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Adding machine

Type of mechanical calculator designed to perform basic arithmetic / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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An adding machine is a class of mechanical calculator, usually specialized for bookkeeping calculations. In the United States, the earliest adding machines were usually built to read in dollars and cents. Adding machines were ubiquitous office equipment until they were phased out in favor of calculators in the 1970s and by personal computers beginning in about 1985. The older adding machines were rarely seen in American office settings by the year 2000.

A Resulta - BS 7 adding machine
Older adding machine. Its mechanism is similar to a car odometer.
Adding machine for the Australian pound c.1910, note the complement numbering, and the columns set up for shillings and pence.

Blaise Pascal and Wilhelm Schickard were the two original inventors of the mechanical calculator in 1642.[1] For Pascal, this was an adding machine that could perform additions and subtractions directly and multiplication and divisions by repetitions, while Schickard's machine, invented several decades earlier, was less functionally efficient but was supported by a mechanised form of multiplication tables. These two were followed by a series of inventors and inventions leading to those of Thomas de Colmar, who launched the mechanical calculator industry in 1851 when he released his simplified arithmometer (it took him thirty years to refine his machine, patented in 1820, into a simpler and more reliable form). However, they did not gain widespread use until Dorr E. Felt started manufacturing his comptometer (1887) and Burroughs started the commercialization of differently conceived adding machines (1892).[2]