Computers & Business Machines
Imagine the loss, 100 years from now, if museums hadn't begun preserving the artifacts of the computer age. The last few decades offer proof positive of why museums must collect continuously—to document technological and social transformations already underway.
The museum's collections contain mainframes, minicomputers, microcomputers, and handheld devices. Computers range from the pioneering ENIAC to microcomputers like the Altair and the Apple I. A Cray2 supercomputer is part of the collections, along with one of the towers of IBM's Deep Blue, the computer that defeated reigning champion Garry Kasparov in a chess match in 1997. Computer components and peripherals, games, software, manuals, and other documents are part of the collections. Some of the instruments of business include adding machines, calculators, typewriters, dictating machines, fax machines, cash registers, and photocopiers
- According to the accompanying instruction book, this is “the world’s first electronic desk calculator.” The full-keyboard, non-printing calculator has ten columns of plastic keys and shows 12-digit results. A column of keys for multiplication is on the left. Keys for arithmetic operations and for clearance are at the front. The machine used vacuum tubes—later electronic calculators would have transistors and then microchips.
- The Anita Mark VIII was one of two electronic calculators developed by the British Bell Punch Company in a team led by Norbert Kitz. Kitz had obtained an advanced degree in computer science at the University of London in 1951, studying under computer pioneer Andrew Booth. He applied for a patent for an “electronic calculating machine” as early as 1957. By 1961, Bell Punch exhibited its Mark VII and Mark VIII electronic calculators at trade fairs.
- A mark on the front of the machine read: ANITA. A tag on the bottom reads near the top: MODEL NO. C/VII/I006852/A. The tag also includes an extensive list of patent and patent application numbers. The last British patent listed is 868761, which was issued May 25, 1961. A mark on the plastic cover for the machine reads: ANITA
- The operating instructions for the Mark VIII received with the machine were distributed by the Inter-Continental Trading Corporation of New York, N.Y. Also received with the machine is a booklet of operating instructions for the Anita Mark 9, a similar machine.
- Norbert Kitz filed for a U.S. patent for this machine December 9, 1961(he had filed for earlier U.S. patents in 1957 and 1959), and was granted it October 18, 1966.
- Norbert Kitz, "Key Controlled Decimal Electronic Calculating Machine," U.S. Patent 3,280,315, October 18, 1966. There are extensive online discussions of the Anita electronic calculators.
- Currently not on view
- date made
- ca 1961
- Sumlock Comptometer LTD
- ID Number
- accession number
- catalog number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History