In the beginning calculating machines were unique pieces,  hand-made  and artful
"Curiosities" - Gifts for Kings to entertain their court.  E.g.  Blaise Pascal
donated one of his first machines around 1650 to the Queen of Sweden.  He build
his  (+/-) »PASCALINE«  for his father, who was a tax-collector, to made his job
easier.  1670  Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz presented his  STEPPED DRUM  calculator
with  movable ARITHMETIC.  It was also able to multiply and divide!

With rise of the industrial era the demand for  calculating machines  increased.
In 1828 the first mass production of a STEPPED DRUM machine was made by Charles
Xaver Thomas in Colmar. Until '60s machines using this principle were produced,
eg. 1920 »T.I.M.« (= "Time-Is-Money") in Berlin (s. Pictures of Restoration ...)
and 1950 »MADAS« (= "Multiplication, Autom.Division, Addition & Subtraction") in

Another historicaly important calculating machine was in 1900 made ( 80 lbs !)
by Egli/Zurich, the »MILLIONAIRE«.  It could  (with its "1x1-Koerper")  multiply
with  only one crank-turn!

In 1872 an American, Frank S. Baldwin, patented the PIN WHEEL - in 1874 a Swede,
Willgodt T. Odhner working for Nobel in St. Petersburg / Russland, had the same
idea and got a patent in Europe.  With these calculating machines one could add,
substract, multiply and divide. They were smaller, lighter and cheaper than the
STEPPED DRUM machines and became very popular.  An important feature of Odhner's
invention  was  time-splitting  the  10s-CARRY  which  enables  an  addition  of
99999999 + 1  without friction problems.  In  1892  Odhner  licensed his patent
rights to the sewing machine company GRIMME, NATALIS & CO. in Braunschweig. This
company later changed its name to »BRUNSVIGA« and became very successful.  After
the "October Revolution" in 1917, Odhner was forced to leave. His factory in St.
Petersburg was dismounted and rebuild in Moscow. Feliks Dzerzhinsky ( later head
of a predecessor-organization of the KGB ) was put in charge of the factory and
renamed the machines »FELIKS«. Odhner moved to Goeteborg / Sweden and continued
to produce calculators under the trade mark  »ORIGINAL-ODHNER«. 

Other companies  FACIT, SCHUBERT, THALES, TRIUMPHATOR, WALTHER ...  joined the
growing calculator market  and improved on Odhner's design.  In the beginning
the  COUNTER  for crank-turns had no 10s-carry feature.  TRIUMPHATOR was the
first company with  10s-Carry Counters  on the market,  enabeling  "Short-Cut-
Multiplication". E.g.: Instead 17 only 3 crank-turns for multiplying  89*89  are
necessary: One positive crank in the 100-columne, one negative crank in the 10-
columne and finally one negative crank in the 1-columne. The input shows 89, the
counter shows 89 and the result 89*89 = 7921.  Another useful improvement was
"Back-Transfer" for continuing multiplications without manually entering the
intermediate result ( figure-by-figure ) again into the input-unit. E.g.: 
89 * 89 = 7921  ===(BT)==>>>  7921 * 2 =  158442.

A speciallity of the »FACIT« machines: The Pin-Wheels get shifted serial to the
Arithmetic-Unit. Every activated Pin-Wheel will be assembled ( 0...9 ) by one
fixed 5-Teeth-Unit and a 4-Teeth-Pin-Wheel-Unit. This explains also the unusual
configuration of Input-Keys.

A true genius in the field was the inventor  Christel Hamann  of Berlin.  His
motorized  PROPORTIONAL LEVER  Principle of 1910  was marketed by  MERCEDES
BUEROMASCHINEN.  In 1925 he invented also the  SWITCHING-LATCH-WHEEL.  These
calculators, which looked like Odhner machines, where produced under his name
Berlin. The manual HAMANN-MANUS and also the motorized MERCEDES-EUKLID, had
automatic division. His little motorized  »AUTOMAT-S«  is impressive: Division
and  "Short-Cut Multiplication"  are incorporated as  "Hardware Algorithms".

In 1912 Frank S.Baldwin (same !) together with Jay R.Monroe in USA invented
another mechanic for calculators, the SPLIT-STEPPED DRUM.  With their light-
weight, full-keyboard machines, MONROE captured the market.  The calculators
had also an interesting mechanic for its  10s-CARRY.

The US company MARCHANT had started with "Pin-Wheel" calculators - But debates
ref. Odhner-Patent made MARCHANT switch to calculators with "ADAPT-SEGMENT".

Machines with 4 basic arithmetics are important for engineering calculations,
but PRINTING ADDING MACHINES are a necessity for accounting.  Both BURROUGHS
and VICTOR in the USA and OLYMPIA in Germany were very successful in this
market. They started with "Full" keyboards and produced later also "10-Block"
keyboards we are still using today. See the principle of converting the serial
input into parallel processing in the figure  10-BLOCK KEYBOARD.

A very different type of high-speed adding machine is the  COMPTOMETER,  an
invention of  Dorr E. Felt in 1885.  William S. Burroughs  also had the same
idea at this time.  In  the  patent struggle  Felt won  -  but  in the end,
BURROUGHS  became the more successful maker of calculating machines.  Felt
founded "Operator"-Schools, what had speed-up the emancipation:  E.g.: Banks
and insurances staged halls with dozens of ladies on COMPTOMETERS.  A scilled
operator entered "9" as "4+5", because of speed - What initiate the production
of (smaller + cheaper) "Half"-COMPTOMETERS, e.g. from CONTEX or TORPEDO.  A
has to be done as "9-Complement-Addition", e.g.: 
55 - 22  ==>>>  55 + [ 22 - 1 ]*  =  55 + [ 00021 ]*  =  55 + 999...978  =  33

One of the most interesting calculating machines also has a very interesting
history. The  CURTA  is the world smallest mechanical full-function calculating
machine. Curt Herzstark invented it while he was a prisoner in the Buchenwald
Concentration Camp. The story was published with amazing pictures of mechanical
details by Cliff Stoll in  »Scientific American« 01/2004.  The CURTA works with
a modified  STEPPED DRUM.  It was (1950) a product of its best in fine-mechanics
and is today in high demand for collectors of calculators around the world.


Enjoy to visite the  » On-Line PRE-COMPUTER TECHNICAL MUSEUM «

      Choices (1)  START Tour A ... Z in the Department CALCULATORS

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"THANKS!" to Dr. Michael Giehl from FU-Berlin / Klinikum  » Benjamin Franklin «.
In the years 2000..2003 "Mikey" established the foundation for this "hand-code"
HTML-HomePage.  My  "Take-Over"  was easy with his friendly help. 

"THANK YOU!" also to my friend Nancy Shaw ( s. "" WebSite ). She made the

© C.HAMANN                (*) 10/12/19