Comptometer - The Operators
( Important note )
It is with great sadness that on Agust 22, 2007, I found it necessary to close off any further postings here. There has always been a certain amount of offensive and/or obscene 'graffit-e' requiring periodic culling, a burdensome and time-consuming task. And, since early 2004, a huge increase in trival (albeit well-meaning) posts have added considerable clutter. Now web-crawlers seem to be at work, sniffing out postable pages and leaving promotional messages with irrelavant links. This has just become too much trouble to monitor and maintain.
For those who have a need to contact me, there is always eMail and I would strongly suggest you include the word "Comptometer" in the subject line to insure getting past the spam filters.
Finally, I'd like to thank all those wonderful, surely aged operator and/or their heirs, who have been so kind as to post their fond rememberences for all posterity. And I am grateful that this website has found such a receptive readership. Thank you all.
Comptometers - The Operators
Trained, efficient operators were to become the backbone of the Comptometer's success. During the late 1890s, the growth in back office calculations threatened to overwhelm the economic boom then in progress.
As the Columbian Exposition opened on the Chicago midway in 1893, Felt & Tarrant's exhibit attracted throngs who marvelled at a machine that boasted it could "perform all arithmatical problems". While certainly true, the primary commercial value lie in its ability to perform high speed addition and, with the introduction of the A-model in 1904, efficient, accurate multiplication.
Felt soon realized that he would have to open his own schools, stock them with his machines and provide the quantity and quality of operators with the skills needed to run his Comptometers. Thus he created the partnership between operator and machine that would guarantee success over the coming decades.
In today's terms, the Compts were the hardware and they were the software. Martin tells us that these early "keyboardists" carried out between 50,000 and 200,000 keystrokes a day! And never a peep about carpel tunnel syndrome.
Bob De Cesaris, a long-time Compt collector relates...
"I can vividly recall the first one I ever bought from a very elderly lady who was an operator. She clearly loved the machine and had kept it in wonderful condition. I had a discussion with her on exactly how she used it, problems, using 5 and 4 instead of 9, etc. She told me she felt very good about my buying it from her. I paid $25, set by her, no dickering from me. Her comments made my day. A week later she drove to my house (10 miles) to deliver the instruction booklet that she had found."
A very readable (and brief) recollection of Comptometer operators appears here
Most of these operators are no longer with us and those who remain are in their 70s and 80s. This archive is dedicated to them, their memories and the memories of those who knew them.
God Bless 'em
Date: Mon Apr 19 00:54:49 1999
Operator: Noelle Elizabeth Mackay
Comments: Trained by Peacock Bros in Melbourne, Australia.
Many happy memories and friendship built during
those years. Eventually employed by Peacock Bros
when they were in Bourke Street, Melbourne.
Date: Sat Jul 3 18:32:55 1999
Operator: Evangaline Hazel Tarnow
Proxy: Robert Guildig
Comments: She Worked for The Chicago Northwestern Railroad. Born 1897, Died 5-20-99. 1 month after her 102nd birthday. Never married.
Date: Sun Dec 26 18:55:21 1999
Operator: Hazel Doll Hansen
Comments: After graduating from Central High School in 1925, I took comptometer lessons at Russell's Comptometer School at 17th and Douglas in Omaha, Nebraska. The instructor had the manual, but the students didn't have copies; we were handed worksheets to practice from during class. There were about 25 other students in the class.
Out of school I applied to Union Pacific and the telephone company, but wasnt't hired, because, at this time, I would have been taking a man's position. Then I went to work at Paxton & Gallager, the home of Butternut Coffee. I was paid $60 each month. I was in the profit and loss department with 20 other girls. Then for $80 a month, I moved to McKord Brady. They went under. Then I went to H.A. Marr. These were all in the warehouse district of Omaha which is now called the Old Market. This area is now mostly shops, restaurants, and upscale apartments. After H.A. Marr, I went to Hested's variety store were I again worked in the profit and loss department.
At all places, I answered telephones and took orders from salesmen while using a 12 column comptometer machine. The salesmen would call in an order and I'd look up the prices for canned peaches, toothpicks, flour or whatever. I remember the salesman Stewart calling in with an order for a cap. I couldn't find the price of the cap because the price lists were like newspapers and caps had nothing to do with groceries.
I retired at 65. In January 2000, I'll be 92 years old.
I'd like to thank you for this web page and the opportunity to communicate with other comptometer operators.
Date: Wed Feb 9 22:22:42 2000
Operator: Myrtle Richter
Proxy: Don Richter
Comments: My grandmother, Myrtle Richter, died in 1998. As part of my inheritence I recieved all photos and paperwork of hers. In it I found a wallet sized certificate for The Comptometer School of Montreal. The paperwork was signed March/28/58. Her student number was 57063. Thats in the right hand bottom corner. In the left hand bottom corner is the number stamp 1395. I had no idea what it was for. Today it dawned on me as I was going through the paperwork again, that I would be able to find out what a comptometer was. I found this site using a search engine. I found it very interesting. Plus it gave me insite into what my grandmother was doing the year I was born. The certificate also says Canadian Comptometer Limited. Chicago U.S.A.
Date: Sat Sep 30 21:44:19 2000
Operator: Olga Schwarzkoph (Does)
Proxy: Dean Maxwell
Comments: Worked in the Bronx NY in the 1930's Mother of Doris Does
Born in 1898 in Langendorf in the Austro-Hungarian Empire
Died in 1949 in the Bronx
Worked in diferant firms - high demand - climbed 5 flights of stairs daily at the end of work with her Compt.
Date: Thu Dec 14 15:55:21 2000
Operator: Eleonora Kanbergs
Proxy: Aija Kanbergs
Comments: My mother, a European immigrant, had been working in a garment factory in San Francisco in the early 1950s, and wanted to get a better job. She attended Comptometer school some time between 1955 and 1958. I remember that she was allowed to bring the machine home - it was green, I think, and she would sit at the dining room table practicing on it. After graduation, she got a job with Blake Moffitt & Towne, a paper manufacturing company in San Francisco. She loved being out of the house and earning what was then good money (definitely more than the $1 an hour she earned as a "bundler" at the shirt factory!) and working with other women, and dealing with the salesmen who would bring in their numbers to be "crunched", to use an anachronism. She was very fast & accurate, got raises, and was the favorite of the sales guys. It turned out to be her last job - my father moved us all to the Peninsula, and insisted that my mother stop working.
