David Marion Rush

/

Key Points: While we don’t have a great physical example of the original machine, we do have the patent drawings which depict the invention in good detail. This device has one hundred cogs within it. As an inventor, he developed a washing machine as well as the adding machine. David Marion Rush David Marion Rush […]

Read more

Jacob Schnarrenberger

/

Key Points: While Schnarrenberger had multiple patents, he had two for a calculating machine in which the second improved upon the first model. His invention was made of rubber and steel. His next five patents were for cash registers. Jacob Schnarrenberger Jacob H. Schnarrenberger of Springfield and Greenfield, Ohio, was a holder of quite a […]

Read more
Dr. Walter Snelling

Walter Snelling – Complete Biography, History, and Inventions

/

Key Points: One of his explosive inventions helped the U.S. create the Panama Canal. Dr. Snelling held around 180 patents! He was awarded for discovering propane gas. Who Was Dr. Walter Snelling? Born on December 13, 1880, Dr. Walter Snelling was a chemist and significant contributor to the development of explosives and LP gas. Dr. […]

Read more

Samuel Webb

/

Key Points: Webb’s adding machine could add just 9,999. Many of his inventions and patents dealt with the cotton industry. With over 200 inventions, he specialized in practical devices. Samuel Webb Samuel J. Webb (1862-1909) was a businessman and prolific inventor from Minden, Louisiana. He invented more than 200 devices (for many of them he […]

Read more

Brainard Smith

/

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Brainard Smith Key Points: Brainard Fowler Smith’s adding machines utilized several keys to compute. His second patent was helpful in developing the centigraph. He was a great American inventor who overcame life-long health problems that required him to walk with canes and crutches. Keyboard Adders of Brainard […]

Read more

James Ritty

/

Key Points: James Ritty’s design was basically a keyboard adder. Ritty would have to bring in other business partners and sell his shares of his patent and invention. Ritty’s invention would eventually be purchased and implemented by the modern company National Cash Register (NCR). James Ritty In 1878 one James Ritty (see biography of James […]

Read more
William Robjohn portrait

William Robjohn – Complete Biography, History, and Inventions

/

Key Points: William Robjohn developed the first key-driven calculator with positive control. He and his brother Thomas created many patents across several industries, such as musical instruments, sewing, and calculating. Their contributions to the Odell pipe organ firm helped the company grow and become established. The early work of John Henry and Caleb Sherwood Odell […]

Read more

Harry Humfrey Rumble

/

Key Points: Rumbles’s adding machine was developed to be simple and compact. His invention contained rotating discs, a movable key-bar, plungers, and levers. Rumble also held a Great Britain patent for a retaining wall. Harry Humfrey Rumble On 15 September, 1890, the young architect and civil engineer Harry Humfrey Rumble (1866-1948), from Westgate-on-Sea, a small […]

Read more

Martial Roussel

/

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Martial Roussel Key Points: Roussel’s adding machine was one of the first to use a keyboard. The following patents that he possessed were updates to his adding machine. He was a nominal member of the Amiens Academy until he died. Martial Roussel On 3 October, 1853, Martial […]

Read more
grain meter

Reuben Rodney James – Complete Biography, History, and Inventions

/

Key Points Reuben R. James was an American inventor who lived in the late nineteenth century. He is most famous for inventing an adding machine in 1878 and a grain meter in 1881. In addition to inventing machines, he was a farmer and owned a woolen mill. Who was Reuben Rodney James? Reuben Rodney James […]

Read more

Solomon Pool 2

/

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Solomon Pool Solomon Pool In 1873, Solomon Pool, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, at the time a principal of a school in Cary, NC, patented a small and handy adding machine (US patent 143184) (see the lower image).

