Marchant Model ACT10M Calculating Machine

This full-keyboard, non-printing electric proportional gear calculating machine has a metal case painted black and ten columns of green and white color-coded plastic keys. There is a red tabulator set key at the bottom of each column. These keys are numbered from 1 on the right to 10 on the left. The underlying keyboard is gold. Between banks of keys are rotating metal rods for decimal markers.
Right of the number keys are auto divide and stop keys, subtraction and addition bars, shift keys for use in multiplication, and a reverse key. In front of these are clearance keys for the tab set and the dials. Right of these is a column of ten keys for automatic multiplication and two carriage shift keys. Above the number keys is a row of ten windows to show a number set up (the decimal markers extend from between the number keys to between these windows).
Behind the entry register is a movable carriage with an 20-window result register and an 11-window revolution register. The registers on the carriage have sliding decimal markers. The motor is at the back of the machine, inside the case. Numbers are represented by the rotation of sets of gears on three shafts under the carriage. The machine sits on a stand (1988.0313.02) and has a black rubber cord.
A mark on the back of the machine reads: MARCHANT. A mark on the bottom reads: ACT10M-186265. A property tag at the front reads: PROPERTY OF (/) ESSA (/) 132015. A tag at the back reads: NATIONAL BUREAU OF STANDARDS (/) 510780.
In July 1966, part of the National Bureau of Standards merged with the Coast & Geodetic Survey and the Weather Bureau to form the Environmental Science Services Administration. In 1970, the activities of the ESSA were transferred to the newly extablished National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, which was part of the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (formerly NBS). This machine was transferred to the Smithsonian by NOAA.
Compare to Harold T. Avery’s 1940 U.S. patents 2,216,659, 2,211,736, and 2,217,195. See SCM Collection for related trade literature. The model ACT10M apparently was produced from 1940 until 1948.
“Operating Instructions Marchant Calculators,” Oakland: Marchant Calculating Machine Company, 1942 (1979.3084.106).
“Model ACT-10M,” Oakland: Marchant Calculators, Inc., Form AC-4 (1979.3084.107.2)
Currently not on view
Object Name
calculating machine
date made
ca 1942
Marchant Calculating Machine Company, Inc.
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
overall: 21.8 cm x 38.4 cm x 37 cm; 8 19/32 in x 15 1/8 in x 14 9/16 in
place made
United States: California, Oakland
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
Transfer from US National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration
Additional Media

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