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1930s & Earlier / Adding Machine 1905
Adding machines have been around for more than a century, but the old-fashioned 'crank' models had pretty much disappeared from offices by the late 1980s. William S. Burroughs (1855-1898) invented an adding and listing machine with a full keyboard in the early 1880s. He submitted a patent application in 1885, co-founded the American Arithmometer Co. in 1886 to produce the machine, and received a patent for his invention in 1888. After its Bankers' and Merchants' Registering Accountant machine failed in trials in 1890, the American Arithmometer Co. marketed its improved Burroughs Registering Accountant in 1892 for $475. In 1905, the company was renamed the Burroughs Adding Machine Co. In 1894, an article in a bankers' publication-- clearly referring to the Burroughs Registering Accountant--reported that 'An ingenious adding machine, recently introduced in Providence banks, is said to be infallible in results, and to do the work of two or three active clerks. Inclosed in a frame with heavy plate-glass panels, through which the working of the mechanism can be seen, the machine occupies a space of 11 by 15 inches and is nine inches high. On an inclined keyboard are 81 keys, arranged in nine rows of nine keys each. The printing is done through an inked ribbon.' Shown here is a Burroughs model from 1905. A seat is provided for the user! How quaint!