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Millionaire Calculating Machine with Stand

Millionaire Calculating Machine with Stand

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In 1895, Otto Steiger, a Swiss citizen residing in Munich, obtained a U.S. patent for a calculating machine that would multiply a number by a single digit directly, with only a single turn of a crank. Earlier calculating machines required considerably more effort. Steiger’s machine was produced in Zurich by the firm of Hans W. Egli and came to be used in American government offices and businesses.
This lever-set, manually operated non-printing direct multiplication machine has a brass mechanism and a metal case with lid. The lid and the flat plates that cover the mechanism are painted black. The carriage is entirely contained within the case. Eight German silver levers are pulled forward to enter numbers. To the left of these is a crank which may be set anywhere between 0 and 9 for direct multiplication and division. To the right of the digit levers is a lever which may be set at addition, multiplication, division, or subtraction. Right of it is the operating crank.
In front of the levers is a row of eight windows that indicate the number set on the levers. This row of windows is labeled: DIVISOR. In front of this is the carriage, with two other rows of windows. The row closest to the levers (further from the front) indicates the multiplier or quotient, and the other row, the result or the dividend. The result windows are labeled: DIVIDEND. They may be set with a dividend using thumbscrews. Zeroing knobs for both these registers are on the carriage. Between the digit windows for all three registers are holes for decimal markers. A total of two decimal markers survive. Between the front two registers, at the left, is a button used to shift the carriage.
Instructions for operating the machine, and related tables, are given in English on a paper sheet on the inside of the lid. The lid also holds a brush for cleaning the machine and a safety screw. A bell rings when the sign of the result changes (as in over division). The entire machine rests on stand 1986.3114.02.
A mark in the middle front of the top of the machine reads: THE MILLIONAIRE. A metal tag on the right reads: Hans W. Egli (/) Ingenieur (/) Fabrikation von Rechenmaschinen (/) Pat. O. Steiger (/) ZURICH II.. A metal tag on the left reads: W.A. Morschhauser (/) SOLE AGENT (/) 1 Madison Avenue (/) NEW YORK CITY. The serial number, stamped under the tag on the right, reads: No 1132. A mark right of this reads: MADE IN SWITZERLAND.
This machine was part of the office furniture of the now-defunct Calumet and Hecla Copper Company in Calumet, Michigan. That firm was in business from the later 1860s to the 1940s.
Precise dating of Millionaire calculating machines is uncertain. Daniel Lewin has estimated that machines with serial number 500 date from 1900, those with serial number 1600 from 1905, and those with serial number 2800 from 1910. If this is accurate, machines with serial number in the 1100s would date from before 1905. The Spectator Company, a New York publisher of books on insurance and distributor of calculating machines advertised the Millionaire in 1903. Morschhauser is described as the distributor from at least 1905 onward, hence a rough date of 1904 for this machine.
Compare MA.311943, MA.312818 and MA.312819.
Currently not on view
Object Name
calculating machine
date made
ca 1906
Egli, Hans W.
place made
Switzerland: Zürich, Zurich
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
iron (overall material)
steel (overall material)
german silver (overall material)
paper (overall material)
overall: 17.5 cm x 65 cm x 29 cm; 6 7/8 in x 25 19/32 in x 11 13/32 in
ID Number
catalog number
nonaccession number
maker number
Credit Line
Gift of UOP, Inc.
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Calculating Machines
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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