Date: Wed Jan 17 13:28:29 2001
Operator: Edna Cosnett
Comments: I was trained at the Birmingham (England) Comptometer School in 1937.The school work was very boring, tiny 'adding books' to be got through as quickly as one was capable ,although the School Motto was 'Accuracy Before Speed'.And the rules for the use of the control key had to be learned by heart -I still remember them today. But we also had fun ,every year there was a concert at Birmingham Town Hall with quite famous people to entertain us.I know we 'Comps' are now museum pieces ourselves but I enjoyed my life and have an old J machine by my side while I type this,and I use it regularly.
Date: Fri Mar 16 02:25:19 2001
Operator: Heather Bell
Proxy: Bernard Morey
Comments: My mother, now in her mid-70s, was a Comptometer operator at the Port Lincoln (South Australia) Water Board, Tasman Terrace, until just before I was born in 1953. She was trained at Peacock's, Adelaide.
Her job involved doing the pay sheets for the Engineering and Water Supply Branch for the whole of Eyre Peninsula. The machine was a 9 column one, and she was so fast fellow employees used to come and watch her operate it. She had no trouble with division and subtraction.
She chose the Comptometer as a profession after completing school with the encouragement of her mother. Nanna (as I knew her) said Comptometer operating was better than being a typiste as they got paid more. They did indeed get paid more, but only 5/- a week as it turned out.
Date: Tue Mar 20 13:12:35 2001
Operator: Joan S. Carpenter
Proxy: Joan S. White
Comments: I was just out of high school, no money for college, and no skills to offer.
My mother found the local Comptometer School in San Jose, CA and we decided it would provide me with the ability to eventually find a job and pay my way.
I didn't graduate, because the school found me a job with Hart & Sons Department store and I stayed with that job for nearly a year.
I have often wondered what happened to all the Comptometer Operators who attended school in San Jose, and how long they used their skills.
Date: Thu Mar 22 08:06:15 2001
Operator: Mildred Fotherington
Proxy: Sharon Maycock
Comments: I have recently met Mildred, who I care for in her home. She has told me about how she was taught to use the comptometer and some of its' history, and I have promised to print off the info on this site for her to read. How can she get in touch with other users? Thank you.
Date: Sat Mar 31 13:31:16 2001
Operator: jean long
Comments: From London I worked for the F.M.C. in Shaftsbury Avenue around 1958. Now living in Essex and would like to hear of similar operators.
Date: Wed Apr 18 14:08:44 2001
Comments: After leaving secretarial college in 1970 I applied for a typing job at the Building Research Station in Garston, Herts. I wasn't a fast enought typist for them and was offered a trainee comptometer operator position. At the time I had never heard of comptometers. I was sent to London for a 5 week comptometer course. As I worked for a quantity surveyor most of the work was basic 4 operand calculations and square roots. The machines were electric and the 2 desks were sent out to have 'wells' put in. I have just purchased a comptometer from a junk shop and am practicing my very rusty skills!!
Date: Tue Apr 24 10:40:21 2001
Operator: Norma Vescovi
Proxy: Norma Mifsud
Comments: At Balboa High School in San Francico, Cal. I learned to operate the Comptometer from a very fine teacher who at that time seemed to be in her late 70's, Her name was Helen T. York. My employment was at Langendorf United Bakeries, from 1950 to 1958. I was one of 10 comptometer operators in the office. Just last week, I finally bought my long lost "love" an H model comptometer, and "it works!"
N.M. Wilton, California
Date: Tue Sep 25 08:23:59 2001
Proxy: Vagabondo (sysop)
Comments: ...I've been having no end of trouble from my ISP with keeping this page accessible. Everytime I fix it, they break it! PLEASE, PLEASE, let me know if you are not able to post here (see email address above).
Date: Sat Jan 19 13:08:30 2002
Operator: Gerald R. Rising
Comments: As a primary school student in the 1930s -- aged five to eight -- I enjoyed accompanying my father, an accountant and later treasurer of a small company, when he occasionally went to his office to work on weekends. I loved to play with the Comptometer and the Burroughs Adding Machine that were normally the province of trained secretaries. I recall adding numbers like 1234567 + 7654321 (in that case following the keys diagonally) and being delighted with the patterns of the sums. I even remember my dad showing me how to check calculations by casting out the nines.
Those experiences certainly contributed to my turning to mathematics for a career. I have spent my entire adult life studying and teaching mathematics. Now in semi-retirement I am writing a book, "How Your Computer Calculates," that will certainly include the comptometer in its brief survey of the history of calculation.
Date: Tue Jan 29 09:14:36 2002
Operator: Babs Ruff
Proxy: Christine Ellis
Comments: I used to work for Harris Lebus in Tottenham, London, England as a young lady (aged 18). I was a trained comptometer operator. My status during World War II was a 'reserved occupation', as when Harris Lebus (a furniture company) went over to war work all my calculations were on specialist aircraft measurements on timber. The planes were probably gliders, which were made from layers of veneers, also aircraft wings for other aircraft.
I have my last comptometer in my attic which is electric.
Latterly, I worked for an engineering company in Buckinghamshire as their wage clerk. All calculations on wages were then on an electric comptometer, which is the one that I still have.
I always thoroughly enjoyed figure work so I have fond memories of that time. Multiplication was always a challenge because you could multiply over the machine using all ten digits. Addition was, to me, delightful. Never looking at the machine and adding huge columns of figures and money calculations and at times holding a conversation with another operator!
My first comp was not electric so therefore depressions were harder. Maybe through this, although I am a tiny person, I have a terrific hand span! My years of being a wage clerk, subject to audit, in the company I worked for was unbelievably accurate. The accountants would always say my work was always 99% accurate with 1% self corrected. When my company replaced my comptometer work with a computer (that I did not operate) the standards of accuracy dropped 50%! Because a computer is only as clever as the person inputting data!! I wonder how many of you agree with this?
I still enjoy any opportunity to use figures.
Babs Ruff (age 80)
My Mum is as smart as a whip and can beat all of us with any mental arithmetic and calculations of any sort. She misses the challenge of working accurately but works quickly and intelligently on all kinds of word puzzles, especially crosswords. She is terrific.
Christine Ellis (daughter)
Date: Tue Jan 29 09:30:46 2002
Operator: Babs Ruff (Jenny Wren)
Proxy: Christine Ellis
Comments: Just an extra thought- people today who use a computer keyboard daily have no idea what it was like to pound at a comptometer. There is no comparison with the light touch today and the pressure that was needed on comptometer keys to complete one calculation. I do not know of one comptometer operator who ever had a medical problem- were we tough in those days?
The hours per day were also long, 9-6 for me, with half hour lunch and tea breaks taken at your desk, especially during the war.
