[SIGCIS-Members] Seeking Information on Adding Machines, Mechanical Calculators, etc. Designed and Used in the U.S. Prior to 1877

Foster, David davidfos at ttu.edu
Fri Dec 23 11:09:06 PST 2022

Thank you, sir! I just downloaded your paper.

I will follow up! Greatly appreciated.


From: Pierre Mounier-Kuhn <mounier at msh-paris.fr>
Date: Friday, December 23, 2022 at 12:36
To: Foster, David <davidfos at ttu.edu>
Cc: members <members at lists.sigcis.org>
Subject: Re: [SIGCIS-Members] Seeking Information on Adding Machines, Mechanical Calculators, etc. Designed and Used in the U.S. Prior to 1877
This email originated outside TTU. Please exercise caution<https://askit.ttu.edu/phishing>!

Hello Dave.

I am very interested in this topic. Recently I attempted to sketch an economic history of this nascent industrial sector, with this exploratory paper written from a European point of view:

I would be glad to discuss the matter with you and other connoisseurs within SIGCIS. Certainly de Colmar’s Arithmometre made its way across the Atlantic, both as direct exports from the Paris workshop or as later clones (Burckhardt, Saxonia through Carl Reuter, etc.). That it "inspired some emulation or other ideas" is obvious, if only with the very name of Felt's "Comptometer". Toward 1900, some 15 companies in Europe were making and marketing Arithmometre clones, so it would be surprising not to find similar ventures in America, along with makers of more modern designs.

Happy Holidays & New Year to all!



Pierre Mounier-Kuhn
CNRS, Sorbonne Université & CentraleSupélec

De: "Foster, David via Members" <members at lists.sigcis.org>
À: "members" <members at lists.sigcis.org>
Envoyé: Vendredi 23 Décembre 2022 18:48:52
Objet: [SIGCIS-Members] Seeking Information on Adding Machines, Mechanical Calculators, etc. Designed and Used in the U.S. Prior to 1877


I have the opportunity to do a research paper for a Spring term historiography course and I’d like to depart from the themes of the assigned readings and return to research in the realm of computing history. Given the chronological constraint of 1877 as the upper year, I can get just a bit into the beginning timeframe of James Cortada’s Before the Computer and had been thinking that devices like de Colmar’s Arithmometre (1820) must have made their way across the Atlantic and inspired some emulation or other ideas. The good people at the reference section of the LOC have given me some useful background and I’ve rec’d some valuable tips on patent search and organization methodologies. I have just started to search the patent history (calculators, adding machines, etc.), but any advice or insights on 19th century American “computing” from the group are greatly appreciated.

Happy Holidays & New Year!

Regards, Dave

Dave Foster
PhD Student
Department of History
Texas Tech University
davidfos at ttu.edu
Learner | Intellection | Context | Ideation | Input

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