Brunsviga Model C Calculating Machine

In 1892 the German firm of Grimme, Natalis & Company in Braunschweig, which had specialized in sewing machines, purchased the rights to manufacture pinwheel calculating machines on the design of the Swede W. T. Odhner. Under the leadership of the engineer Franz Trinks, they began manufacturing and improving a machine called the Brunsviga. This is a relatively early example.
The lever-set non-printing manually operated machine has a brass and steel mechanism and a metal frame, painted black, with an iron base. Seven slots in the front have levers moved forward to release pins on pinwheels below and set a number. A brass crank with a wooden handle on the right side of the machine rotates backward (clockwise) for addition and multiplication and forward (counterclockwise) for subtraction and division.
At the front of the machine, a movable carriage carries ten windows that show dials of the result register on the right and eight windows for the revolution register on the left. Holes for decimal markers above the registers presently contain no markers. Depressing a lever at the front of the machine releases the carriage for shifting. An arrow on the left of the cover of the machine points to the wheel of the revolution counter that will be affected by turning the crank when the carriage is in any one position. Rotating wing nuts at the ends of the carriage zeros the registers on it.
Marks on the top of the machine read: BRUNSVIGA, and: No1750. A mark at the top of a list of patents on the left side of the machine reads: Grimme, Natalis & Co.(/) Braunschweig - Brunswick (/) Patente:W.T. Odhner. The patents are from Germany, Belgium, England, Austria, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Hungary, Russia (no number), Luxembourg (no number), and the United States (no number).
This machine came to the Smithsonian from the personal collection of Brooklyn high school teacher L. Leland Locke.
E. Martin, The Calculating Machines (Die Rechenmaschinen), trans. P. A. Kidwell and M. R. Williams, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1992, pp. 109–113.
E. Anthes, “Zur Datierung von Brunsviga-Rechenmaschinen, Leertaste, Nr. 6, August, 1982.
F. Schellstede, “Brunsviga. Produktionxzahlen, Absatzzahlen, Werbung. Versuch einer kurzen geschichtlichen Darstellung,” Kassel, 1990.
“Sixty Years of Brunsviga,” Business Equipment Topics vol. 80 (April, 1932), p. 46.
Currently not on view
Object Name
calculating machine
date made
ca 1898
Grimme, Natalis & Co.
Physical Description
steel (overall material)
brass (overall material)
wood (overall material)
overall: 12 cm x 29.6 cm x 15.4 cm; 4 23/32 in x 11 21/32 in x 6 1/16 in
place made
Deutschland: Niedersachsen, Braunschweig
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
maker number
Science & Mathematics
Calculating Machines
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Calculating Machines
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of L. Leland Locke
Additional Media

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