Burroughs Sample Calculator, Sterling Pence

In 1911 the Burroughs Adding Machine Company introduced a key-driven adding machine much like the Comptometer made by Felt & Tarrant Manufacturing Company. The Burroughs calculator, as the new machine was called, performed ordinary decimal arithmetic. Burroughs inventors soon designed special versions of the calculator to solve other problems. This is the model or sample for a machine for British currency.
This machine has six columns of keys with nine octagonal plastic keys in each column. Odd keys are convex and even keys, flat. The rightmost column of keys is numbered from 1 to 9, with complementary numbers so that the numbers on one key add up to 11 (e.g., 4 and 7). These keys are black . To the left of this is a column of white keys, with the usual complementary digits. Left of this is another column of white keys, all numbered 1 with 0. Left of this column are two columns of black keys, numbered from 1 to 9 with the usual complements. The leftmost column has black keys, numbered 1 to 9 with complements so that the total of numbers on any one key is 11 (e.g. 4 and 7).
The total appears in a row of number wheels at the front which are visible through windows in the case. The cloth cover is painted black.
A metal tag attached to the object reads: DONATED TO (/) The Smithsonian Institution (/) by (/) Burroughs Corporation.
Models 1982.0794.44, 1982.0794.45, and 1982.0792.46 are all from model 230 in the collection of the Patent Division of Burroughs Corporation.
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1920
Burroughs Adding Machine Company
place made
United States: Michigan, Detroit
Physical Description
plastic (overall material)
paper (overall material)
cloth (overall material)
metal (overall material)
overall: 12.7 cm x 16 cm x 28.5 cm; 5 in x 6 5/16 in x 11 7/32 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Burroughs Corporation
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Adding Machines
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center


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