Atkinson Counting Register, U.S. Patent Office Model

This roughly built wooden and metal device is the U.S. patent model for a counter patented by Alexander P. Atkinson of Vermont, Ill., on November 7, 1871. It has an open wooden frame, with a window at the front for viewing the registering wheels. The three wheels are mounted on a crosswise shaft, along with a fourth wheel, which drives the others. Lowering a crank on the right side of the frame moves the driving wheel and the rightmost registering wheel one unit back. Returning the crank upright moves the driving but not the registering wheel.
The wheels are wooden. The registering wheels are covered with paper bands around the edge which have the digits marked from 0 to 9. Screws are used as gear teeth in much of the mechanism. The device carries. According to the patent, the machine was intended for use in counting the number of bushels or other measures of grain that passed a given point.
A mark on the front above the window reads: A.P. Atkinson (/) Vermont (/) Ill’s.
Alexander P. Atkinson (1840-1906) lived in Vermont, Ill., and founded the Vermont Loan and Building Association in 1889. He remained President of that bank into the 20th century.
Alexander P. Atkinson, “Improvement in Counting-Registers,” U.S. Patent 120,609, November 7, 1871.
J. S. McCullough, Twelfth Annual Report of the Condition of Building, Loan and Homestead Associations Doing Business in Illinois, Springfield, Illinois: Phillips Brothers, 1903, p. 307.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Atkinson, Alexander P.
Atkinson, Alexander P.
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
paper (overall material)
metal (overall material)
overall: 10 cm x 17.5 cm x 15.4 cm; 3 15/16 in x 6 7/8 in x 6 1/16 in
place made
United States: Illinois, Vermont
place patented
United States: Illinois, Vermont
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Science & Mathematics
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Additional Media

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