Introduction of its adder-lister by William Seward Burroughs

Introduction of its adder-lister by William Seward Burroughs

William S. Burroughs (1855-1898) invented an adding and listing machine with a full keyboard in the early 1880s, submitted a patent application in 1885, co-founded the American Arithmometer Co. in 1886 to produce the machine, and received a patent for his invention in 1888. After its Bankers' and Merchants' Registering Accountant machine failed in trials in 1890, the American Arithmometer Co. marketed its improved Burroughs Registering Accountant in 1892 for $475 (Kidwell 2000). In 1905, the company was renamed the Burroughs Adding Machine Co.

In 1894, an article -- clearly referring to the Burroughs Registering Accountant -- reported that "An ingenious adding machine, recently introduced in Providence banks, is said to be infallible in results, and to do the work of two or three active clerks.  Inclosed in a frame with heavy plate-glass panels, through which the working of the mechanism can be seen, the machine occupies a space of 11 by 15 inches and is nine inches high.  On an inclined keyboard are 81 keys, arrange in nine rows of nine keys each.  The printing is done through an inked ribbon." (The Bankers' Magazine, Aug. 1894)  An 1899 discussion of modern banking methods stated that "great assistance has been derived from certain mechanical labor-saving contrivances, among which I will mention the typewriter, the registering accountant or adding machine, and the telephone. The registering accountant is of comparatively more recent introduction, but I think I can safely say it has proved itself one of the most useful instruments even introduced to the banks." (Bankers' Magazine, Feb. 1899)





Introduction of its adder-lister by William Seward Burroughs

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