Mechanical Calculators

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A selection of Mechanical calculators:

The basic operating principles of mechanical calculators changed little from the end of the 19th century to their obsolescence in the 1970s, though there were many developments in the mechanisms and the materials used. This site shows representative examples of the different types.

Models made before the end of the 19th century are very rare and are usually only to be seen in museums and books. These include the Pascaline invented by Blaise Pascal, and the Stepped Reckoner invented by Leibniz, both in the 17th century, and Charles Xavier Thomas's Arithmometer in the 19th century.

The mechanical calculators featured here are typical machines which were ousted by the cheap electronic calculators which were gradually developed during the 1960s and early 1970s.

For information about the mechanisms of mechanical calculators see the Calculator Technology section.

For photographs of other mechanical calculators see the Mechanical Calculator Photo Library.
 

Click on an image below for larger pictures and technical details -

Odhner

Odhner
Invented 1874: featured model 1935 - 1945
Rotary pinwheel calculator.

Comptometer

Comptometer
Invented 1884: featured machine is Model J, Sterling currency, 1926 - early 1940s
Full-keyboard key-driven calculator.

Addiator

Addiator
Invented 1889: featured model 1920s - 1930s
"Troncet" type stylus pocket calculator.

Addometer

Addometer
1900s - 1960s
Dial stylus calculator.

Golden Gem

Golden Gem
1900s -
Chain adder.

The SUN

S & N / The SUN
1910 -
Chain adder.

Monroe LN-160X calculator

Monroe LN-160X
First model 1911: featured model 1950s - 1960s.
Stepped gear calculator with full keyboard.

Brunsviga 10

Brunsviga 10
Mid 1930s.
Compact design of stepped gear calculator.

Curta I

Curta I
1947 - 1970s
Hand-held stepped gear calculator.

Facit C1-13
Facit ESA-01

Facit C1-13 & ESA-01
1950s - 1960s
Hand driven & electrically driven, keyboard-set, pinwheel calculators.

PLUS 506/D/815.357

Plus Adder
1950s - 1960s
Minimalist abbreviated-keyboard key-driven calculator.

Madas

Madas
1950s - 1960s
Electrically driven, full-keyboard stepped-gear calculator with automatic multiplication and division.

Burroughs add-lister

Burroughs add-lister
1960s
Full-keyboard add-lister.

Bowler Countess

Resulta
1950s-early1970s
Disk adding & subtracting machine.

Bowler Countess

Bowler Countess
1950s-early1970s
Low-cost disk adding machine.

Olivetti Electrosumma 22R

Olivetti Electrosumma 22R
1960s
Electrically driven 10-key add-lister.

Muldivo Mentor

Muldivo Mentor / Walther WSR-160
1960s
Rotary pinwheel calculator, with improved setting mechanism.

Nippon Calculator  HL-21

Nippon Calculator / Busicom HL-21
1960s
Rotary pinwheel calculator.

Smith Corona Marchant  1011 SB

Smith-Corona-Marchant 1011 SB
1960s

Electrically driven, 10-key add-lister.

Sumlock Comptometer 993s

Sumlock Comptometer 993s
1964

A very late Comptometer design, electrically driven, with memory register.

Kingson Four-Rule Calculator
Kingson Four-Rule Calculator

Kingson Four-Rule Calculator
1960s - early 1970s

A combined "Addiator" and Slide-Rule.

Imperial Office Master

Imperial Office Master
1970

A very late mechanical 10-key add-lister.

Addfeet Junior

Addiator Addfeet Junior
to 1980s

Feet & Inches Addiator.

This is only a small sample of mechanical calculators. There were many more models from many manufacturers.

For more featured non-decimal machines see the Non-decimal Calculators section.

For featured British mechanical calculators see the British Calculators section.

 

Mechanical calculating machines date from the early 1600s - see the Calculator Time-line Section. Many of the early ones are very rare and are only to be seen in books and museums.

Due to the high cost of the early electronic calculators, many mechanical calculators like the later ones shown here were produced into the early 1970s. They were ousted when cheap LSI (Large-Scale Integration) electronics became available - see the electronic calculator sections.

For photographs of other mechanical calculators see the Mechanical Calculator Photo Library.

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© Text & photographs copyright Nigel Tout   2000-2014 except where noted otherwise.