Stocktaking was a hoot! Seven day week, no real breaks, for three weeks. At the end of it nobody knew what day it was! All for One pound ten shillings sterling a week.
Oh dear, this was meant to be just a thought!
Date: Sun Apr 21 14:08:25 2002
Operator: Merriam Langdon
Comments: I bought one at a garage sale the other day. I'm trying to find someone who can tell me how it works. I'm 22.
Date: Thu Apr 25 13:55:53 2002
Operator: M. J. Massey
Comments: I took my Diploma in 1957,In Manchester UK, before migrating to Australia, where I had to operate a Burroughs machine ! -at the Australian National Shipping Line, Melbourne,
I remember the great annual shows that were held at the Free Trade Hall Manchester with top line performers to entertain the gathering of operators.
Date: Thu May 2 10:30:29 2002
Operator: Babs Ruff (Jenny Wren)
Proxy: Christine Ellis
Comments: My mum has been reminiscing with an old friend (Vera Brown)who trained at Felt and Tarrant in London, England. She trained my mum to use the comptometer. Apparently during the war the girls were not allowed to attend training in London (because of air raids etc) and girls who had graduated were given permission to teach trainees at the workplace. Vera was my mum's teacher and became her best friend.
Vera told my mum a story this weekend that will amuse all operators. Vera went for a job in a company that had 5 'comptometer operators'. She was employed on the spot as she told them that she could divide!!! They all stopped to watch when Vera did addition. They had never seen someone use it that way before. She promptly had to teach all the others!
My mum had a similar experience when she left London to work at a company in the countryside.
Date: Sat Jul 20 09:50:31 2002
Operator: Evelyn Johnson
Comments: I worked on a comptometer in Sioux Falls, SD from 1942- 1945. And again in Omaha until 1950.
I had to train for 3 months to use it. I made $60 a month and felt rich.
Date: Sat Jul 27 10:46:26 2002
Operator: Goldie L. Galinsky
Proxy: David Nesius
Comments: I thought this might be appropriate as a memorial to this lady.
Goldie L. Galinsky
Goldie L. Galinsky, age 100, of Hammond, IN, passed away Thursday, July 25, 2002. She is survived by one son, James A. (Carolyn) Galinsky of Hollister, MO; one daughter, Elizabeth A. (Thomas) Powers of Dyer, IN; three grandchildren, Rev. Gregory J. Powers of Fort Wayne, IN, James D. (Laura) Galinsky of Ogden Dunes, IN and Leigh Ann Galinsky of Ballwin, MO; one great-granddaughter, Gillian Galinsky of Ogden Dunes, IN. Preceded in death by her husband, John H. Galinsky, in 1994.
Funeral services will be held Monday, July 29, 2002 at 12:30 p.m. from LaHayne Funeral Home, 6955 Southeastern Ave., Hammond, IN with Rev. James Facklam officiating. Burial, Elmwood Cemetery, Hammond, IN. Friends are invited to meet with the family on Sunday from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to Plymouth Congregational Church, 119th and Stanton, P.O. Box 328, Whiting, IN 46394.
Mrs. Galinsky was a resident of this area for 95 years. A retired Comptometer Operator from U.S. Lead Company of Hammond, IN and a member of the Pine Street Presbyterian Church of Hammond, IN, where she was past president of the Women's Association of the church. Information 219-845-3600.
Date: Mon Aug 5 04:36:53 2002
Operator: Celia Bowley
Proxy: Celia Piper
Date: Mon Aug 5 04:56:38 2002
Operator: Celia Bowley
Proxy: Celia Piper
Comments: trained at London in 1958. Worked for Burberry in the Haymarket and Greison Oldhams and Adams wine wholesalers Haymarket. Last worked for Amalamated dental Walton on Thames. I also have a machine 993s also all my charts and hand written notes. As Im moving soon, if anyone is interested it needs a good home.
Date: Fri Aug 9 03:11:26 2002
Operator: Celia Bowley
Proxy: Celia Piper
Comments: Sorrey wrong email address in my previous notes.
Date: Wed Sep 18 08:03:58 2002
Operator: June Massey
Comments: Training & gaining a Diploma in Manchester, England, and the wonderful social gatherings in the Free Trade Hall---arranged by Felt & Tarrant, of all the Manchester operators--- before going to Melbourne Australia in 1957,and finding Sumlock and Burroughs machines instead.....
Date: Sun Nov 10 00:11:01 2002
Operator: Noelle Mackay (Nee Endersby)
Comments: On an earlier entry I put down my current surname
instead of my maiden name; my maiden name was the
one used when I was at Peacock Bros in Melbourne.
Date: Thu Nov 28 10:30:55 2002
Comments: Thanks for all your effort in creating this web site. My 72 year old ex-comptometer operator wife is so overwhelmed by all the information on her occupation many years ago. Tears and contemplation are erupting. Thanks again, Richard and Maria Hammond
Date: Thu Nov 28 10:31:52 2002
Comments: Thanks for all your effort in creating this web site. My 72 year old ex-comptometer operator wife is so overwhelmed by all the information on her occupation many years ago. Tears and contemplation are erupting. Thanks again, Richard and Maria Hammond
Date: Mon Dec 9 20:43:37 2002
Operator: jackie arrowsmith
Lovely website! So nice to see that so many of us are still around and with fond memories of pounding away at the old comp!
I was trained in 1959 at Peacock Bros., Martin Place, Sydney, Australia.
I have enjoyed a variety of wonderful, well-paid jobs over the years.
I travelled extensively in the 60s and 70s and worked in New Zealand, Canada and the U.K. as well as my native Australia, and never had a problem securing a job with the great training I had.
My first job in Vancouver was in 1967 at Palm Dairies, and I clearly remember the rest of the office staff there stopping their work to watch me operate the machine. They were fascinated to see me add using both hands as they had been trained to add with only one!
I empathise with the lady who wrote about the annual stocktake! I'll never forget those long days (and nights)pounding away for hours on end in a small room surrounded by numerous other operators - until the job was done.
I still have my diploma,still remember my fractions for every farthing from 1/4 to 11 3/4 and the rule for division is etched forever on my brain - catch up, make less, move over!
Cheers to all the Comptometer Operators out there!
Date: Sat Jan 11 19:30:23 2003
Operator: Margaret Stevenson
Comments: Trained at the comptometer school in Harrow in London.Worked at the London Transport offices at Hillingdon,Sanderson fabrics in Uxbridge and Plessey Aircraft Spares in Slough before moving to Melbourne in 1965.
