Millionaire Calculating Machine

Millionaire Calculating Machine

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In the early 20th century, William A. Morschhauser of New York City became the exclusive American distributor of the Millionaire calculating machine. He placed machines at several United States government offices, including the Post Office Department. This is one example of such a machine.
The lever-set manual non-printing direct multiplication machine sits in a metal box that has a flat steel lid painted black. The top of the box (under the lid) has a brass cover plate, in two parts, that has various holes to accommodate the operating parts of the machine. A row of ten slits in the middle back of the cover plate allows for the motion of ten levers that are moved to set digits. The digits set appear in a row of windows in front of the slits.
In front of the setting mechanism is a carriage that moves within the case. It has 20 holes that record results of addition, subtraction, and multiplication problems. Thumbscrews under the result windows are used to set the divisor in division. In back, to the left of the result windows and also on the carriage, is a row of ten windows of the revolution counter.
To the left of the levers for setting numbers is the handle that is moved to set digits for direct multiplication. To the right of the levers is a knob that can be set for addition, multiplication, division or subtraction. Right of this is the operating handle. A paper table glued to the inside of the lid gives operating instructions and a set of tables for use in division. Two safety screws are to be used when the instrument is moved.
A mark stamped on the machine at the middle reads: THE MILLIONAIRE. A brass tag attached to one corner reads: Hans W. Egli (/) Ingenieur (/) Fabrikation von Rechenmaschinen (/) Pat. O. Steiger (/) ZURICH II. A mark stamped on the right corner reads: No 821. Another mark near there reads: MADE IN SWITZERLAND. A brass tag near one of the corners reads: W.A. Morschhauser (/) SOLE AGENT (/) 1 Madison Avenue, (/) NEW YORK CITY. A mark on the carriage reads: PTD MAY 7TH 1895. SEPT. 17TH 1895.
Compare MA.312818 and MA.312819.
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, a machine with a serial number in the 800s dates from 1900 to 1904. The Spectator Company, a New York publisher of books on insurance and a 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.
Daniel Lewin, "Die Entwicklungsgeschichte der Rechenmaschinen der Firma H.W. Egli bis 1931" Typenkorb, Nr. 48 und 49, 1992.
The Insurance Year Book 1903–1904, New York: The Spectator Company, 1903, p. 28.
E. H. Beach, ed., Tools of Business: An Encyclopaedia of Office Equipment and Labor Saving Devices, Detroit: The Book-Keeper Publishing Co, 1905, pp. 14–15.
Currently not on view
Object Name
calculating machine
date made
ca 1904
Egli, Hans W.
place made
Switzerland: Zürich, Zurich
Physical Description
steel (overall material)
brass (overall material)
paper (overall material)
iron (overall material)
overall: 17.1 cm x 77 cm x 30 cm; 6 23/32 in x 30 5/16 in x 11 13/16 in
ID Number
catalog number
maker number
accession number
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Calculating Machines
Science & Mathematics
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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