Burroughs' Adding Machine

Patent drawing for Burroughs's calculating machine, 1888
Patent drawing for Burroughs's calculating machine, 1888

Historical Context

Inventor William Steward Burroughs used his past experience as a bank clerk when he began designing his first adding machines in the early 1880s while working for the Boyer Machine Company.

This, his first patent for the adding machine, was granted in 1888. Two years earlier he had founded the American Arithmometer Company company with three others to produce and sell the adding machine. Unfortunately the first models had to be recalled after Burroughs tuned out to be the only person who could operate them.

Burroughs' next model proved more successful and by 1900 they had sold 972 machines. Burroughs himself died in 1898 and the company changed its name to the Burroughs Adding Machine Company in 1904 in tribute. They became the world's largest manufacturer of adding machines broadening their range to include typewriters and ticketeers and later computers. Today the company lives on as part of the Unisys Corporation.

Document Info


Location signed: USA


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