Love to get hold of a comptometer to show my kids how hard we worked...and with great accuracy.
Date: Fri Jan 17 06:17:01 2003
Operator: Elsie Knox
Comments: I worked at the Manchester Ship Canal Co. in Manchester England from 1922 to 1933. I started as a shorthand typist at the age of 14 but with the introduction of comptometers I was one of the very first to be asked to use one.
Date: Mon Apr 7 18:48:01 2003
Operator: May Afross
Proxy: Jack Nass
Comments: Please let me know if you have any record of May Afross having trained as an operator. Thank You.
Date: Fri Apr 11 07:03:51 2003
Operator: harrison lily
Date: Mon Aug 4 17:02:54 2003
Operator: Iris (Adams) Craig
Comments: I was trained by Peacock Bros, Martin Place, Sydney, N.S.W. Australia in 1931. My first position was for Hordern Bros in Sydney helping out with their inventory. At that time I started at 6 pence per hour.
MY FIRST EXPERIENCE IN THE USA!
The key board on the Comptometer in Australia was set up for the English currency of Pounds, Shillings and Pence. I found a comptometer school in El Paso and went there to brush up on the new (American) style of comptometer. As I was adding up columns of figures I suddenly realized that there was dead silence. I looked around and everyone was just looking at me. I asked them, "What is the matter?" The instructor said they had never seen anyone adding on the machine with both hands before. He immediately asked me if I wanted a job. I said, "Yes!" I went for the interview and started with Standard Oil of Texas the next day.
During my working years, which began in 1931 and ended in 1992, the most interesting position was for a Cattle Company it was an entirely different experience.
Yes Jackie, I also can remember all of my decimals, a farthing = .00104166'
Date: Mon Aug 11 20:45:29 2003
Operator: Myrtle Walker
Comments: The lessons learned taught me self confidence in my work and thinking through problems. The cross balancing was a wonderful way to know you were right on! I traveled the state of Arizona demonstrating at highschools to recruit students. You didn't have to have a highschool education as the lessons were very thorough and logical.
Date: Thu Aug 14 01:01:39 2003
Operator: Iris Craig
Comments: When I went to work for the Cattle Company it was an entirely different world. First I had to take care of all of the feed we bought, the receivings, statement for each firm and then the paying of each. The company kept different 'Lots' of steers they were holding and feeding for other cattlemen. The one thing I had never thought of was the medication given to the steers. So each day I received a list of each lot of steers and the medication they had received that day. This information I entered in the computer and it was billed to the customer we were holding them for.
I also helped enter in the computer how much feed was given to the Lots of cattle so that it could be billed to the customer who owned them.
By the time I started working for this company, in 1989, the Comptometer was outdated so when not on the computer I had to use an adding machine. I own a very old Comptometer and when the Historical Society opens their building up again in September I am going to donate it to them along with an old Comptometer instruction book.
Date: Sun Sep 21 17:33:52 2003
Operator: Patricia Coyle (nee Emonds)
Comments: I am 58 years old and my sister is 64, we were both trained at Sumlock, Comptometer School in Glasgow, Scotland. I came to Canada in 1968 and worked at Robert Simpson as a Comptometer Operator until 1972. I then went on to work at Miracle Food Mart as a Comptometer Operator from 1974 until 1977. The company then moved to using a Telxon data entry machine, we operators combined this with the use of our Comps until 1987. By this time it was almost impossible to have them serviced, we were then forced to use calculators and from there a computerized business software system.
I wish I had an old Comp, I used a manual one back in 1976, as there were more operators than electric Comps to satisfy the department. This site brought back many memories. To this day I cannot use a calculator or operate my PC at work without having a pen or pencil in my right hand.
I find anyone under fifty has no idea what a Comptometer is, except for my kids of course. I sent this website to my son in BC, he had already checked it out for himself.
Thanks once more.
Date: Thu Oct 23 04:20:55 2003
Comments: My name is Gwendolyn. After graduating North High School in Minneapolis in 1938, I attended Felt and Tarrant's Comptometer School. I would ride the streetcar from North Minneapolis for an hour across to the city limits. Because the school was two blocks into St. Paul, and to avoid paying another token, I would walk the last two blocks.
The course taught many various business procedures. I remember spending hours proacticing adding columns from a long narrow workbook and writing the totals down to be graded.
After recieving my diploma, the school sent me to work at Gamble Skogmo Grocery Warehouse. Years later I was employed at Cargill Grain in the accounting dept. We had electric, twelve column Comptometers for adding large figures on a daily sales. The Burroughs Electric Calulator was used to divide or multiply.
While raising my family, I worked for Victor's Temporaries. I was sent to companies for part-time jobs. I retired at 66 years and I am 83 years old. I own a eight column Comptometer. I enjoyed reading about other Comptometer Operators.
Date: Mon Nov 3 05:41:01 2003
Operator: Paula Sarvis
Comments: When attending Detroit Business Institute (now Detroit College of Business) 1959-1960, required classes for an Executive Secretary degree included learning Comptometer operation. Once "getting the hang of it", the operation was actually pretty fun! Throughout my work history I was never called upon to use my skill with a comptometer - never even saw one after leaving the school - and always wondered just why this was a requirement??!!
Date: Tue Nov 11 12:30:19 2003
Operator: Pat Bradley
Proxy: Pat Bradley Hall
Comments: Taking the course at Felt & Tarrant, Detoit, Michigan
Doing payrole at Chrysler Corp in Windsor, Ontario
Mark-up at G.W. Robinson, Hamilton, Ontario
Date: Sat Nov 15 16:01:43 2003
Operator: joan mansell
Proxy: mrs joan roberts
Comments: I DID NOT REALLY WANT TO BE A COMPTOMETRISTE IN THE BEGINNING, BUT I GREW TO LOVE USING MY MACHINE, AND WOULD STILL LOVE TO USE ONE NOW, BUT I HAVEN,T SEEN ONE IN DECADES.
I TRAINED AT FELT AND TARRENT IN CUNARD BUILDINGS IN LIVERPOOL.U.K. IN 1947.
MOSTLY MY LATER WORK CONSISTED OF ACCOUNTS AND PAYROLL.... I MISS THOSE BEAUTIFUL MACHINES.
Date: Tue Nov 18 11:48:47 2003
Operator: Sheila reynolds
Proxy: David Fisher
Comments: I have been a close friend of this lady for over 12 years and sadly she passed away on 12/11/2003.
She went on to become a ward sister in a local blackburn hospital after her training as a comptometer operator...........i told her about this web page about 18 months ago , she said she would give me some rememberances of her days as a comptometer operator.I am so very sorry i never managed to persue her thoughts on things.
