Atkinson Counting Register, U.S. Patent Office Model


This roughly built wooden and metal device is the U.S. patent model for a counter patented by Alexander P. Atkinson of Vermont, Ill., on November 7, 1871. It has an open wooden frame, with a window at the front for viewing the registering wheels. The three wheels are mounted on a crosswise shaft, along with a fourth wheel, which drives the others. Lowering a crank on the right side of the frame moves the driving wheel and the rightmost registering wheel one unit back. Returning the crank upright moves the driving but not the registering wheel.

The wheels are wooden. The registering wheels are covered with paper bands around the edge which have the digits marked from 0 to 9. Screws are used as gear teeth in much of the mechanism. The device carries. According to the patent, the machine was intended for use in counting the number of bushels or other measures of grain that passed a given point.

A mark on the front above the window reads: A.P. Atkinson (/) Vermont (/) Ill’s.

Alexander P. Atkinson (1840-1906) lived in Vermont, Ill., and founded the Vermont Loan and Building Association in 1889. He remained President of that bank into the 20th century.


Alexander P. Atkinson, “Improvement in Counting-Registers,” U.S. Patent 120,609, November 7, 1871.

J. S. McCullough, Twelfth Annual Report of the Condition of Building, Loan and Homestead Associations Doing Business in Illinois, Springfield, Illinois: Phillips Brothers, 1903, p. 307.

Date Made: 1874

Patentee: Atkinson, Alexander P.Maker: Atkinson, Alexander P.

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: Illinois, VermontPlace Patented: United States: Illinois, Vermont

Subject: Mathematics


See more items in: Medicine and Science: Mathematics, Counters, Science & Mathematics, Agriculture


Exhibition Location:

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: MA.309342Accession Number: 89797Catalog Number: 309342

Object Name: counterObject Type: Patent Model

Physical Description: wood (overall material)paper (overall material)metal (overall material)Measurements: overall: 10 cm x 17.5 cm x 15.4 cm; 3 15/16 in x 6 7/8 in x 6 1/16 in


Record Id: nmah_690840

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