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Unusual Adding Machines

Now that we live in an age of electronic calculators we soon forget the old hand driven mechanical adding machines and comptometers, that could only add and subtract; then came the more sophisticated machine which could add; subtract; divide and multiply; and soon progress was made to the inbuilt calculator in your mobile phone that can perform all these functions at the blink of an eye.

Here a some which I have in my collection and remind me of my youth. Each is an example in its own field. The Danish Contex is for use with sterling currencies as it allows for pre-decimalisation. The German Remington and the Spanish Brunsviga are decimal only and therefore could not add pounds, shillings and pence. The controls are simple with the pin wheel levers on the outside. The Swedish Facit is used for the same purpose as the other two but the difference is that the workings are encased and the levers are replaced by a simple ten digit keyboard.

I will get around to a more fuller description of each when I have more time. As a general comment I have noticed that mint or fine examples sell for a lot of money; working ones come next; and finally those in need of some love and care to get them back on their feet again. Mine all fall into this last category.


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This is the Remington Rand; Walther WSR 160 model; serial number 136236; probably about 1948. This model can add; subtract; multiply and divide.


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This is the Olympia Brunsviga 13RM model; serial number 16810; probably about 1964. This model can perform all four functions, it can add; subtract; multiply and divide.


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This is the Facit TK model; serial number 184956; probably about 1949. This model can add; subtract; multiply and divide.


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This is the Contex Model A, half size keyboard version. Serial number 95602. Approx 1946 – 1960 pre decimal version. Notice that it has keys for shillings, pennies, halfpennies and farthings. The keys go up to 5 in each column; so mental arithmetic was needed. To enter an 8 (for example) then the 5 would have to be pressed and registered, followed by the 3. It can only add and do no more. It is made of Bakelite.


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This is a Bell Punch Plus 512/S serial no. 876.935. It is a half size keyboard and still adds up the old pre decimal currency except farthings and half pennies have gone. It dates between 1958 and 1961.