Sheila was 66 when she was taken from life by a very agressive cancer......I will miss her for the rest of mine.
Date: Mon Nov 24 06:04:35 2003
Comments: I went to Minneapolis Business College in 1967-1968. There I learned how to use a Comptometer.
I went to work at Northland Creamery off of 28th Street and Nicollet Ave in Minneapolis after I completed my training at the Business College. I used a Comptometer everyday and I enjoyed it very much. I also worked nights at Victor Temporary figuring inventory for some of the large department stores in the area. We did this a few times a year for a few weeks at a time. That way I kept up with my Comtometer skills. I worked at Victor up until about 1987. Which was not that long ago. I sure got my moneys worth from going to Business School. I used a Comptometer for about 20 years. I remember when the power went out a couple of times at the Creamery, they moved us into the lunch room and we could still work by the light from the windows. Recently the Computers went down a couple of times where I currently work, everything came to a stand still. I mentioned to some of the other employees if we still used Comptometers we could continue working. They all laughed at me, they had no idea what a comptometer is. I am only 54 years old- I cannot believe how times have changed.
Date: Fri Dec 5 19:55:09 2003
Operator: Elizabeth Thomas
Proxy: Carolyn McNamara
Comments: Gosh having discovered this website today has evoked a trillion memories of my childhood - I am now into my sixties but have so many memories of my mother Elizabeth who was a wages clerk for a large engineering company in the United Kingdon bringing work home along with her comptrometer and me being amazed at the speed she worked at fingers flying across the keys at what seemed to be to be a million miles a minute and then when she had finished she allowed me to play with the machine, guess that would have to have been my first introduction to keyboards as such and eventually leading to my being a secretary (typist) for some years. I was in the workforce until 1989 and computers were sudddenly starting to takeover from the old fashioned ones I had been used to but I am so glad that I stuck to learning how to because now in my retirement the computer is giving me great joy; not only using the Internet, but giving me the opporunity to try my hand at writing a book and life is so much more easier than the old way, spell checks, backspace, deletions you name it computers have the upper hand and I love the facility.
Date: Mon Jan 26 13:04:10 2004
Comments: I am looking to hire comptometer operators for a project in NJ. CAN YOU help me find any????
Date: Fri Feb 20 23:11:03 2004
Operator: Glenda Hedell
Comments: I was thinking today about my mother's comptometer machine and how I admired the speed and skill she had with this machine. I remember her working outside her regular job making extra money because there was a need for operators. I have her machine still.
Date: Sun Feb 22 09:15:31 2004
Operator: Ruth (Aldridge) Thompson
Proxy: David Dunmore
Comments: My mother trained as a comptometer operator in 1951 staying with my great aunt in Harrow while she commuted to the Clerkenwell school in London. She worked for the Danish Bacon Company in Cambridge using her beloved Sumlock machine and later with William Sindall, a large Cambridge building firm. Now in her late sixties, she longs for a Sumlock machine of the 50`s to use and reminice as she still has her decimal books and would love to have a machine she can work on. My sister and I would like to find to her a machine but have no idea where to look.
Date: Thu Mar 4 03:46:22 2004
Operator: Geof Read
Comments: I am a MALE Comptometer Operator. In January 1943 I took the full training course at the Felt & Tarrant Comptometer Training School at Aldwych House, London W.C.2. I still have my Official Registration Card showing that I was registered at Head Office as Comptometer Operator 2632/43. I worked as an operator for a time and then went on to do many other things. When I was a works accountant and later a management accountant I always had a Comptometer on my desk. I still have a manual sterling machine and an electric 993e. I am currently transcribing the notes I wrote in 1943 into an Operators Manual with a full index. It will run to around 16,000 words.
Date: Fri Mar 19 14:05:55 2004
Operator: Bernard Chandker
Comments: Took a course in Comptometer and accounting machines in 1970. I still have my copy of Key-Driven Calculator Course (Fourth edition) with clear instructions on how to add subtract multiply and divide. Still Have may comtometer; however lost one of the key caps over the years of moving
Date: Sun Mar 28 11:16:29 2004
Comments: I am looking for any comptometer operators from Michigan-- those who worked in Michigan in the early 1950's... Please write me if you know of any
Date: Sun Mar 28 18:18:48 2004
Operator: Marguerite McMahon
Proxy: Terry Ihnat
Comments: I remember my mother saying she took a "Comptometer" course after high school.She commuted from Gary ,IN to Chicago on the South Shore. Would have been around 1938.After that, she the got her RN at Mercy in Gary and worked as a Nurse til she retired in the mid 80's.
Date: Sat Apr 10 13:30:21 2004
Operator: Doris McCuan
Comments: i worked in several places in St Paul,Minnesota. Mostly doing inventory recaps. I worked for 3 years at the Richmond, California shipyards duning the war doing invoice audit work.
Date: Thu May 20 07:24:10 2004
Operator: catherine wallis
Proxy: catherine davis
Comments: I trained at Commercial Calculating co. ltd. at thir offices @ kern house Kingsway, london.I served a 5 year apprenticeship. Our work included going out to different firms either stocktaking or filling in for holiday staff, some of our jobs meant a lot of our girls going to places like i.c.i..So sometimes we would be solo, or met up with work mates. We also had work sent in to our various offices(London, Ealing, Croydon, Stratford&Southampton. Have been in touch by someone on the friends reunited site. Have kept in touch with several girls. I started in 1951. I often wonder what has happened to all those girls, of course we are all getting on in years now. Before I moved 14 years ago, I had a couple of manual machines, I am sorry to say they ended up down the dump.
Date: Tue Jun 22 12:28:59 2004
Operator: Judy Mapley
Proxy: Judy Clark
Comments: I worked in late 1950's for a magazine sales in Billings Montana as a person who computed the distribution of the magazines for sales to appropriate outlets i.e. stores, gas stations, etc. I used a comptometer to do this. The weekly distribution was based on previous sales and potential increased sales. My comp. training was on the job. I had the accounting training from Billing Business College.
It was interesting work but not very challenging. Sorry I have no photos regarding this.
Date: Tue Jun 22 12:33:28 2004
Operator: Judy Clark
Comments: I read more of this thread and just to let
Merriam Langdon know, if she is still interested just mail me and I will try to let her know what I know.