Read more

William Pratt – Complete Biography, History, and Inventions

/

Key Points William Pratt was a math teacher and inventor from the seventeenth century. He is most famous for his calculating device called the Arithmetical Jewell in 1616. This small calculating device did not take paper like many others at the time and was small enough to fit inside your pocket. Who was William Pratt […]

Read more
Calculating Machine

Moses and William Pullen – Complete Biography, History, and Inventions

/

Key Points Moses and William Pullen were a father-and-son team of inventors who lived in nineteenth-century England. They are most famous for inventing a calculating machine constructed out of mahogany, rosewood, or walnut called the Bentham Calculating Machine. In addition to his son William, Moses Pullen had seven daughters. Who Were Moses and William Pullen? […]

Read more

Fawcett Plumb

/

Key Points Fawcett Plumb was an American inventor from the nineteenth century. He is most famous for inventing a calculating and adding machine in 1882. In addition to inventing machines, he was also a businessman and politician in Illinois. Fawcett Plumb On 17 June 1881, Fawcett Plumb (1834-1919), a businessman, politician, and prolific inventor from […]

Read more

William Prehn Quentell – Complete Biography, History, and Inventions

/

Key Points William P. Quentell is an American inventor born in 1861. He is most well known for inventing the Keystone and Postal typewriters, which did reach commercial production. He also invented various machines, including a cotton picker, cotton harvester, typesetter, and printing press. Who was William Prehn Quentell? William Prehn Quentell was an American […]

Read more
John Pfeifer’s adding machines

John Pfeifer – Complete Biography, History, and Inventions

/

Key Points John Pfeifer is an inventor from the late 19th century with over sixty patents in his name. John Pfeifer is best known for his five-column adding machine with a keyboard. He also invented an adding machine shaped like a cash register called The Adder Little Giant. Who was John Pfeifer? John Pfeifer was […]

Read more

David Nelson

/

Key Points David Nelson is an inventor born in Ohio in 1835. He is best know for his early calculator patented in 1860. His calculator was likely invented to help his father, who owned several local businesses, including a hotel, tavern, and merchant store.   History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, David Nelson […]

Read more

Moore family

/

Key Points The Moore family consists of Charles, Jacob, and Frank Moore. They held several patents in the 19th century. The Moore family is most famous for inventing an adding machine in 1874. They also invented a window shade fixture and a curtain fixture. Moore family Moore family from New York (Charles Carroll Moore (1827-1902), […]

Read more

Nystrom

/

Key Points: John William Nystrom, a Swedish immigrant who lived in Philadelphia, invented a calculating device, which was presented and received a First Premium at the Franklin Institute Exhibition in 1849. It was patented in 1851. Nystrom, who received his degree in engineering in Stockholm, described his invention in his popular Pocket Book of Mechanics […]

Read more

Max Mayer

/

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Max Mayer Key Points: Max Mayer was a German inventor from Munich who designed an adding machine, obtaining a patent for it in 1884. He also held 3 more German patents and two French patents. While evidence points to the fact that some of these devices were […]

Read more
Macauley

James Alvan Macauley – Complete Biography, History, and Inventions

/

Key Points: In 1896, Alvan Macualey applied for his first patent, which would later become known as US Patent No. 587042, for the cash register. While at Packard, a company known for luxury automobiles, Macualey was instrumental in the development of the very first diesel engine that had the capability of getting an airplane off […]

Read more

Francis Marston

/

History of Computers and Computing, Calculating tools, Gadgets, Francis Marston The Apparatus for Making Calculations of Francis Marston In 1842 a certain Francis Marston of Aston, Parish of Hopesay, County of Salop, England, was granted a British patent №9235 for Apparatus for Making Calculations (see the lower patent drawing). No details are known about this […]

Read more
The practical calculator of Amos Mendenhall (© National Museum of American History, Washington, D.C.)

Amos Mendenhall – Complete Biography, History, and Inventions

/

Key Points: In 1867, Amos Mendenhall of Cerro Gordo, Indiana, patented a practical calculator. During a gold mining endeavor, Mendenhall invented Dredgers; Soil-shifting machines mechanically-driven with digging elements on an endless chain mounted on the floating substructure.  In addition to the calculator and gold mining devices, Mendenhall also held patents on a tricycle and a […]

Read more

William Macnider — Complete Biography, History, & Inventions

/

Key Points: William Macnider is remembered for inventing and patenting a ten key calculator in 1884. The administrator of the patent was Quintin Macnider, as the inventor, William Macnider had died sometime before then. The adding machine of William Macnider was appreciated and described in an article in the popular science magazine, Scientific American, vol. […]

Read more
To top