Commodore 201 Adding Machine


By the 1960s most adding machines on the market had ten keys and printed results. Often they were manufactured overseas. This ten-key, printing adding machine was made in Japan and imported by Commodore, a firm then based in Toronto. It has nine digit keys, a slightly larger digit bar, and keys marked with two vertical lines and with three vertical lines. It also has four function keys right of the digit keys and what appears to be a place value lever on the left, with a mechanical display of the place value above this.

Behind the keyboard at the back of the machine is a paper tape holder with a paper tape, a printing mechanism, and a two-colored ribbon. A rubber cord fits in the back of the machine and there is a plastic cover. At the front of the machine is a metal carrying handle.

A mark on the top reads: commodore. A tag on the bottom reads: commodore 201 (/) No 22742. The tag also reads: COMMODORE BUSINESSS MACHINES INC. MADE IN JAPAN. A mark on the cord reads: KAWASAKI.

Commodore Business Machines was incorporated in Toronto in 1955 under the direction of Jack Tramiel, a Holocaust survivor who had spent some years in the United States. The company initially distributed typewriters and came to sell electronic calculators and then personal computers. Commodore adding machines were advertised in American newspapers as early as 1962 and as late as 1972 (by this time they faced severe competition from electronic calculators). The Commodore 202, which is quite similar to this model, was advertised in 1968 as “all new.”


Pine, D., “Jack Tramiel, Founder of Commodore Computers, Lodz Survivor, Dies at 83,” The Jewish News Weekly of Northern California, 116 #16, April 20, 2012.

Los Angeles Times, January 21, 1968, p. C87. This is one of many advertisements found through the ProQuest database. It is for the Commodore Model 202.

Date Made: ca 1968

Maker: Commodore Business Machines, Inc.

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: Japan

Subject: BusinessMathematics


See more items in: Medicine and Science: Mathematics, Adding Machines, Computers & Business Machines, Science & Mathematics


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of Jack A. Strahs

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1998.0246.01Accession Number: 1998.0246Catalog Number: 1998.0246.01

Object Name: adding machine

Physical Description: metal (overall material)rubber (overall material)plastic (overall material)Measurements: overall: 16 cm x 19 cm x 32 cm; 6 5/16 in x 7 15/32 in x 12 19/32 in


Record Id: nmah_214400

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