Marchant Model A Standard Calculating Machine

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On February 23, 1911, Rodney H. Marchant of Oakland, California applied for a patent for an improvement in calculating machines. The machine he envisioned was a pinwheel device, with a superior carriage to that of the Odhner, Brunsviga, and Dactyle calculating machines. R. H. Marchant soon joined with his brother to manufacture machines under the name of Marchant Brothers. In 1913, the Marchant Calculating Machine Company took over the assets of Marchant Brothers and began a systematic campaign to sell its machines, particularly in the western United States. This is an example of a relatively early machine, manufactured under 1911 and 1916 patents of R. H. Marchant.
The lever-set non-printing pinwheel machine has a black steel housing, a wooden base, and a black metal case. Nine levers rotate to set the pinwheels, with color-coded numbers marked on the spaces between them. A bar in front of the levers can be shifted to assist in zeroing them. A steel crank with a wooden handle that extends from 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 is a movable carriage with 13 windows that show dials of the result register on the right and eight windows for the revolution register on the left. The revolution register has no carry mechanism. The digits in this register are white for additions and red for subtractions. Decimal markers slide above both the registers on the carriage. A lever at the bottom front of the machine is depressed to allow shifting of the carriage. Wing nuts at the ends of the carriage zero the registers on it. A bell on the left end of the carriage rings when the result passes through zero.
The metal case fits over the machine and its wooden base, with a key at the front and four rubber feet. The machine and base are separated by a layer of felt, as on other pinwheel machines. The screws holding the machine to the base are missing.
A mark on a metal tag attached to the front of the machine reads: The (/) Marchant (/) MANUFACTURED BY (/) MARCHANT CALCULATING (/) MACHINE CO., Inc. (/) OAKLAND, CAL. (/) PATENTED JUNE 6. 1911 (/) FEB. 22. 1916. A mark scratched on the back of the machine reads: 2056. A mark on the back of the carriage at the left reads: 306. A mark on the case reads: MARCHANT (/) OAKLAND, CAL.
Compare Marchant calculating machines 311952 (different shift control from 323602, Pony size), 314637 (different shift control from 323602), 323602, and 335268. Also compare these machines to Brunsviga machines 313426, 315904, etc.
This example of a Marchant calculating machine is from the collection of Felt & Tarrant Manufacturing Company.
R. H. Marchant, "Calculating-Machine," U.S. Patent 994,414, June 6, 1911.
R. H. Marchant, "Calculating-Machine," U.S. Patent 1,172,817, February 22, 1916. Marchant filed for this patent in 1914.
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1917
Marchant Calculating Machine Company, Inc.
place made
United States: California, Oakland
Physical Description
steel (overall material)
wood (overall material)
rubber (overall material)
felt (overall material)
iron (overall material)
overall: 16 cm x 41 cm x 21.5 cm; 6 5/16 in x 16 5/32 in x 8 15/32 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
maker number
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, Kenneth E. Behring Center


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