Lang Sales Register

This small device has a tin case painted yellow and green on top and red around the edge. The top of the case has four wheels drawn on it, each of which has the digits from 1 to 9 drawn around the edge. The digits go clockwise for the first and third circles (marked “Cents” and “Dollars” and counterclockwise for the second and fourth circles (marked “Dimes” and “Dollars”). At the top of each circle, at the zero position, is a window that reveals a rotating disc below. The discs are rotated using thumbscrews that protrude from the back of the instrument. An arm on top of each circle points to a digit on the wheel. The discs advance when they are rotated in the direction of increasing digits and remain fixed when the arrows are moved back to zero.
The machine is marked on the front: SALES REGISTER. It is also marked there: E.J. HOADLEY (/) MANUFACTURER OF SPECIALTIES IN CONFECTIONERY. HARTFORD, CONN, U.S.A..
The Brooklyn City directory for the year ending May 1, 1890 lists ten men named William Lang. It seems likely that the William Lang who took out this patent was the William Lang who founded William Lang Company of Brooklyn and who patented a wide range of goods, including a speed-indicator, a curtain-pole ring, a box fastener, a watch case, coin-controlled vending apparatus, a pocket lighter and, with his son William A. Lang, a tuning-peg.
U.S. Patent 431365, July 1, 1890. The patent indicates that a model was submitted.
Currently not on view
Object Name
adding machine
date made
Lang, William
Physical Description
tin (overall material)
brass (overall material)
overall: 2.2 cm x 17.8 cm x 7.6 cm; 7/8 in x 7 in x 3 in
place made
United States: New York, Brooklyn
place patented
United States: New York, Brooklyn
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Science & Mathematics
Adding Machines
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Adding Machines
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Additional Media

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