Burroughs Calculator Sample, Elapsed Day And Month

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 one of them, designed to measure elapsed days and months.
This machine has a black metal cover and five columns of plastic keys. The leftmost column has black keys numbered from 1 to 9. The second column has nine red keys on which months are indicated. The adjacent middle column has two additional months noted (there is no “JAN” key). There also are three numeral keys in this column. The two rightmost columns have numeral keys running from 1 to 9. Complementary numbers and months are indicated. Six windows at the front of the machine display results. The a metal and wooden handle is on the right side. The cloth cover is painted black.
A red paper tag attached to the machine reads: PATENT DEPT. (/) #231. The machine is marked on the front: Burroughs. A white tag attached to the machine is marked in part: Elapsed day & month. A metal tag attached to the object reads: DONATED TO (/) The Smithsonian Institution (/) by (/) Burroughs Corporation.
Objects 1982.0794.47, 1982.0794.48,1987.0794.49, and 1982.0794.89 are all from Burroughs Patent Department Model 231.
Currently not on view
Object Name
adding machine
date made
ca 1920
Burroughs Adding Machine Company
Physical Description
plastic (overall material)
paper (overall material)
wood (overall material)
metal (overall material)
cloth (overall material)
overall: 13 cm x 20 cm x 29.2 cm; 5 1/8 in x 7 7/8 in x 11 1/2 in
place made
United States: Michigan, Detroit
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
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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