Gem Adding Machine

Gem Adding Machine

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This small stylus-operated non-printing adding machine has seven chains in parallel columns. The links visible in each column are numbered from 1 to 9. A stylus is placed in a link of the chain and pulled down to enter a digit. Above the columns are seven windows to show results On the right is a knob which may be intended for zeroing. The device sits in a small steel stand that has four rubber feet. The stylus is missing.
The machine is marked on the bottom: PATENTED MARCH 1ST 1904 - MARCH 27TH 1906. (/) UNITED STATES AND FOREIGN PATENTS PENDING. It is marked on the left side: No. 8445 (/) AUTOMATIC ADDING MACHINE CO. (/) NEW YORK U.S.A. It is marked on the stand: GEM. A paper tag has Felt & Tarrant adding machine collection number 37.
According to U.S. Census records, Abraham Isaac Gancher was born in Russia of Russian parents in about 1875. He came to the United States in 1892 and initially worked as a leather salesman. He and his wife, Rebecca Gancher, mariied in 1899. Gancher became interested in adding machines a few years later. He was active in the Automatic Adding Machine Company through at least 1918. Nobyoshi A. Kodama, who took out early patents used in the GEM, had pulled out of the picture by 1908.
Compare to 1981.0935.01.
Gancher went on to patent and sell a printing adding machine that was also sold by Automatic Adding Machine as the Gancher. See U.S. patents 1047199 (1912) and 1178227 (1916).
Ads in Scientific American, vol. 95, October, 1906, p. 314; vol. 96, March 2, 1907, p. 203; and vol. 96, Mar. 30, 1907.
Nobyoshi A. Kodama, “Automatic Adding and subtracting Apparatus,” U.S. Patent 783,586, March 1, 1904. Kodama was a subject of the Emperor of Japan living in New York City, New York. He assigned half of the patent to Rebecca Gancher of New York, N.Y.
Nobyoshi A. Kodama and Abraham I. Gancher, “Adding-Machine,” U.S. Patent 816,342, March 27, 1906. Kodama was a subject of the Mikado of Japan. Both he and Gancher, a U.S. citizen, were living in Manhattan, New York. The patent was assigned to Automatic Adding Machine Company of New York, N.Y.
Abraham I. Gancher and Albert T. Zabriskie, “Adding-Machine,” U.S. Patent 847,759, March 19,1907. This patent describes the stand. It was assigned to Automatic Adding Machine Company of New York, N.Y.
Abraham I. Gancher, “Adding-Machine,” U.S. Patent 1015307, January 31, 1912.
Norman Klein, "40,000 Words on Post Card? It's Easy, Says Champion," New York Evening Post, Friday, December 23, 1932. The article gives information about Abraham Gancher.
Currently not on view
Object Name
adding machine
date made
Automatic Adding Machine Company
place made
United States: New York, New York City
Physical Description
steel (overall material)
brass (overall material)
overall: 6.9 cm x 13 cm x 10 cm; 2 23/32 in x 5 1/8 in x 3 15/16 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
maker number
Credit Line
Gift of Victor Comptometer Corporation
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Adding Machines
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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Hello: Abraham Isaac Gancher is my grandfather. I do not know what led me to google his name and adding machine - a fluke - but I did and was surprised - delighted - to find this page. I have a photo of him and Rebecca, my grandmother, in Central Park (they lived on the upper west side). My father, Simon Gancher, worked in the family business (industrial surplus) on Broadway until he moved us to Los Angeles for a job opportunity. I never heard of Zabriskie or Kodama, but I never heard much of anything, being the youngest of four. My father tinkered with inventions and drawings. (He went to NYU then Columbia but was pulled out of Columbia when Abraham Isaac lost everything in a gamble to buy a seat on the Exchange.) Somewhere I have a newspaper clipping about Grandpa - and the small handwriting. And why he left Russia (no surprise there). I don't know if anyone is still employed in D.C., under the current administration, but I would be open to answering any questions if the Smithsonian hasn't yet been defunded. I will respond best I can. Thanks.

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