|"This discussion specifically excludes the four-function calculators of Odhner design which were particularly well suited to general calculation purposes but not very efficient for the high volume business "totaling" application."|
The adding machine was (and still is) most usually an "adder/lister" meaning that it added to its total register and printed each item after being "set" into the keyboard and a handle or bar operated. Both were originally limited to addition and complementary subtraction. Direct subtraction, multiplication and division would have to wait another 20 to 30 years and never appear on key-driven calculators, only key-set machines.
The second difference involves how the machine accepted keyed entries. With adding machines, a two step process was required. Values had first to be "set" into the keyboard and then a crank operated to add it to the running total and print it to the listing device. The key-driven calculator, on the other hand, having no listing mechanism to deal with, added each keyed digit as it was entered to the running total with no second operation required.
As we shall see, the interplay of these two related, yet subtly different technologies was to dominate the first 15 years of both Felt & Tarrant and the Burroughs Corp.
Over the next half century, Burroughs was destined to dominate the (front office) adding machine market while warding off a variety of competitors while Felt & Tarrant's Comptograph would prove only a minor annoyance.
Burroughs' many competitors in the adding machine market, included Dalton with their novel 2-row 10-key keyboard, the Monarch with the now-familiar "square" 10-key layout, the Barrett, the Brennan the Remington, the Sundstrand and, a late but potent entry, Victor Adding Machine Co. Dispite the many challenges, Burroughs continued as a major player long after its machines had been "bested" by competitors.
The company, established in 1919 to market a non-lister, quickly shifted its production to a "true" adding machine with the addition of a printing mechanism.
This original Model 210 sold well and later models appeared sporting additional function keys culminating in the 1930's Model 500 electric. As bulky as they now seem, these early Victors were lighter, simpler and cheaper than the well established Burroughs machines and proved to be a major source of competition.
Johantgen, the original inventor and designer of this early line, died in April of 1932 and it appears that he was not to be replaced for six years of this economically depressed era.
In March of 1938, Victor hired Thomas O. Mehan (creator of the original Brennan machine) to replace Johantgen.
No man to waste time, Mehan promptly designed the model 600, a lightweight, full keyboard machine that had no dial-wheel register, thereby eliminating about half the parts. The model 700 with its 10-key keyboard, however retained the register and still had only one third the parts of the older design! Today's electronic calcs are all of the serial entry type (10 or more keys) and require a register for visual confirmation regardless of whether a printer is present or not. Note that the non-obsolete full keyboard model could omit the register when coupled with a printer. Nobody's fool, this Tom Mehan.