Marchant Model XL Calculating Machine

Marchant Model XL Calculating Machine

<< >>
Usage conditions apply
This lever-set, non-printing, manually operated pinwheel calculating machine has a metal housing painted black. Near the center of the machine are nine rotating levers for entering numbers. An entry register is above the levers, and a zeroing bar in front of them. The nine-window revolution register is right of the levers. The operating crank is on the right side, along with a zeroing knob for the revolution register. Between the entry levers and the revolution register is a knob which can be set on multiplication or division.
In front of the levers is a carriage with the 18 wheels of the result register, as well as a handle for zeroing this register. The carriage shift lever is at the front of the machine. All three registers have sliding decimal markers.
A metal plate to the left of the levers reads: MARCHANT (/) CALCULATORS (/) SIMPLICITY (/) ACCURACY (/) SPEED. A mark on the back reads: MARCHANT. Another mark there reads: MANUFACTURED BY (/) MARCHANT CALCULATING MACHINE CO. (/) OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA U.S.A. (/) PATENTED IN UNITED STATES & FOREIGN COUNTRIES (/) UNITED STATES 1,476,197 DEC 4. 1923 (/) AUSTRALIA 5,861 March 2. 1922 (/) CANADA 239,984 MAY 13. 1924 (/) CHILE 4,884 OCT 18. 1922 (/) GREAT BRITAIN 185,852 June 14. 1921 (/) HOLLAND & COLONIES 11,299 April 16. 1924 (/) JAPAN 40,871 NOV. 30 1921 (/) SOUTH AFRICA 78 JAN 27. 1922 (/) OTHER UNITED STATES AND FOREIGN PATENTS (/) ISSUED AND PENDING. The serial number, stamped on the base, is XL92485.
The Marchant Manufacturing Company of Oakland, California began manufacturing calculating machines in 1911. As the marks on this machine indicate, by the 1920s it was selling machines across the globe. According to the accession file, this machine was acquired by the Smithsonian in 1928 for $208.25. It was used from that time until 1964 by William Johnson for calculations relating to Smithsonian finances, and transferred to the collections when Mr. Johnson retired.
Accession file.
J. H. McCarthy, The American Digest of Business Machines, Chicago: American Exchange Service, 1924, p. 549.
Currently not on view
Object Name
calculating machine
date made
Marchant Calculating Machine Co.
place made
United States: California, Oakland
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
rubber (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
wood (overall material)
overall: 16.5 cm x 34 cm x 15.3 cm; 6 1/2 in x 13 3/8 in x 6 1/32 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
maker number
Credit Line
Transfer from Smithsonian Institution, Fiscal Division
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Calculating Machines
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


My grandfather worked for Marchant in California and also in Hawaii. I have a 1933 photo of him and his coworkers in the repair shop. He began as a mechanic/technician and later helped the military offices in Hawaii train on how to use them, and also repaired them on the base. He retired from Marchant in the 1960s. He said the machines were complicated but fixing them was not too difficult. Every time a new model came out they had to retrain everyone. He liked working for Marchant.

Add a comment about this object