Millionaire Calculating Machine

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In the early 20th century, William A. Morschhauser of New York City became the exclusive American distributor of the Millionaire calculating machine. He placed machines at several United States government offices, including the Post Office Department. This is one example of these machines.
The lever-set, manual, non-printing, direct multiplication calculating machine has a brass mechanism and a metal case with lid. The lid and the flat plates that cover the mechanism are painted black. The carriage is entirely contained within the case. The ten German silver levers are pulled forward to enter numbers. To the left of these is a crank, which may be set anywhere between 0 and 9 for direct multiplication and division (this crank moves when the knob is pulled up). To the right of the digit levers is a lever that may be set at addition, multiplication, division, of subtraction. Right of it is the operating crank. In front of the levers is a row of ten windows that indicates the number set on the levers. This row of windows is labeled DIVISOR.
In front of this is the carriage, with two other rows of windows. The row closest to the levers (further from the front) indicates the multiplier or quotient, and the other row, the result or the dividend. The result windows are labeled “DIVIDEND” and may be set with a dividend using thumbscrews.
Zeroing knobs for both these registers are on the carriage. Holes for decimal markers are between digits on all three registers, along with a total of one surviving decimal marker. Between the front two registers, at the left, is a button used to shift the carriage. A paper sheet inside the lid gives instructions for operating the machine and related tables. The brush for cleaning the machine does not survive.
A mark on the top of the machine at the front reads: THE MILLIONAIRE. A metal tag to the right of this reads: Hans W. Egli (/) Ingenieur (/) Fabrikation von Rechenmaschinen (/) Pat. O. Steiger (/)ZURICH II. A metal tag on the left reads: W.A. Morschhauser (/) SOLE AGENT (/) 1 Madison Avenue (/) NEW YORK CITY. The serial number, stamped under the tag on the right front, is: No 832.
Compare MA.312818 and MA.312819.
Precise dating of Millionaire calculating machines is uncertain. Daniel Lewin has estimated that machines with serial number 500 date from 1900; those with serial number 1600, from 1905; and those with serial number 2800, from 1910. If this is accurate, machines with serial number in the 800s would date from well before 1905. The Spectator Company, a New York publisher of books on insurance and a distributor of calculating machines, advertised the Millionaire in 1903. Morschhauser is described as the distributor from at least 1905 onward, hence a rough date of 1904 for this machine.
Daniel Lewin, "Die Entwicklungsgeschichte der Rechenmaschinen der Firma H.W. Egli bis 1931" Typenkorb, Nr. 48 und 49, 1992.
The Insurance Year Book 1903–1904, New York: The Spectator Company, 1903, p. 28.
E. H. Beach, ed., Tools of Business: An Encyclopaedia of Office Equipment and Labor Saving Devices, Detroit: The Book-Keeper Publishing Co, 1905, pp. 14–15.
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1904
Egli, Hans W.
place made
Schweiz: Zürich, Zurich
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
paper (overall material)
overall: 17 cm x 77 cm x 28.6 cm; 6 11/16 in x 30 5/16 in x 11 1/4 in
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


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