Date: Wed Jul 7 09:46:29 2004
Comments: I am 57 yrs. of age, and I trained on a Felt & Tarrant. I worked for Victor Temporaries, and really did enjoy using the comptometer. I sure wish I had one to show my grandchildren. I liked it better than the adding machine, or the calculator
Date: Fri Aug 27 09:15:11 2004
Operator: Carlma Symes Houweling
Comments: I worked for Southern Pacific Company in San Francisco in the 1940's-1950's as a Comptometer operator/typist. We had desks with the "drop" side on the right that put the keyboard at the level of the desk, made it very easy to use. After leaving S.P. I did bookkeeping at home and purchased my own Comptometer, Model M, which I used for years. I had six months of training, four hours a week at continuation high school. Mostly used "on the job" training. I never liked math but at work they found I was fast and accurate with my hands so encouraged me to take the position as comptometer operator. By the time I left that job, 1954, I was earning $325.00 per month which was considered good wages in those days. I would still like to find another Model M machine for home, the one I had needed new keys, they had deteriorated. The repair people told me it was impossible to get new ones so I had to give up on repairing it. As someone else wrote, I still hold a pencil in my right hand even when using a ten key calculator. Would much rather have a Comptometer. So good to read everyone's recollections. Will return to this site frequently.
Date: Mon Aug 30 18:27:25 2004
Operator: JOAN MANSELL
Comments: I LOVED WORKING ON THE COMPTOMETER, I HAVE USED A FELT AND TARRENT, AND A BURROUGHS, AND A SUMLOCK.
I WORKED FOR BRITISH EUROPEAN AIRWAYS AT LIVERPOOL AIRPORT.UK 1947-1948, THEN LIVERPOOL ELECTRICITY AUTHORITY IN CLARKES GARDENS.WOOLTON.LIVERPOOL.UK. 1948-1952.
I DID WAGES, AND GENERAL ACCOUNTS.
Date: Mon Aug 30 23:40:51 2004
Operator: Dorothy Skelley
Proxy: John Skelley
Comments: My mother who is now 80 trained as a comp operator in Manchester in 1941, she was just 16. She clearly remembers Manchester being bombed and finding the streets ablaze as she walked from the railway station to the training school. She initially worked in a shipping office but on reaching 18 she joined the WRENS (Womens Royal Navy) and some naval training in Scotland put her operator's skills to use on military business aboard HMS Burden (actually a hotel in Weymouth, Dorset). After the war she had many different jobs in wages offices in and around Macclesfield, Cheshire. The comp was not 'put to bed' until 1985 when my Dad retired from his business as a Sub-postmaster.
Date: Mon Sep 6 11:35:44 2004
Comments: Hi!! I'm looking for people who were comptometer operators in Chicago in 1955-1957. Thanks
Date: Mon Nov 22 15:32:08 2004
Operator: Barbara Roberts
Proxy: Barbara Wood
Comments: After graduation from Balboa in 1942 I worked at the Southern Pacific Office in downtown S.F. Got married and now live in Pleasanton, California
Date: Tue Dec 28 08:37:01 2004
Operator: Christine Preskey
Proxy: Chris Harper
Comments: I passed my diploma in Bradford Yorkshire in 1963.
I would like to contact an operator called Barbara Jean Blount, possibly trained in Sheffield or Rotherham Yorkshire around 1940. I would be grateful of any information about her, or to hear from any operator who trained in Bradford in late 1963.
Date: Tue Jan 18 22:18:39 2005
Operator: Boyd Anderson
Comments: Was schooled on the Comptometer at Henager Business College, Salt Lake City, Utah. In 1955. The teacher, Miss Red, was a perfectionist. I think she was thinking of someone else when she signed my report card, "passed". I bought a (used)Comptometer about 20 years ago,with one key cap missing 3/6. There is a number, 212010. After school, I never saw another machine until this one.It's fun reading about those who used them at work. At 75 years old, I can't remember the strokes, but we did use both hands.
Date: Sat Jan 22 08:16:03 2005
Operator: Pamela Hann
Proxy: Pam Flower
eMail: as below
Comments: From: "Pam Flower" <email@example.com>
To: "Compts-Operators" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Comping Memories
Date: 07 January 2005 15:03
I went to Comptometer School in Norwich, Norfolk on leaving school in 1964. I had never seen a machine before and was shocked when the teacher kept putting a paper over my eyes when I was trying to add up a list of figures!
I adored comping. I worked at Brooke Marine Shipbuilders, Lowestoft, Suffolk until 1987 when the job was phased out. I used to calculate steel, timber, paints, nuts and bolts, wages, accounts, you name it - I compt it! Its funny how even today, I can still remember some of the decimals that we came to learn and I cannot type without a pen in my hand. I still have the Sumlock table books somewhere.
Until seven years ago I still had my manual Sumlock Comp with 99 keys plus LSD keys. Two columns were not working properly, so it was difficult to trust it. It had to go. I also used the first ANITA but much preferred the comp.
Last year I was shocked, nay surprised, to see an Agency in Chesham, Bucks advertising for comp ops. Their office has many working comps, manual and electric and it was fantastic for me to work there for two months on stock- taking work. What a difference using metric, we used our brains years ago, didn't we? with all the decimals we learnt, what fun it was pre-decimalisation.
I so wish I could do it again this year but I have now moved north to Sandbach, Cheshire. Wish I could find someone up here who wants a Comp Operator. At 56, I have not lost the speed or enthusiasm. The photo was taken last year when I compt at home. I looked very tired after a nine hour session!
How wonderful to find this web site and share experiences with other "old comps"!
Date: Fri Jan 28 21:16:04 2005
Operator: Zola Freeman
Proxy: Zola Ortenburg
Comments: After finishing the F & T Comptometer course in 1957 at Peacock Brothers, Melbourne, I was then employed in the school for a short period of time. During this period we did the calculations for the 100's of stock sheets generated by G.J. Coles stores, also Goldsborough Mort - Wool buyers and a paper wholesaler whose name escapes me. I wish I could recall all the tables we learnt in order to convert the imperial to decimal so that we could calculate on the decimal machine.
Date: Fri Mar 4 19:31:27 2005
Operator: Doris Milligan
Proxy: Edward Milligan
Comments: My grandmother, Doris Milligan, now deceased, was a Comptometer operator for Western Electric Co. during WWII. Many people may now think such a job was meaningless, given the modern calculator, but I believe she should received some recognition for what must have been a tedious job at the time.
Date: Sat Mar 19 11:43:18 2005
Operator: Esther Hinrichs
Proxy: Esther Mort
Comments: I attended a Felt and Tarrant school in San Diego, California in 1930 and subsequently went to work for The San Diego Gas & Electric Co. as a computer operator. Your article is very interesting to me as so many of my friends don't know what a comptometer is. I still have my notes and diploma from the class. I had 2 sisters who also became operators.
