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: 659,727
    Filed: Oct. 5, 1899
    Issued: Oct. 16, 1900
    Inventor: Chester W. Brown

    In his patent, Brown described his invention as follows:

    "This calculator consists of three circular disks 1 2 3, made of any suitable material, each being of different size from the other and mounted one upon the other, the smallest one being in front. These disks are secured together by a central rivet 4, which serves as a common pivot around which each disk can revolve. The exposed edges of these disks are each provided with a circumferential space having radial graduations 5 5-1 5-2, those on each disk containing figures and letters different from those on either of the others, and by rotating the disks different combinations are obtained to produce the calculations desired."

    Image taken from U.S. Patent 659,727 - Digitized by Google
  • U.S. Patent Number 665,118
    Filed: May 25, 1900
    Issued: Jan. 1, 1901
    Inventor: Lars M. Landing

    In 1901, Lars Landing received a patent for a device designed to help individuals quickly calculate the interest on a loan, he described the invention as follows:

    "My invention relates to machines for computing interest and time, and has for its object to provide a machine of this class which will enable an operator to readily figure the interest on various principals at various rates and for various times and which will also en able the operator to readily ascertain the time (number of days) between two given dates."

    Image taken from U.S. Patent 665,118 - Digitized by Google
  • U.S. Patent Number 665,118
    Filed: May 25, 1900
    Issued: Jan. 1, 1901
    Inventor: Lars M. Landing

    Image taken from U.S. Patent 665,118 - Digitized by Google
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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@...