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
Commodore 201 Adding Machine
- By the 1960s most adding machines on the market had ten keys and printed results. Often they were manufactured overseas. This ten-key, printing adding machine was made in Japan and imported by Commodore, a firm then based in Toronto. It has nine digit keys, a slightly larger digit bar, and keys marked with two vertical lines and with three vertical lines. It also has four function keys right of the digit keys and what appears to be a place value lever on the left, with a mechanical display of the place value above this.
- Behind the keyboard at the back of the machine is a paper tape holder with a paper tape, a printing mechanism, and a two-colored ribbon. A rubber cord fits in the back of the machine and there is a plastic cover. At the front of the machine is a metal carrying handle.
- A mark on the top reads: commodore. A tag on the bottom reads: commodore 201 (/) No 22742. The tag also reads: COMMODORE BUSINESSS MACHINES INC. MADE IN JAPAN. A mark on the cord reads: KAWASAKI.
- Commodore Business Machines was incorporated in Toronto in 1955 under the direction of Jack Tramiel, a Holocaust survivor who had spent some years in the United States. The company initially distributed typewriters and came to sell electronic calculators and then personal computers. Commodore adding machines were advertised in American newspapers as early as 1962 and as late as 1972 (by this time they faced severe competition from electronic calculators). The Commodore 202, which is quite similar to this model, was advertised in 1968 as “all new.”
- Pine, D., “Jack Tramiel, Founder of Commodore Computers, Lodz Survivor, Dies at 83,” The Jewish News Weekly of Northern California, 116 #16, April 20, 2012.
- Los Angeles Times, January 21, 1968, p. C87. This is one of many advertisements found through the ProQuest database. It is for the Commodore Model 202.
- Currently not on view
- date made
- ca 1968
- Commodore Business Machines, Inc.
- ID Number
- accession number
- catalog number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History
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