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Some simple adding machines were designed for consumers seeking to track their purchases. This small red plastic device has three white keys on top for entering dollars, dimes, and cents. The dollar wheel is numbered from 0 to 19. Pushing a key advances a wheel below one digit. Results appear in three windows on the front of the instrument. There is a carry. The instrument is held together by metal rivets. The mechanism is encased.
The machine is marked: QUICK-ADDER. It is also marked: NO.6319 MADE IN HONG KONG. It is also marked: DESIGN REGD.
In 1950, Theodore C. Romanchek (1897-1985) of Los Angeles took out a United States copyright for the term “quick adder.” From this date, and the general style of the object, it seems likely that it dates from the 1950s. It came to the Museum from the collection of John White.
Currently not on view
Object Name
adding machine
date made
place made
China: Hong Kong
Physical Description
plastic (overall material)
metal (overall material)
overall: 5.1 cm x 9.2 cm x 2 cm; 2 in x 3 5/8 in x 25/32 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of John White
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Adding Machines
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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A quick Google Image Search reveals that there were many knock-off versions of this device with similar names like "Super Add-a-Matic" or "Handy Adder" or "Quick Add" or "Uni-Add". Perhaps all made in Hong Kong? Perhaps within a block or two of each other? That phenomenon in itself would make a good exhibit in the Museum. The idea that exporting work to cheap labor across the Pacific began in the 21st century is silly. These devices are the iPhones of their era.
When I was little my parents used one. Not long ago I found it up on a shelf. I just had it apart to repair the clicker dollar side had broke. I guess now it's only good for when you go to the store to pick a few things. As Don Micken said it cost more now.
My parents used one of these in the late 60's to keep track if the groceries in the cart. Now the same amount of food is 200.00 to $400.00 not $17.23

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