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Burroughs Sensimatic Series 200

Burroughs Sensimatic Series 200

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This full keyboard electric adding machine is in several pieces. The body with keyboard in mechanism has a tan metal frame with 14 columns of tan and brown keys, ten keys per column, and four columns of function keys. Three dials on the leftmost side of the machine can be used to set a date. A dial at the front of the machine alters a five-digit number read from five numeral dials next to it. The ribbon for the printing mechanism and the printing mechanism itself are above the keyboard. There also is a metal carriage mostly painted tan, with a rubber platen and plastic handles. A paper label inserted above the cylinder indicates quantities to be entered. A small nut is loose with the carriage.
In addition to these major pieces, there are a variety of plastic and metal parts, a roll of paper, and a gray plastic cover.
A red paper tag attached to the object reads: PATENT DEPT. (/) #327. A white paper tag reads: CASE NO 3473 (/) THIS MACHINE IS A (/) PATENT MODEL (/) AND SHOULD NOT BE USED (/) OPERATED OR LOANED TO ANYONE. The machine is marked on the frame: Burroughs Sensimatic. It is also marked there: Series 200. A metal tag attached to the object reads: DONATED TO (/) The Smithsonian Institution (/) by (/) Burroughs Corporation.
This was model #327 in the collection of the Patent Division of Burroughs Corporation. Burroughs made the Sensimatic from 1950 until 1961.
Currently not on view
Object Name
adding machine
date made
ca 1950
Burroughs Adding Machine Company
place made
United States: Michigan, Detroit
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
rubber (overall material)
paper (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
overall: 27 cm x 40.7 cm x 52 cm; 10 5/8 in x 16 1/32 in x 20 15/32 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Burroughs Corporation
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Adding Machines
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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I used to work for a wine and Spirit merchant in London, We had a series 200 for keeping sales ledgers on. This was originally a £sd Machine that was decimalised when England changed currency in the 70's. The machine had a serial number that showed it was imported from Detroit, It was a great machine it clanked along and did a great job considering it was nearly 25 years old. We also had an F 1400 £sd machine used for invoicing with crossfooter and Multiplication. It was connected to a Powers Samas 80 column Punch card machine, the cards were then processed by a bureau to list sales reorders and agents commission. It was deemed to costly to have decimalised and came to the end of the road.
"We just bought an old building. Inside, we found a complete Burroughs Series 100 (not 200) machine. It is nearly identical to the Series 200 Sensimatic. When was this made?Thanks."
"I use to fix these when i worked for Burroughs Corp. Wish I lived closer, I would try to restore it for free. I live in the Wheeling, WV area and have been trying to find one to restore. These were a mechanical marvel."
The picture of the Burroughs Sensimatic show the machine without a moving carriage. The true Sensimatic had a wide moving carriage and was a bookkeeping machine for posting charges and credits to customer accounts on Ledger cards. The name Sensimatic comes from the fact that the underside of the moving carriage had tab stops to align with ledger card columns with each tab stop including a programmable metal strip that the machine sensed at each tab stop to control carriage move and other machine functions. The Sensimatice was so successful that electronics was added in the seventies that allowed it store information electronically and transmit information to other locations such as from an bank teller to a central data center. This was one of the primary passbook teller systems in the seventies and early eighties. I worked for Burroughs Corporation for 10 years and serviced these machines in banks and businesses in Connecticut.
"This is a Burroughs F200 Sensimatic mechanical Accounting machine from the late 50s or early 60s. I am a former Burroughs Field Engineer and worked on many of these machines. I was probably one of the last engineers to go through factory training in Detroit Michigan. The Sensimatic was manufactured in a number of different models depending upon the totals and the carriage width. The F200 model had 5 totals and was primarily used in banking applications. In those days, banks posted account transactions manually to paper ledger cards. The carriage on the machine in the picture has been unattached from the main body of the machine. It would have been held on by 4 screws. The Sensimatic was a mechanical wonder in it's day and very successful. It was programed by different length pins that were held in a panel in the rear of the machine. The main competition for the Sensimatic was from National Cash Register (NCR). NCR and Burroughs competed head to head for many years. They were both wonderful companies to work for in those days. Pieces of these proud US companies exist today, but only as a shadow of their former greatness. For more information, please feel free to email me."
"Just came across your Burroughs Sensimatic F200. Looks like you are missing the Carriage and programmable control panel. If it is the F200 on which I worked in the 60's it will have one accumulator (crossfooter) which could handle addition and subtraction including negative figures. It also would have had four registers into which amounts could be added or subtracted, these however could hold a negative number only as a compliment which had to be maniputed to convert back to the correct figire by adding twice and subracting once into the crossfooter. Happy days."

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