Date: Mon Mar 28 01:46:15 2005
Operator: Barbara Bullock (nee Warren)
Comments: I went to Loughton High School, and left in 1950 to go to the Felt and Tarrant training school in London.I then worked as a temp, at many offices around London, and enjoyed every minute of it.
Date: Sun Jul 3 17:36:48 2005
Operator: Marie Wedel
Date: Tue Sep 13 03:17:04 2005
Operator: BETTY BAUGH
Proxy: BETTY PUGH
Comments: I trained at the Felt & Tarrant training school at 11, Albert Street, Birmingham. England, in 1941.
I well remember getting to school earlier than most owing to the fact my friend Joyce Hartshorne and I had to travel into B'ham by train and there was only one that would get us there in time. It being wartime the machines were all taken down at night to the strong room which was in the basement this was in case of air-raids.In the mornig my friend and I being the first on the scene,waited for the lift carrying all the machines up to our floor. Then we carried them all and put them on the desks ready for the operators. I wonder if there is anybody out there that was there at the same time as me.
Date: Fri Oct 7 06:02:22 2005
Operator: Helen McAllan Kelley
Proxy: Stephanie Kelley
Comments: My grandmother, Helen Kelley, in her late 80s now, was reminiscing about her years working at the Boston & Maine Bus Company in the 1940s. As the accountant, she was certified to use a comptometer. She tried to describe to me how it worked, saying that it had no paper in it so you always had to be accurate. Still because I have grown up in the days of computers and graphing calculators, I could not imagine what this machine looked like. This is a great website, and I have learned a lot. My grandmother loved her job during the war and has fascinating stories about it. Thanks to the comptometer for making her job of adding up ticket stubs and balancing the books much easier!
Date: Sun Oct 23 12:28:16 2005
Comments: I am looking for anyone who worked in Michigan during the 1950's as a comptometer operator... possibly in a Creamery
please email me...
Date: Wed Dec 28 23:55:58 2005
Operator: Norine Overman Driggs
Proxy: Michele Engel (granddaughter)
Comments: From Norine's Memoirs:
"I graduated from Riverside Girls High School in 1916.
"I had scarlet fever when I was 12 years old, which was the beginning of my deafness. This was becoming quit noticeable during my last year of High School so I stayed home for one year after graduation. The next year I started a business course at the Riverside Junior College. My instructor advised me to learn the comptometer when the Southern Sierra Power Company was looking for a girl to train. This became my chosen work.
"In 1919 I went with my sister-in-law and her two small children to Honolulu, Hawaii, where my eldest brother had gone earlier to seek work. Later that year I obtained a position with the Honolulu Iron Works as a comptometer operator, which I held until 1947.
"I married Robert Drummond in 1926 who was also employed at that time with the Honolulu Iron Works. Later he became employed with the Navy and was working at the Kaneohe Naval Air Base at the time of the Japanese attack o Pearl Harbor."
NOTE: Norine was almost entirely deaf throughout her career as a comptometer operator. Her husband, Robert, survived the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Date: Mon Jan 16 12:34:06 2006
Operator: Barbara Hunt
Date: Thu Jan 26 09:25:13 2006
Operator: Antoinette DeRosa
Comments: In 1958, at the age of 16, I quit school. My Mom asked if I then wanted to attend Comptometer school like my cousin Theresa had done the year before. I said, "Yes". The comptometer school I was sent to was in a large room above a storefront in Hempstead, NY . After completing a six-month course, I worked through the years from 1959 to the 1970's, as a Comptometer operator. Then, like youth, suddenly the comptometer was gone! In it's place was the 9-key adding machine, then later the computer, both of which I learned to master. In those days the comptometer was as common as Coca-Cola, but today, trying to explain what it what it did, or what it looked like, makes for giggles in the grandchildren, and nostalgia in me.
Date: Sun Feb 5 09:54:46 2006
Operator: Brenda Osborne
Comments: I attended comptometer school in Atlanta the summer of 1959. The school helped me get a job with Graybar Electric Co. in the Billing Dept.
I started out at $230.00 per month salary and I felt like a rich person. I worked in the comptometer department for 17 years and really enjoyed my work. A friend gave me a comptometer she had bought from the company when they switched to computers.My fellow employees at the company were always curious about how we operated the machine.Being a comp operator was a moment in history few of us will ever forget. It was great!
Date: Fri Mar 24 20:54:28 2006
Operator: Eula Summer
Proxy: Dana Tramba
Comments: Does any recall going to school or working with Eula Summer that went to comptometer school 1947-1948? Would like to contact her family.
Date: Tue May 16 14:56:37 2006
Operator: Marjorie Jackson
Proxy: Marjorie Lightfoot
Comments: I went to the Manchester Felt and Tarrant School on Deansgate in 1953 and went back in 1955 to take and pass my diploma. The senior tutor was Mrs Manion does anyone remember the school during these years I would love to chat about it.
Date: Sun Jun 4 07:53:48 2006
Operator: Elizabeth Bardes
Proxy: Ginger Neff
Comments: My mother was a comptometer operator at McGraw-Hill publishers in Brooklyn NY in the 40s. When she got tired of the cold, she took a train south and got off in Jacksonville Florida. She stayed at the YWCA and went to work at the A&P Corporate offices as a comptometer operator. Her supervisor invited her home for Thanksgiving since she was alone. It was there she met my father.
She is living in a nursing home and is now 82. Yesterday I asked her about a comptometer and she described her keystrokes and words that were foreign to me. This is amazing because she has alzhheimers.
She has left a legacy...I'm an accountant as well as my daughter.
Thanks for the opprotunity to share.
Date: Sat Jun 17 18:51:18 2006
Operator: Eda Conway
Proxy: James Repka
Comments: Hello. My 100year old neighbor should me her "comptometer" and how to use it. She passed recently, and at her family had a garage sale to sell her things. As sad as I was to walk in her place, I was excited to see the comptometer laying there on the floor. I will treasure this machine (which works great) and her everytime I look at it!
James Repka 10years old
Orland Park, Illinois
Date: Sun Jun 25 01:50:18 2006
Operator: Harriett Givens nee O'Brien
Proxy: Denise Givens (daughter)
Comments: My mother was a comp operator in her youth and even later. She told me that she had to leave high school in her senior year when she was 16 because it was the depression and she had to help support her mother and three younger brothers. Her first job was as a clerk at Walgreen's, but when the war broke out in Europe, she answered an ad with J. Barnes and Sone (I think) in Rockford, IL for secretarial help. During the interview, she was asked if knew the Comptometer. She had never heard of it, and answered honestly. To which the owner (and interviewer) looked at her pointedly and said, "Well, you can LEARN, can't you?"
