The Controller Calculating Machine

This is an incomplete version of a key set, non-printing stepped drum calculating machine sold by the short-lived Controller Company of New York City. The machine has a metal base and carriage painted black and a metal keyboard painted green. The side pieces are missing.
The machine has eight columns of white plastic keys, with the keys in each column numbered 1 to 9. Behind the keyboard is a row of eight windows that shows the number set up. One sliding decimal marker is above this register. To the right of the keyboard is an plate that rotates to set the machine for addition or multiplication. Above this plate is the operating crank. To the left of the keyboard are two levers that may relate to division. The mechanism of the machine includes a row of stepped drums on shafts.
At the back of the machine is a movable carriage with two rows of metal discs mounted horizontally. The front row, with nine discs, is the revolution register and the back row, with 16 discs, the result register. A row of knobs above the result register allow one to set up numbers there. Two decimal markers covered with red rubber slide above the revolution register and one above the result register. Zeroing bars for these registers extend from the right side of the carriage, and a knob for lifting it is on the left. A bell rings when the result passes through zero.
The serial number, marked on the front edge of the carriage on the left and the back left of the machine under the carriage, is 101. A mark on the carriage on the right reads: “The Controller”. Painted on the left side of the carriage is: 27-65. A mark stamped on a metal piece under the operating crank reads: Add. (/) Mult.
For related objects, see non-accession 1983.3003.
This machine is from the collection L. Leland Locke displayed at the Museums of the Peaceful Arts in New York City.
"Meetings and Elections (advertisements)," New York Times, January 29, 1919, p. 15; February 4,1919, p. 18; and February 3, 1920, p. 27.
Currently not on view
Object Name
calculating machine
date made
ca 1920
Controller Company
Physical Description
plastic (overall material)
metal (overall material)
wood (overall material)
rubber (overall material)
overall: 25 cm x 45.3 cm x 32 cm; 9 27/32 in x 17 27/32 in x 12 19/32 in
place made
United States: New York, New York
ID Number
catalog number
maker number
accession number
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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