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Wizard Calculating Machine

Wizard Calculating Machine

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This notched band adder has a metal front and a black plastic back. There are eight bracket-shaped columns, nine display windows, a zeroing bar across the top, and a metal stylus that fits in the side (part of the plastic holder has broken off). Between each of the columns there are two rows of numbers, one for addition and the other for subtraction. The adder comes in a blue plastic case.
According to documentation received with the device, it was distributed by Thoresen, Inc., of New York, N.Y. It is described as “the new 1959 WIZARD with the Magic Reckoner.” The Magic Reckoner was a multiplication table. The machine was made in West Germany.
This example was given to the Museum by Joan Pearson Watkins, the wife of Smithsonian curator C. Malcolm Watkins. She held various honorary curatorial positions at the National Museum of American History from the 1960s through the 1980s. Compare this object to MA.336448 and 2013.0197.01.
References: “Wizard Calculating machine,” 1987.0787.02.
Popular Science, vol. 174, February, 1959, p. 18. Not identical to adder shown in that advertisement.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
ca 1960
Thoresen, Inc.
place made
place distributed
United States: New York, New York City
Physical Description
plastic (overall material)
metal (overall material)
overall:.5 cm x 10.5 cm x 15.5 cm; 3/16 in x 4 1/8 in x 6 3/32 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Mrs. Joan Pearson Watkins
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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I actually just found this while going through my Dad's stuff. Unfortunately there was no instructions with it. It's pretty nice to find things from the past that are still in good working order.
"I must have an earlier version, as the front only refers to ADD, SUBTRACT, MULTIPLY. The printed instructions, however adds AID IN DIVIDING to the list. Further, the stylus attached is very plain in its design. The Personal Computer Museum indicates the product's release date of 1/1/60, and pictures a device with only the four functions on the face., Thoresen's address on mine is given as 585 Water Street New York 2, NY - which would indicate the device must have been made before the implementation of ZIP codes in the early 1960's."
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