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An Early (1844) Key-Driven Adding Machine
January-March 2008 (vol. 30 no. 1)
pp. 59-65
Denis Roegel, LORIA
This article presents Jean-Baptiste Schwilguć's 1844 adding machine, which was equipped with a number of unique features, in particular with what was apparently the first numerical keyboard.

1. An overview of mechanical computers can be found in G.C. Chase, "History of Mechanical Computing Machinery," Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 2, no. 3, 1980, pp. 198-226, but Chase did not address the present material.
2. G. Ifrah, The Universal History of Computing, vol. 2,John Wiley &Sons, 2001, p. 503.
3. Calculating-Machine, Specification of Letters, US patent 7,074, to D.D. Parmelee Patent and Trademark Office, 5 Feb. 1850.
4. J.A.V. Turck, Origin of Modern Calculating Machines: A Chronicle of the Evolution of the Principles that Form the Generic Make-Up of the Modern Calculating Machine, Western Soc. of Engineers, 1921, p. 33.
5. "Ibid," p. 18, 26.
6. Hereafter, "Schwilgué" refers to Jean-Baptiste Schwilguéand his son, when I discuss "Schwilgué's machine." Otherwise, "Schwilgué" refers to Jean-Baptiste Schwilgué
7. J.-B Schwilgué and C. Schwilgué Brevet 623 pour un additionneur mécanique [Patent #623 for a mechanical adding machine], 1844 Institut National de la PropriétéIndustrielle [French Patent Office], (in French)
8. J.-B Schwilgué, and C. Schwilgué, Des horloges du système Schwilgué, pour églises, chemins de fer, établissements publics et particuliers, [Schwilgué-type clocks for churches, railway stations, public companies, and private citizens], Dannbach, Strasbourg, 1846 (in French).
9. F.J. Britten, The Watch &Clockmakers' Handbook, Dictionary and Guide, 14th ed., Chemical Publishing Co., 1938, "All or Nothing Piece," p. 5, and "Striking Work," p. 417, entries.
10. T. Olivier, "Nomenclature chronologique des instruments àcalcul," Bulletin de la sociétéd'encouragement pour l'industrie nationale, [Chronological list of calculating instruments], Sept. 1843, pp. 415-421 (in French).
11. R. Taton and J.-P Flad, Le calcul mécanique, [Mechanical computing], vol. 367 of "Que sais-je?," Presses Universitaires de France, 1963, (in French).
12. E. Martin, "The Calculating Machines (Die Rechenmaschinen): Their History and Development, translation of the original 1925 German edition," MIT Press, 1992, pp. 137-139.
13. A. Berthier, "Machines àcalculer," [Calculating machines], Cosmos no. 1117, 1906, pp. 687-690.
14. According to James Glaisher, who doesn't mention Schilt, the main calculating machines shown at the exhibition were those of Staffel (which could compute square roots) and Thomas. It is easy to guess that Schilt's machine received little attention. J. Glaisher, "On Philosophical instruments and processes, as represented in the great Exhibition," Lectures on the results of the Great Exhibition of 1851 delivered before the Society of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce, at the suggestion of H.R.H. Prince Albert, David Bogue, pp. 323-402.
15. Schilt was born in Grenchen, near Solothurn in Switzerland, and went to work in Strasbourg in Schwilgué's workshop, where he was mainly busy working on tower clocks. When he returned to Switzerland, he built many tower clocks around Solothurn. (Information on Schilt from P. Kidwell, Smithsonian Institution.)
16. Schwilguédid not attend this exhibition, as it appears from a letter he wrote to Richard Roberts on 31 July 1851; MS 1481/2 Science Museum Library, London
17. M. d'Ocagne, "Histoire des machines àcalculer," [History of calculating machines], Bulletin de la sociétéd'encouragement pour l'industrie nationale, vol. 132, Sept.-Oct. 1920, pp. 554-559 (in French), Sept.-Oct. 1920, pp. 545-760, cover mechanical calculating machines.
18. M. d'Ocagne and Le Calcul Simplifié, Graphical and Mechanical Methods for Simplifying Calculation, MIT Press, 1986, translation of the 1928 French edition.
19. Turck, Origin, p. 11.
20. "Exposition publique de machines àcalculer anciennes et modernes catalogue explicatif des objets déposés [Public exhibition of ancient and modern calculating machines, catalogue of the exhibited items, with descriptions]," Bulletin de la sociétéd'encouragement pour l'industrie nationale, vol. 132, Sept.-Oct. 1920, pp. 608-644 (in French).
21. Martin, Calculating Machines.
22. J. Marguin, Histoire des instruments et machines àcalculer—Trois siècles de mécanique pensante, 1642–1942, [History of calculating instruments and calculating machines—Three centuries of thinking mechanics] Hermann, 1994, (in French).
23. Ifrah, Universal History, p. 132.
24. Note that Marguin mentions Schwilguéobliquely, not in the context of key-driven calculating machines.
25. S. Le Normand and A. Janvier, Nouveau manuel complet de l'horloger, ou guide des ouvriers, qui s'occupent de la construction des machines propres àmesurer le temps, [New complete clockmaker's manual, or guide of the workers who construct machines for measuring time] Paris, Librairie encyclopédique Roret, 1837, (in French).
26. Turck, Origin, pp. 159-162.
27. There have been other cases of clockmakers who built calculating machines, among them Philipp Matthäus Hahn (1739–1790), Izrael Abraham Staffel (1814–1884), and Curt Dietzschold (1852–1922).

Index Terms:
adding mechanism, carrying, keyboard
Denis Roegel, "An Early (1844) Key-Driven Adding Machine," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 30, no. 1, pp. 59-65, Jan.-March 2008, doi:10.1109/MAHC.2008.1
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