Orth Game Counter, U.S. Patent Office Model

Orth Game Counter, U.S. Patent Office Model

This U.S. Patent Office model consists of four instruments similar to a Russian abacus. Each has a rectangular open wooden box, with metal rods that extend across the box and carry differing numbers of wooden beads. Wooden pieces divide the box into two or more compartments. Across the middle of each compartment is a flexible spring. Beads may be moved easily over the spring, but retain their position once moved. Two of the counters are specifically for use with games, one with two players and one with six. Another is divided into two sections for counting dollars and cents. The five rods in this device are numbered 0, 10, 100, 1000 and 10,000. The fourth counter has no wooden divider, and is intended for tallying from 0 to 99999.
A mark on all four parts reads: UNIVERSAL TALLY MFG. Co. A second mark on all four parts reads: WILLIAMSPORT, PA. The first two counters have a mark that reads: RECORD OF GAME. The third part is marked: DOLLARS (/) CENTS. A mark on the final part reads: TALLY.
According to the 1880 U.S. Census, Phillip Orth was born in Germany in about 1847. By 1880 he was living in Williamsport, Pa., with his wife and two sons. He worked as a bookkeeper.
Philip Orth, “Improvement in Game-Counters,” U.S. Patent 203,189, April 30, 1878.
U.S. Census, 1880.
Currently not on view
Object Name
game counter
Other Terms
game counter; Patent Office Model
date made
Orth, Philip
Orth, Philip
Universal Tally Manufacturing Company
place made
United States: Pennsylvania, Williamsport
place patented
United States: Pennsylvania, Williamsport
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
metal (overall material)
overall: 7.5 cm x 26 cm x 13.2 cm; 2 15/16 in x 10 1/4 in x 5 3/16 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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