Contents
View on Plan
Click to see bigger picture
Shickard Calculator (reproduction)
Peter Roubos. On loan from Michael R. Williams, L2003.3.1
Click to see bigger picture
William Schickard, 1592 - 1635
Credit: Science Museum, London

Schickard Calculator
1623
Germany

William Schickard produced the first known mechanical calculator in 1623 while a professor at Germany’s Tübingen University. The device was to be shipped to his friend, the astronomer Johannes Kepler, but was destroyed in a fire.

The top part of the calculator consists of a cylindrical set of Napier’s Bones, while the lower portion is an adding machine used to sum up the partial products for multiplication.

Click to see bigger picture
Pascaline (reproduction)
Loan of Gwen and Gordon Bell, B150.81
Click to see bigger picture
Blaise Pascal, 1623-1662
Credit: Oeuvres, Blaise Pascal, 1779, coutesy of Erwin Tomash

Pascaline
1642
France

Philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal created his first mechanical adder at age nineteen and continued experimenting with its design for several years. His design used a system of weights. When adding figures, turning the machine’s dials lifted a weight which dropped again when the dial changed from a “9” to a “0.” The action of the dropping weight turned the next wheel one position. More reliable calculating machines would have to wait for improved manufacturing methods.

Click to see bigger picture
Leibniz stepped drum model, US, 1980
Click to see bigger picture
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, 1646 - 1716
Credit: Epistolae ad diversos, G. W. Leibniz, 1734, courtesy of Erwin Tomash

Leibniz Stepped Drum
1674
Germany

Philosopher and mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz invented a mechanical calculator featuring a “stepped drum” mechanism in 1674. Rotating the drum caused a small gear to interact with 0 to 9 of the drum’s teeth. Depending on the gear’s position along the drum, the device would add values ranging from 0 to 9 to a result register. The device was the first mechanical calculator capable of multiplication. Because of its reliability, the stepped drum mechanism was employed for over 300 years.

Click to see bigger picture
Millionaire
Loan of Gwen and Gordon Bell, X91.76

Millionaire Calculator
1899
Hans W. Egli, Switzerland

The Millionaire Calculator was invented in 1892 by Otto Steiger and built in Zurich by the firm of Hans W. Egli. While earlier machines required several turns of their calculating handle to multiply, the Millionaire could multiply a number by a single digit with only one turn. Its mechanism was a series of brass rods of various lengths that executed functions based on the same concept as Napier’s bones. Approximately 4,700 Millionaires were manufactured between 1899 and 1935.

Click to see bigger picture
Curta Calculator, Type II
Loan of Gwen and Gordon Bell, B325.81
Click to see bigger picture
View showing Curta mechanism
Credit: Rick Furr

Curta Calculator
1948 - 1970
Mauren Contina Ltd., Liechtenstein

Austrian Curt Herzstark designed a calculator while imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp during WWII. Soon after the war, Herzstark established a factory in Liechtenstein that manufactured the calculators from 1948 until the early 1970s. The device, a very small and highly sophisticated calculating machine, was based on Leibniz's stepped drum concept. The smaller Model I had eleven digits of accuracy, while the Model II had fifteen. Herzstark called his invention "Curta," a name he wanted to give the daughter he never had.

Click to see bigger picture
J Lyons, Accounting office, c.1900
Credit: Science Museum, London

Calculating Machines

The first known mechanical calculating machine was created by Wilhelm Schickard in 1620. Later machines were invented by Pascal (1642) and Leibniz (1666). Calculating machines were individually handcrafted until 1820, when Charles Xavier Thomas de Colmar, a French insurance executive, began manufacturing machines. His Arithmometer was based on the Leibniz stepped drum mechanism and remained in production until the start of WW I.

The next advance came with the invention of the true variable tooth gear by Baldwin and its subsequent improvement by Odhner. Their machines, made in large numbers from about 1900 to 1970, were smaller and more convenient. The breakthrough that made calculators useful for business was the 1886 invention by Dorr E. Felt of a key-driven machine called a Comptometer, which dramatically increased the speed of addition.

