Shoebox Comptometers - Wood-cased model

The wood-cased model was produced from 1886 thru 1903 with total production at no more than 6500 of which less than 90 are known to have survived.

Smithsonian1 The first was, of course, the original prototype macaroni box and, in 1937, was donated to the Smithsonian Museum by Virginia Koch (nee Felt) and her husband Raymond, then president of Felt & Tarrant. The Smithsonian collection includes several examples of early production machines but none is so precious as this original. We are fortunate indeed that both this machine and the story of its creation have been preserved at this venerable institution.

This archive is indebted to Ms. Peggy Kidwell, Curator of Mathematics, National Museum of American History, Washington, D.C. (the Smithsonian) for the following information:

"...concerning the early wooden box Comptometers in the Smithsonian collections. The three earliest have no serial numbers. Two are marked D.E. FELT MFR. [/] PAT'S PENDING. They reportedly were among 8 constructed by Felt himself. The third, which may also be in this group of 8, is marked: FELT & FOSTER [/] CHICAGO [/] PAT'D JULY 19.87.OCT 11.87. A label received with this machine indicates that it was used by Mr. G. W. Martin in offices of the Chicago Gas Company from 1887 to 1903."

An article describing the machine in detail appeared in an 1888 issue of Scientific American. These earliest machines had typewriter style keytops replaced in the late 1890s by composition keytops. However, since the keystems were the same, machines were often re-keyed with a different set.


Known Existing Machines
Serial Pat Date Comments Owner or Location ------ ---------- ------------------------------ ------------- no SN 1884 macaroni box (THE!) Smithsonian no SN (no date) D.E.FELT MFR /PAT'S PENDING Smithsonian no SN (no date) D.E.FELT MFR /PAT'S PENDING Smithsonian no SN 10-11-1887 FELT & FOSTER /CHICAGO /PAT'D Smithsonian 61 10-11-1887 missing clearing knob & lever Chris Jackson 71 10-11-1887 missing clearing lever stop Serge Roube 135 10-11-1887 originally reported as #136 Private collection 238 10-11-1887 white and green keys Private collection 264 ????????? Private collection 287 metal clearing knob Private collection 310 Chicago Museum S&I 371 408 w/grid Private collection 418 beautifully restored Alex Kinmond 433 later patent plate Serge Roube 465 w/grid, no register cover Private collection 505 w/grid, no tension nuts Computer Museum SJ 515 w/grid, no tension nuts Private collection 573 w/grid, no tension nuts Computer History Museum 671 10-11-1887 Dorr Felt Tippens 673 10-11-1891 heavy restoration (nice) Jay M. Goldman 689 Private collection 723 12-15-1891 rekeyed with composition keytops? 802 mutilated keytops Gary Fisher 858 blue & white keys London Science Mus. 1276 battered front panel 1867 missing clearing lever colinengland 1876 Smithsonian 1991 w/tension nuts! Private collection 2077 9-22-1896 heavy restoration juddk1 2190 Chris Felt 2214 2300 composition keytops Jay M. Goldman 2361 fractional 2373 Private collection 2398 gofishwv 2460 metal keytops Craig H. (Pa.) 2467 seven columns (?) 2491 Jay M. Goldman 3026 Richard Lange 3090 3114 Private collection 3222 very nice condition rbspjs 3260 missing clearing knob Scott Forbes 3295 missing clearing stop-post franco-mi 3317 on eBay as of 7/20/03 3548 Science Museum 3566 FDM 3692 Sid Saul 3743 Nixdorf Museum 3778 missing bottom panel serendipity_too 3828 Deutches Museum 3853 Nixdorf Museum 388x 3980 3998 4038 4236 4303 4537 4586 Dean A. Shoemaker 4632 auctioned Aug, 2001 4635 Jay M. Goldman 4698 4728 Jay M. Goldman 4753 exeptional condition aetric@juno.com 4759 4839 fair/nice condition aetric@juno.com 4900 first of composition keytops? 4944 5021 Smithsonian 5024 metal keytops (missing a key) 5088 metal keytops aetric@juno.com 5181 composition keytops aetric@juno.com 5224 composition keytops Richard S. Olsen 5233 5384 Alex Kinmond 5408 missing a 1-key 5426 5428 very nice! (no bottom) L Van V Dauler Jr 5539 Terry Rodrigues 5576 5626 Thorsten Hampel 5668 5711 Sandy Rodgers 5724 Ralph Meldahl 5747 Fractional (mixed keytops) Michael Lewin 5763 5765 Smithsonian 5886 6007 metal keys (possibly re-keyed) 6121 6183 Fractional! (no bottom) Jay M. Goldman 6244
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