Anita Mark VIII Desktop Electronic Calculator with Manuals

Anita Mark VIII Desktop Electronic Calculator with Manuals

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According to the accompanying instruction book, this is “the world’s first electronic desk calculator.” The full-keyboard, non-printing calculator has ten columns of plastic keys and shows 12-digit results. A column of keys for multiplication is on the left. Keys for arithmetic operations and for clearance are at the front. The machine used vacuum tubes—later electronic calculators would have transistors and then microchips.
The Anita Mark VIII was one of two electronic calculators developed by the British Bell Punch Company in a team led by Norbert Kitz. Kitz had obtained an advanced degree in computer science at the University of London in 1951, studying under computer pioneer Andrew Booth. He applied for a patent for an “electronic calculating machine” as early as 1957. By 1961, Bell Punch exhibited its Mark VII and Mark VIII electronic calculators at trade fairs.
A mark on the front of the machine read: ANITA. A tag on the bottom reads near the top: MODEL NO. C/VII/I006852/A. The tag also includes an extensive list of patent and patent application numbers. The last British patent listed is 868761, which was issued May 25, 1961. A mark on the plastic cover for the machine reads: ANITA
The operating instructions for the Mark VIII received with the machine were distributed by the Inter-Continental Trading Corporation of New York, N.Y. Also received with the machine is a booklet of operating instructions for the Anita Mark 9, a similar machine.
Norbert Kitz filed for a U.S. patent for this machine December 9, 1961(he had filed for earlier U.S. patents in 1957 and 1959), and was granted it October 18, 1966.
Norbert Kitz, "Key Controlled Decimal Electronic Calculating Machine," U.S. Patent 3,280,315, October 18, 1966. There are extensive online discussions of the Anita electronic calculators.
Currently not on view
Object Name
electronic desktop calculator
date made
ca 1961
Sumlock Comptometer LTD
place made
United Kingdom
Physical Description
metal (cover material)
plastic (keys material)
glass (components material)
overall: 24.4 cm x 36.8 cm x 44.5 cm; 9 19/32 in x 14 1/2 in x 17 17/32 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
In Memory of Eston C. and Gertrude S. Farrell
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Computers
Computers & Business Machines
Desktop Electronic Calculators
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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The Anita Mark VIII and Mark IX were sold in the United States through Intercontinental Trading Corporation (ITC), through an office products dealer channel. ITC was later bought by Olympia Typewriter Company (Olympia USA, Inc). I managed the western region service department for this product and Wolfgang Hirsemann managed the east coast region. I still have a Mark 9 model which has decimal point logic which the Mark 8 did not have.

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