Mechanical Calculators - Artifacts
Click to see bigger picture Burroughs Model 6 calculator
US
1912
Loan of Gwen and Gordon Bell, B156.80
Click to see bigger picture EXACTUS calculator
England
c. 1950
Loan of Gwen and Gordon Bell, XB36.79
Click to see bigger picture SEE calculator
US
1968
Loan of Gwen and Gordon Bell, B31.79
Click to see bigger picture Chadwick Magic-Brain Calculator
Japan
c. 1960
Loan of Gwen and Gordon Bell, B1633.01
Click to see bigger picture Baby Calculator
US
c. 1940
Loan of Gwen and Gordon Bell, X213.83
Click to see bigger picture Totalisateur Troncet
France
c. 1890
102626667
Click to see bigger picture Millionare
Hans Egli
Switzerland
1895
Loan of Gwen and Gordon Bell, X17,78
Click to see bigger picture Millionaire
Hans Egli
Switzerland
1895
Loan of Gwen and Gordon Bell, X91.76
Click to see bigger picture Victor W867 mechanical calculator
US
c. 1935
Loan of Gwen and Gordon Bell, B370.86
Click to see bigger picture Victor Tallymaster calculator
US
c. 1965
Gift of Sam Bernstein, X1657.99
Click to see bigger picture Bohn Contex desk calculator
Denmark
1960
Gift of Robert Olthoff, X43.81
Click to see bigger picture Victor Model 738554
US
c. 1955
102626617
Click to see bigger picture IBM hexadecimal adder
US
1957
Gift of Tim Reif, 102630989
Click to see bigger picture Chambon & Baye Tachylemme table
France
c. 1880
Loan of Gwen and Gordon Bell, B201.80
Click to see bigger picture The Adder
CH Webb
US
pat. 1889
Loan of Gwen and Gordon Bell, B1636.01
Click to see bigger picture Marchant XL calculator
US
1910
Gift of Fred Gruenberger, X347.84
Click to see bigger picture Barrett Figuring Machine
US
c. 1936
Gift of John T. Cowles, X988.89
Click to see bigger picture Star adding machine
US
1921
Loan of Gwen and Gordon Bell, B340.85
Click to see bigger picture Precise adding machine
US
c. 1910
Loan of Gwen and Gordon Bell, B188.81
Click to see bigger picture American adding machine
US
c. 1915
Loan of Gwen and Gordon Bell, XB180.81
Click to see bigger picture Brunsviga 20 mechanical calculator
Germany
c. 1910
Gift of Murlan Corrington, X762.86
Click to see bigger picture Allen & Wales Desk Model
US
c. 1910
Loan of Gwen and Gordon Bell, B500.88
Click to see bigger picture RT & AM Addometer
US
c. 1920
Loan of Gwen and Gordon Bell, B179.81
Click to see bigger picture Golden Gem Adding Machine
US
c. 1910
Gift of Gwen Bell, B266.83
Click to see bigger picture “Consul, The Educated Monkey”
US
pat. 1916
Loan of Gwen and Gordon Bell, B302.84
Click to see bigger picture ADDI-COSMOS B.U.G Calculator
US
c. 1920
Loan of Gwen and Gordon Bell, B131.80
Click to see bigger picture Olivetti Summa Quanta 20 calculator
Argentina
c. 1960
Loan of Gwen and Gordon Bell, XB86.79
Click to see bigger picture Burroughs printing adding machine
US
c. 1920
Loan of Gwen and Gordon Bell, B42.80
Click to see bigger picture Marchant ACRM adding machine
US
c. 1932
Gift of Michael Smolin, 102632008
Click to see bigger picture Burroughs Model 3 calculator
US
pat. 1907
102626638
Click to see bigger picture Thales Patent Calculator
Germany
1940
Loan of Gwen and Gordon Bell, XB84.79
Click to see bigger picture ‘R’ Adding Machine
Hamann Manus
Germany
c. 1925
Gift of Declan and Margrit Kennedy, XD190.80
Click to see bigger picture Midget System Trinks
Brunsviga Maschinenwerke Grimm - Natalis & Co.
Germany
c. 1906
102626636
Click to see bigger picture Odhner Universal Calculator
Sweden
c. 1925
102626594
Click to see bigger picture Original Odhner calculator
Sweden
c. 1920
Gift of Henry Thacher, X546.85
Click to see bigger picture Model ST-10 electromechanical calculator
Friden Calculating Machine Co., Inc.
US
1945
Gift of Andrew Egendorf, X1783.2000
Click to see bigger picture Model SRQ 10 electromechanical calculator
Friden Calculating Machine Co., Inc.
US
1964
Gift of Andrew Egendorf, X1816.2000
Click to see bigger picture Thomas Arithmometer
France
c. 1850
Loan of Gwen and Gordon Bell, B214.82
Click to see bigger picture Tate’s Arithmometer
England
c. 1900
Loan of Gwen and Gordon Bell, B82.80
Click to see bigger picture Burroughs Model 5 calculator
US
c. 1920
102626635
Click to see bigger picture Burroughs Model 5 calculator
US
c. 1920
102633501
Click to see bigger picture Monroe LA-5 desk calculator
US
c. 1940
Gift of Gordon Osborne, X90.82
Click to see bigger picture Monroe LA7-160 calculator
Holland
c. 1950
Gift of Andrew Egendorf, X1805.2000A
Click to see bigger picture Monroe LA5-160 calculator
US
c. 1935-1960
Loan of Gwen and Gordon Bell, XB40.79
Click to see bigger picture Monroe “Monromatic”
US
c. 1945
Loan of Gwen and Gordon Bell, XB11.76
Click to see bigger picture Printing Calculator
US
c. 1900
102626633
Click to see bigger picture Wales Visible Adding Machine
US
c. 1925
Loan of Gwen and Gordon Bell, B88.80
Click to see bigger picture Felt & Tarrant Comptometer
US
c. 1950
Loan of Gwen and Gordon Bell, X465.84
Click to see bigger picture Felt & Tarrant Comptometer
US
c. 1925
102626589
Click to see bigger picture Felt & Tarrant Comptometer
US
c. 1917
Loan of Gwen and Gordon Bell, B1653.01
Click to see bigger picture Felt & Tarrant Comptometer
US
c. 1890
102626590
Click to see bigger picture
USSR
c. 1932
Gift of Robert Garner, 102631006
Click to see bigger picture
Derrick H. Lehmer, 1962
Credit: A. Eisenstaedt, Life Magazine

Lehmer Sieves

Derrick H. Lehmer (1905-1991), professor at UC Berkeley and his father Derrick N. Lehmer (1867-1938), a leading number theorist, built computing machines to solve mathematical “sieve” problems. Number sieves perform tests to eliminate numbers that cannot be solutions to a problem, and thus find those that are potential solutions. One of the simplest uses of sieves is to determine prime numbers.

The three machines shown here demonstrate the variety of approaches the Lehmers used in building simple but powerful computing devices. The metal version could check 5,000 combinations per second, a record that was only beaten by computers in the 1960s.

Lehmer Sieves - Artifacts
Click to see bigger picture Bicycle Chain Sieve
US
Click to see bigger picture Gear Sieve
US
1932
Gift of Derrick H. Lehmer, X85.82
Click to see bigger picture 16 mm Film Strip Sieve
US
1936
Gift of Derrick H. Lehmer, X87.82