So they sent her to comp school and she often told me that her days at Barnes were the happiest days of her life.
When I was a girl growing up she usually worked as a bookkeeper and always used the comp. For a while, she freelanced with several companies, doing their month-end books and did them on her own Comp.
Many years later she and I were at a flea market and we saw and old comp on a table for sale. The man who was selling it had no idea. He thought it was neat to show her that he could strike the 9 key all the way across, then enter the 1 key in the right column and watch the balance go zero across. My dear mother laughed and immediately started multiplying, subtracting and dividing so fast his head was spinning. That was a precious moment.
Mom died five years ago, and it was in a melancholy moment of missing her that I searched Comptometer on the web and found this site. Thanks for letting me share.
Date: Wed Nov 29 17:29:05 2006
Operator: Sylvia Snyder
Proxy: Bob Snyder (son)
Comments: My mother, Sylvia Snyder was trained in comptometers in the early 1920s in Boston. She worked for an agency that sent comptometer operators out for assignments varying in time. She worked for some of the large companies in the Boston area including Rexall. After marrying in 1924, she stopped working until my father was killed in 1944. She went back to the same agency
(I believe the owner was a Mrs. Larson(?)and started working again winding up at Lehman Hall Harvard University in Cambridge in the late forties particularly during income tax season. She worked for Harvard for 25 years though when the IBM 1401 computer was introduced, for several years Harvard had her do the usual Taxes as a backup to the Computer (to check out the computer). Before retiring from Harvard, she did retire her Comptometer in the Seventies and did general secretarial work.Harvard gave her a Harvard chair on retiring.
Date: Wed Dec 20 04:48:56 2006
Operator: Blanche Ona Bonneau
Proxy: John Anstett
Comments: My mother born in 1905 in Alsip Illinois was employed by the Piere Marquette Railroad in Chicagoas
a comtometer operator before she married in 1925George G. Anstett of Fowler Indiana. I am her seventh and last child born in '41
She loved to tell me about her early life and the work she did. She was quite a lovely lady who enjoyed her entertainments and took time to teach her children to care about life being of value to all of seven of us.
Date: Tue Dec 26 10:01:53 2006
Operator: Marie-Louise Teulade
Proxy: Jean-Pierre Dumoulin
Comments: This website has given me the opportunity to speak to my aunt and learn more about her life. I have heard many things that I was unaware of. She writes...
"One morning, I remember, it was on February 14th, 1935, I was sixteen and a half years old and for the first time, I was going to look for a job."
Read Marie's look back on a lifetime career as Comptometer operator in France before, during and after WWII.
Date: Sat Jan 6 21:53:14 2007
Operator: Glenda Coffer Hedell
Comments: My mother had a Comptometer Machine and it was a fading profession. My mom was always making extra money on the side along with her good friend Vera. I thouoght I still had the machine and asked my daughter to find it. I hope she didn't throw it away during the remodling of my mother's home. I would sit and watch my mother for hours. The pencil was held in a certian postition in her had. She was so fast that I nerver could catch on how to use it. I would ofen play with it when she was not around. Most people don't know what it is.
Date: Fri Jan 12 11:41:05 2007
Operator: jill foxall
Proxy: rev. jean holyhead
Comments: remember her working away on her comptometer at BOC Bilston, west midlands, jean hawkins I was then.
Date: Mon Apr 2 15:58:18 2007
Operator: Audry McAnulty
Proxy: Charles Wolf
Comments: I have a copy of the certifcate of completion for the Comptometer class in Atlanta georgia March 1929.
Date: Thu Apr 5 14:55:19 2007
Operator: Gertrude Witte Zietlow
Proxy: Gay Zietlow Patton
Comments: I am told that my paternal grandmother was probably the first comptometer operator trained in Chicago. I am not sure who she worked for until 1930 when she fell ill. May she here not be forgotten.
Date: Sun Apr 8 12:34:28 2007
Operator: Mrs. Mary Sabol
Proxy: her son
Comments: My mother was a comptometer operator for many years for the Beachmont (or Beechmont) Dairy in Bridgeport, Connecticut. She added up all of the receipts for the drivers as they returned from their daily rounds. It was hard work for a mother raising two sons on her own during the fifties and sixties. Many evenings she would come home with a bagful of groceries and drag herself up the two flights of stairs to our apartment on the east side of Bridgeport. May the good Lord bless and keep her. With much gratitude and love, Chuck.
Date: Wed Jul 11 07:58:36 2007
Operator: Jean Roberts
Comments: Hi: I was a Comp Op F&T trained at the school in High Holborn London in 1954. The Schools motto was 'Accuracy First Speed later'. Because in the fifties England was still using the £SD system operators had to memorize every decimal in 12ths and then in 6ths. We also memorized 8ths and 16ths.
In addition to addition (pardon the pun) we learned subtraction, division, multiplication and square roots. Covered 64 subjects dealing with every business and industry types of calculation. ( I have since lost my hand written instruction notebook.)
In 1963/4 I was working at the West Cornwall Hospital Management Committee in Truro, Cornwall Eng. and we had the first 'Anita'. As 'seasoned' operators we 'knew' it wouldn't work as it was back to the old style adding machine, i.e. punching a key between each number to be added.
I did have health problems, overuse of shoulders wrists and fingers, still do, at the time it was called fibrocytis now it is Fibromyalgia, same pain different name. It was mostly (I think) learning on an electric machine and then working on the old mechanicals. The 'newest' employee usually got the oldest machines and the long time employees the newest machines. These old mechanicals in England were hard on the small fingers stretching to hold the 9 and maintaining even and constant pressure across the whole board. Try holding 2.916666 and multiplying it by any number. In choosing which number to hold and which to multiply by seems a simple process, either pick up the largest number of keys and multiply by the smallest number or pick up the small number and multiply out by the large number. The number of key strokes was a constant mental choice being made every few seconds. (Especially in doing shop stocks.) I found the work very boring after 'learning' the particular company's work it simply was repeatedly doing the same calculations over and over, so I changed jobs constantly.
I don't see a photo of the English model Comp. which had a 10 shilling key to the right of the main board, and then then a column 1 through 9 (right of that) then the last column 1 through 11 for mechanical addition of £SD. When I came to Canada in 1966 it was strange working with only 100's. The board seemed much smaller.
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