Patent Model of Edmondson's Circular Calculating Machine, 1883

Summary

Mechanical calculators used gears, cogs, levers, and rotating drums to solve mathematical problems indirectly. While Edmondson’s Circular Calculator was rugged and reliable, its "stepped drum" system required people to slide plates and levers, making it difficult to master and time-consuming to operate. By the late-19th century, improved adding machines became popular, helping to reduce the common errors of human calculation.

Mechanical calculators used gears, cogs, levers, and rotating drums to solve mathematical problems indirectly. While Edmondson’s Circular Calculator was rugged and reliable, its "stepped drum" system required people to slide plates and levers, making it difficult to master and time-consuming to operate. By the late-19th century, improved adding machines became popular, helping to reduce the common errors of human calculation.

Artifact

Model (Patent)

Date Made

1883

Creators

Edmondson, Joseph 

Blakey, Emmott & Company, Ltd. 

Place of Creation

United Kingdom, England, Halifax 

Creator Notes

Joseph Edmondson was awarded three British patents for his circular calculating machine in 1883; it was manufactured by Blakey, Emmott and Co., Ltd.

Location

Not on exhibit to the public.

Object ID

31.1217.110

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Edison Laboratories.

Material

Wood (Plant Material)
Metal
Brass (Alloy)
Ceramic (Material)
Felt (Textile)
Paper (Fiber product)
Printed

Dimensions

Height: 5.5 in

Width: 17 in

Length: 19.25 in

Inscriptions

MADE FOR THE PATENTEE J. EDMONDSON. HALIFAX, ENGLAND, BY BLAKEY, EMMOTT & CO. LTD. [brass plaque] EDMONDSON'S CIRCULAR CALCULATING MACHINE / NOTA BENE / (operating instructions) [inside case]

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