these registers is on the right side of the carriage. A handle for lifting the carriage is on its left.
Digits in each window of the revolution register run from 0 to 9 and 8 to 1. This register has no no carry. The carriage has holes for decimal markers, but no decimal markers. Thumbscrews allow one to set numbers in the revolution and result registers. When the entry in the result register would become negative (as it might in subtraction or division), a bell rings. It rings again if a number is added so the result is once again zero or positive. The stepped drums are of brass.
A chart of decimal equivalents of British currency is glued into the inside of the lid. There is a key. Handles at both ends of the case assist in lifting.
A mark to the left of the digit levers reads: TATE’S (/) PATENT (/) ARITHMOMETER (/) C. & E. LAYTON (/) LONDON. A nearby mark reads: C.A. BAYNON (/) AGENT (/) NEW YORK. An engraved mark on the inside of the machine, below the carriage on the left side, reads: 140. This might be the serial number.
This example is from the collection of L. Leland Locke.
Compare MA*311,953, MA*323657, MA*323629, and MA*333922.
S. Tate, "Improvements in Calculating Machines or Arithmometers," British Patent 1884 No. 65, January 1 & September 12, 1884.
Currently not on view
Object Name
calculating machine
date made
ca 1895
C. & E. Layton
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
steel (overall material)
wood (overall material)
overall: 17.8 cm x 66 cm x 24.7 cm; 7 in x 25 31/32 in x 9 23/32 in
place made
United Kingdom: England, London
ID Number
catalog number
accession 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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