William Hopkins – Biography, History and Inventions

William Hopkins

William Wallace Hopkins was born on 16 November, 1850, in Boone County, Indiana, USA, to Albert Hopkins (1818-1905) and Margaret Caldwell Hopkins (1830-1907) from Kentucky. William was the first child, and had 4 brothers and 3 sisters.

William was interested in mechanics and construction of machines since his youth, but eventually worked as a minister.

William Hopkins lived in Bourbon County, Kansas, since 1874/1875, where he served as a minister, before to move with his family to St. Louis in 1885, accepting the position of a chaplain and then a pastor of St. Louis Second Christian Church. He continued to invent during those years, trying to find better ways to make an adding machine. In the 1890s, he left Second Christian Church and became assistant editor of the company, that published the weekly newspaper The Christian Evangelist

In the early 1900s William Hopkins founded Standard Adding Machine Company, based on Spring Avenue, St. Louis (later became New Standard Adding Machine Company), which was the first company to release to the market a successful 10-key adding machine, launched in 1902. The Standard machine achieved a big success because it was much less expensive to manufacture and simpler to use.

The building, built in 1903 to house Standard Adding Machine Company

The building, built in 1903 to house Standard Adding Machine Company, now Aquinas Institute of Theology

William Hopkins married in April, 1874, in Hersey, St. Croix County, Wisconsin, to Tamara Losina Adams (1855-1931). The couple had five children: Ethel (b. 1883), Albert Addison (1875-1936), William Francis (1877-1964), Nellie (1880-1962), Minnie (1874-1945).

Hopkins was a holder of 10 patents for calculating machines. His younger brother—Hubert Hopkins (01.Nov.1859-27.Feb.1930), worked together with him and was also a famous inventor of calculating machines.

William Wallace Hopkins died on 10 November, 1916, in Saint Louis, Missouri, and was buried in Zion Cemetery.