Wild computing devices from the late 1800s and early 1900s

Wild computing devices from the late 1800s and early 1900s

Summary: At the beginning of the 20 century, inventors put computing devices on everything from scales to cheese cutters.

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TOPICS: Patents
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  • U.S. Patent number: 465,255
    Filed: Nov. 11, 1890
    Issued: Dec 15, 1891
    Inventor: Dorr E. Felt

    In 1891, Dorr Felt invented a device designed to improve upon the existing "recording machines which compute." Felt described the improvements in his device as follows:

    "The leading object of my invention is to provide an improved recording-machine which will record the answer or result indicated by the numeral-wheels by pressing a knob instead of striking the amount of the answer on the keys."

    Image taken from U.S. Patent 465,255 - Digitized by Google
  • U.S. Patent number: 465,255
    Filed: Nov. 11, 1890
    Issued: Dec 15, 1891
    Inventor: Dorr E. Felt

    Along with using a pressing motion to record the machine calculations instead of a striking motion, Felt believed his invention provided other improvements, such as a better method of returning the numeral-wheels to zero, automatically recording any zeros to the right of the number being recorded, requiring less force to depress the device's keys, and improved calculation.

    Image taken from U.S. Patent 465,255 - Digitized by Google

Topic: Patents

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  • RE: Wild computing devices from the late 1800s and early 1900s

    Interesting - although most of them seem to be calculators of some sort, and most them appear to only really do a specific task (such as unit conversion).

    There was something called an "analytical engine" which was actually shown to be Turing complete, although it was never actually constructed.

    It never gained the funding and political support it needed, and would eventually become obsolete with the invention of computers based on electricity.

    Still, there are some novels written on the idea of "what if this had actually be completed, and we had computing before electricity?"
    CobraA1
  • RE: Wild computing devices from the late 1800s and early 1900s

    the train tonnage/resistence calculator would have been handy a few months ago.
    A local AC train carrying stone/cement was overloaded and causes a major brush fire in 3 towns.

    I wonder if Wilson's time stamp is y2k approved and if it stamps past 2012?
    sagetumbleweed@...
  • The Automaton

    Was a chess playing 'robot'.
    It was actually a hoax and housed a chess master (Pilsbury?).
    Nifty mechanics tho.
    sagetumbleweed@...