Marchant Model XLA Calculating Machine


This lever-set, non-printing manually operated pinwheel calculating machine has a metal housing and metal base, both painted black. The nine levers for setting entries are topped with red or white plastic covers. A bar in front of the levers can be raised to zero them (there is no entry register). The steel operating crank with wooden handle extends from the right side of the machine. It rotates backward (clockwise) for addition and multiplication and forward (counterclockwise) for subtraction and division.

At the front of the machine is a movable carriage with 13 windows that show dials of the result register on the right and nine windows for the revolution register on the left. Dials in the revolution register are black for addition and red for subtraction. Decimal markers slide above both of these registers and above the setting levers. Moving a sturdy brass lever at the front shifts the carriage. A zeroing lever on the right side of the carriage zeros the result register when turned clockwise, and the revolution register when turned counterclockwise. The machine has a metal base with rubber feet, but has no cover.

A triangular metal tag attached left of the levers reads: MARCHANT (/) CALCULATORS (/) SIMPLICITY (/) ACCURACY (/) SPEED. A worn paper tag glued to the back of the machine reads: MANUFACTURED BY (/) MARCHANT CALCULATING MACHINE (/) OAKLAND CALIFORNIA U.S.A. (/) PATENTED IN UNITED STATES & FOREIGN COUNTRIES (/) UNITED STATES [. . .] 76,197 DEC 4. 1923 (/) AUSTRALIA 5,861 March 2. 1922 (/) CANADA 239,984 MAY 13. 1924 (/) CHILE 4,884 OCT 18. 1922 (/) GREAT BRITAIN 185,852 June 14. 1921 (/) HOLLAND & COLONIES 11,299 April 16. 1924 (/) JAPAN 40,871 NOV. 30 1921 (/) SOUTH AFRICA 78 JAN 27. 1922 (/) OTHER UNITED STATES AND FOREIGN PATENTS (/) ISSUED AND PENDING. No serial number found.

According to Marchant Math-Mechanics, a publication for the sales staff of Marchant, the model XLA was introduced in 1928 as a relatively inexpensive calculating machine that could be placed “on every desk.” It cost $125, and had a smaller capacity than the model XL. The experiment proved unsuccessful, and the machine was discontinued in 1931.


Marchant Math-Mechanics, vol. 7, 1940, p. 132.

Date Made: ca 1930

Maker: Marchant Calculating Machine Co.

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: California, Oakland

Subject: Mathematics

See more items in: Medicine and Science: Mathematics, Calculating Machines, Science & Mathematics


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of Walton G. Banks, Inc.

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1984.0682.02Catalog Number: 1984.0682.02Accession Number: 1984.0682

Object Name: calculating machine

Physical Description: steel (overall material)plastic (overall material)brass (overall material)wood (overall material)Measurements: overall: 16 cm x 39.5 cm x 19 cm; 6 5/16 in x 15 9/16 in x 7 15/32 in


Record Id: nmah_690712

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