Friden Model C 10 Calculating Machine

The Swedish-born inventor Carl Friden was stranded in Australia during World War I and then, on his way back to Sweden, decided to settle in California. He found a place at the Marchant Calculating Machine Company, taking out several patents for machines manufactured there. By 1933, he had decided to start his own company. The Friden models A and B appeared in 1934. In 1936 the young company introduced this machine, the model C. It was sold in two sizes, one which allowed entry of numbers up to eight digits long (the C 8) and one allowing ten-digit entries (the C 10). This is a later version of the model C 10, introduced in about 1941.
The full-keyboard, electric non-printing stepped drum calculating machine has a metal frame painted gray-brown. The ten columns of color-coded light green and blue-green plastic number keys have a blank green clearance key at the bottom of each column. Metal rods between the columns of keys turn to indicate decimal places. On the right are function keys, including a RETURN (/) CLEAR key. This key is not found on the earlier model C10, such as object 1982.243.01. The machine has no special keys for multiplication.
Behind the number keys is a movable carriage with an 11-digit revolution register and a 21-digit result register. The result register has green plastic buttons above it that rotate to set up numbers. Under the revolution register are further numbered buttons. Zeroing knobs for the registers are on the right of the carriage. Decimal markers slide between the registers on the carriage. The result register also has a sliding marker to cover over a digit. A cord comes out of the back of the machine (it is not a separate part). The machine has strips of metal around the corners, as on later Friden calculating machines.
A mark on the bottom reads: C10-53041. A mark on the sides reads: FRIDEN. A metal tag attached to the right side reads: U.S.NAVY BU.ORDNANCE (/) CONTRACT N ORD. (F) 1236 (/) SY.-SER.NO. (/) IV E B K. A mark painted on right side reads: C810 (/) USN. A paper sticker attached to right side reads: APL/JHU (/) Controller (/) Group (/) 1975 (/) INVENTORY
Compare 1982.0243.01.
The mark on this machine indicates that it, along with MA*335427, was used at the Applied Physics Laboratory of Johns Hopkins University.
The donor dated this machine to 1946 and said that the initial price was $405. The date 1944 is from Jorgenson
E. Jorgenson, Friden Age List, Office Machine Americana, p. 2.
Accession File.
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1944
Friden Calculating Machine Company
place made
United States: California, San Leandro
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
rubber (overall material)
overall: 20.5 cm x 45.5 cm x 34 cm; 8 1/16 in x 17 29/32 in x 13 3/8 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
maker number
C10 53041
Credit Line
Gift of William L. Jackson
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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