Burroughs Pay Roll Segregator

In the first half of the 20th century, many workers were paid in cash. Businessmen needed to know the coins and bills they would need to meet their payroll. This device, invented by John Magnus of Burroughs, was designed to carry out such calculations.
The metal machine is painted black and green and has seven columns of round black and white color-coded plastic keys. The keys in each column are numbered from 1 to 9. The front of the machine has ten sets of numeral wheels labeled with denominations of money from 1 cent to $20. The key stems of the machine extend to the underside, and are covered on that end by round red plastic keys with no numbers on them. This form of the device could be placed atop the keys of an adding machine, which would record both the individual coins needed and totals. There are zeroing knobs on the right side. The machine has a black cover and a loose rod.
A red paper tag attached to the object reads: PATENT DEPT. (/) #46. The machine is marked on the front: Burroughs (/) PAY ROLL (/) SEGREGATOR. A tag on the machine reads: NO 25. A metal tag attached to the object reads: DONATED TO (/) The Smithsonian Institution (/) by (/) Burroughs Corporation.
Compare to 1982.0794.11. A letter in the accession file reports that “The Segregator machines were of extremely low volume production.”
It was model #46 in the collection of the Patent Division of Burroughs Corporation.
John Magnus, “Adding Machine,” U.S. Patent 1,699,540, filed January 21, 1921, issued January 22, 1929.
Accession file 1982.0794.
Currently not on view
Object Name
adding machine
date made
Burroughs Adding Machine Company
Physical Description
plastic (overall material)
glass (overall material)
cloth (overall material)
metal (overall material)
overall: 16 cm x 19.5 cm x 40 cm; 6 5/16 in x 7 11/16 in x 15 3/4 in
place made
United States: Michigan, Detroit
ID Number
catalog number
accession 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
Credit Line
Gift of Burroughs Corporation
Additional Media

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