- In 1858, Leonard N. Nutz invented the fourth patented keyboard adder in the US–a single-column adding machine.
- Up through 1880, the US patent office required inventors to submit a physical model of their creations. No such model exists for Leornard Nutz’s invention.
- Nutz also designed and built a compass for surveyor Benaiah Robinson in 1853, which is currently kept in the collection of the Madison County Historical Society.
Who Was Leonard Nutz?
Born Leonard Nice Nutz, he was an inventor and machinist born in October 1810 in Germantown.
From Alton, Illinois, Leonard held the patent for USA’s fourth keyboard adder, the single-column adding device. He received this patent on August 17, 1858, when he was 48 years old.
- Full Name
- Leonard Nutz
- October 14, 1810
- November 16, 1870
- Susanna Nice, William, Francis Johnston, Leonard McDonald, Rebecca, Theodore Marston, Charles, Carrie Belle, Harry, Mary, George Washington, and Rebecca (died in infancy).
- Place of Birth
- Fields of Expertise
- Calculating Machines, Automobiles
Leonard died on November 16, 1870.
Leonard was named after his grandfather, Leonard Nutz Sr. He was born on October 14, 1810, in Germantown to the family of William Nutz and Susannah Nice.
Much about the early life of Leonard isn’t really known, although, we know that he and his younger brother John worked as tanners with their father who was one of the wealthiest people in Germantown.
Leonard Nutz lived in St. Louis between 1847 and 1858, approximately about 10 years. During this period, he was listed several times in the St. Louis City Directory.
First, in 1848 he was listed as a machinist, residing at 158 Olive Street. Leonard was next listed in 1851, giving machinist as his trade. In the 1852 Directory, He was again listed as a machinist, located at 10 Second Street. In the 1857 Directory, Leonard was listed as a mathematical and philosophical instrument maker.
What Did Leonard Nutz Invent?
Leonard Nutz received the patent for a single-column adding device, which was popularly regarded as the fourth keyboard adder founded in the USA. The earlier three machines are those of Du Bois D. Parmelee, Orlando Lane Castle, and Thomas Hill. Leonard’s machine was also the seventh adding device across the world, after the machines of James White, Torchi, and Schwilgué.
Leonard’s patent was assigned to the Alton lawyer, Irwin Blackman Randle, and Alton businessman, Elias Hibbard who obviously ordered the device to Nutz.
However, apart from the patent, nothing is known about Leonard’s simple adding machine. So, probably it remained only on paper and the assignors (Randle and Hibbard) didn’t manage to set up its production. Even the original U.S. Patent Model (up to 1880, the Patent Office required inventors to submit a model with their patent application) seems to be lost or destroyed.
Leonard Nutz also designed and built a nice compass for surveyor Benaiah Robinson in 1853. The compass is 19inches long and 8.25 inches in diameter. This device has survived to our time and is currently kept in the collection of the Madison County Historical Society.
There’s an interesting fact about Leonard Nutz’s accomplishment. At the time that he registered his patent (November 24, 1857 to be exact), there was another inventor living in Alton, Illinois at the same time–Orlando Lane Castle–who also registered his first patent with the US patent office several months before Nutz. Orlando L. Castle was a Professor at Shurtleff College, known as a metaphysician, mathematician, and logician. He patented numerous inventions, including two calculating machines. Is it mere coincidence that these two created similar inventions? As Nutz was a machinist, it’s entirely possible that they were acquainted, and that Nutz even helped Castle in building his prototypes.
Leonard Nutz: Marriage, Divorce, Children, and Personal Life
One year after his wife’s death (Rebecca), Leonard remarried Susan Catherine Cochran in November 1846.
Leonard Nutz married twice. His first marriage was held in 1836 when he married Rebecca Clutch in Clermont, Ohio. Unfortunately, Rebecca died barely 9 years into their marriage, causing Leonard to remarry.
Having married two different women, Leonard had a total of 11 children. He had 5 children with his first wife: Susanna Nice, William, Francis Johnston, Leonard McDonald, and Rebecca.
Children he had with his second wife, Susan Catherine Cochran are Theodore Marston, Charles, the twins Carrie Belle and Harry, Mary, George Washington, and Rebecca who died in infancy.
Leonard Nice Nutz lost his first wife, Rebecca Clutch, just 9 years after their marriage, leaving him to cater to 5 children alone. The machinist also lost his last child, Rebecca, during infancy.
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