Orth Game Counter, U.S. Patent Office Model

Description
This U.S. Patent Office model consists of four instruments similar to a Russian abacus. Each has a rectangular open wooden box, with metal rods that extend across the box and carry differing numbers of wooden beads. Wooden pieces divide the box into two or more compartments. Across the middle of each compartment is a flexible spring. Beads may be moved easily over the spring, but retain their position once moved. Two of the counters are specifically for use with games, one with two players and one with six. Another is divided into two sections for counting dollars and cents. The five rods in this device are numbered 0, 10, 100, 1000 and 10,000. The fourth counter has no wooden divider, and is intended for tallying from 0 to 99999.
A mark on all four parts reads: UNIVERSAL TALLY MFG. Co. A second mark on all four parts reads: WILLIAMSPORT, PA. The first two counters have a mark that reads: RECORD OF GAME. The third part is marked: DOLLARS (/) CENTS. A mark on the final part reads: TALLY.
According to the 1880 U.S. Census, Phillip Orth was born in Germany in about 1847. By 1880 he was living in Williamsport, Pa., with his wife and two sons. He worked as a bookkeeper.
References:
Philip Orth, “Improvement in Game-Counters,” U.S. Patent 203,189, April 30, 1878.
U.S. Census, 1880.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
game counter
date made
1878
patentee
Orth, Philip
maker
Orth, Philip
Universal Tally Manufacturing Company
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
metal (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 7.5 cm x 26 cm x 13.2 cm; 2 15/16 in x 10 1/4 in x 5 3/16 in
place made
United States: Pennsylvania, Williamsport
place patented
United States: Pennsylvania, Williamsport
ID Number
MA*309320
accession number
89797
catalog number
309320
subject
Games
Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Counters
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Counters
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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