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Adding Machines -- Full-Keyboard - Other

Full-Keyboard - Other

In the early twentieth century a variety of companies manufactured full keyboard adding machines that competed with the products of Felt & Tarrant and of Burroughs. Their inventors often had ties to one of the older companies, and competition was fierce. For example, Joseph A.V. Turck (1870-1956) of Providence, Rhode Island, took out patents for a key-driven adding machine in 1899 and 1901. The Mechanical Accountant, as he named the machine, was produced in Providence into the 1920s. However, Turck chose to leave Providence Mfg and Tool Company, the makers of the Mechanical Accountant, to take a position at Felt & Tarrant. He would spend the rest of his career there.

The inventors of two other adding machines, William H. Pike and Frank S. Rinsche, both worked at American Arithmometer Company in St. Louis for a time. Pike went on to invent the Pike adding machine, which was produced in New Jersey from 1904 onward. Rinsche joined with others to form the Universal Accountant Machine Company of St. Louis. Burroughs soon acquired the rights to both the Pike and the Universal machines, and both Pike and Rinsche returned to the company.

The inventor Charles Wales also spent a brief time at Burroughs, although he is better remembered as the inventor of the Wales and the later Federal adding machines. Both offered visible printing of results, unlike the first Burroughs machines. The Wales machine attracted the attention of Ralph C. Allen, who worked at Burroughs from 1904 until he went into business for himself in 1924. Allen first imported calculating machines from Europe. In 1926, he arranged for the Allen Corporation to purchase the Wales Adding Machine Company, and soon thereafter the Peters-Morse Company, to form Allen-Wales Corporation. Allen-Wales, in turn, was acquired by National Cash Register Company in 1944.

During the 1920s and early 1930s, several other inventors saw the adding machines they had devised come to market. O.D. Johantagen, who had patented several machines, saw his Victor Adding Machine begin to sell in 1920. Two years later, the company was taken over by Chicago grocer Carl Buehler, whose family managed the firm successfully for many years, eventually merging with Felt & Tarrant. Glenn J. Barrett, who had worked on the Barrett adding machine before World War I, patented the much lighter Portable. This machine sold from 1922. It was manufactured by Corona, which took over sales and renamed the machine in 1926. The Barrett also remained in production, made by the Lanston Monotype Company of Philadelphia from about 1928. An electric version sold from the late 1930s. Not all inventors lived to see their machine produced. Clyde Gardner, who had worked at Pike and at Burroughs, died shortly after establishing the Gardner Adding Machine Company in 1923. His machine did make it into production. Patent rights eventually were acquired by the Monroe Calculating Machine Company.

A few adding machines made overseas reached the United States. These included a Swiss machine similar to the Comptometer known as the Direct and a much later Italian copy of the Comptometer called the Addicalco. The German Torpedo, introduced in 1931, had a more distinctive keyboard. Comptometer operators had long been trained to use only the lower half of the keyboard, as it was faster to push, say, the 4 and then the 5 key than to reach up the hand to the 9 key. The Torpedo only had keys from 1 to 5 in each column. The Sumlock, a machine made in Britain by Bell Punch Company, was specifically designed for British currency but collected by the Burroughs Patent Department.


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