Millionaire Calculating Machine

This lever-set ,manually operated non-printing 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 machine carries out direct multiplication.
Ten German silver levers are pulled forward to set up numbers. A crank left of these may be set anywhere between 0 and 9 for direct multiplication and division. A lever right of the digit levers may be set at addition, multiplication, division, or subtraction. Right of it is the operating crank. A row of ten windows in front of the levers shows the number set on the levers. It 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. The other row shows the result or the dividend. The result windows are labeled DIVIDEND and may be set with a dividend using thumbscrews. The carriage has zeroing knobs for both these registers. Holes for decimal markers are between the digits of all three registers. Between the front two registers, at left, is a button used to shift the carriage. A bell rings if the number in the result window changes sign (as when subtraction produces a negative number).
A paper sheet inside the lid gives instructions for operating the machine and related tables, along with a cleaning brush and key. The stand is stored separately.
A mark on the middle of the front of the machine reads: THE MILLIONAIRE. A metal tag on the right 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. Just under this tag is stamped the serial number: No 2609. A mark on the carriage next to the result register reads: PTD MAY 7TH 1895. SEPT. 17TH 1895. Scratched in the middle of the front of the machine is the mark: FOR PARTS ONLY.
For related documentation see MA*319929.03 through MA*319929.07.
Daniel Lewin has estimated that Millionaire calculating machines with serial number 1600 date from 1905, and those with serial number 2800, from 1910. Hence the rough date of 1909 is assigned to the object.
This calculating machine was used by the physicist William F. Meggars of the United States National Bureau of Standards.
P. A. Kidwell, “American Scientists and Calculating Machines: from Novelty to Commonplace,” Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 12, 1990, pp. 31–40.
Daniel Lewin, "Die Entwicklungsgeschichte der Rechenmaschinen der Firma H.W. Egli bis 1931" Typenkorb, Nr. 48 and 49, 1992.
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1909
Egli, Hans W.
place made
Schweiz: Zürich, Zurich
Physical Description
german silver (overall material)
brass (overall material)
ferrous metal (overall material)
paper (overall material)
overall: 86.3 cm x 86.5 cm x 60 cm; 33 31/32 in x 34 1/16 in x 23 5/8 in
ID Number
catalog number
maker number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Edith R. Meggers
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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