• 1833 December 11
    (b.) -
    1899 February 06


A Spanish inventor, he studied in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, and emigrated to Cuba where he worked as a teacher and wrote two novels, "The Cross Of Stone" and "A Woman With Two Husbands." In 1865 he moved to New York , where he invented his calculating machine; the first by a direct multiplication instead of employing multiple rounds of a crank. The U.S. Patent Office granted the patent on September 10, 1878 (#207-918); the same year that he won a medal at the World Exhibition of Inventions of Cuba. The basis of his machine was a ten-sided metal cylinder. Each side had a column of holes with ten different diameters. It worked a little like a loom. By the end of the 19th century mechanical calculators were no longer novelties, and they'd all switched over to once-through systems like his. His calculator was a machine measuring about 14 inches long, 12 wide and 8 meters high, and could add, multiply and divide numbers, nine figures, supporting up to six numbers in the multiplier and fifteen in the product. Multiplication solved by the direct method based on a mechanism patented by Edmund D. employing a system of values obtained from a multiplication table coded system similar to Braille . The device could solve 698,543,721 x 807,689 in twenty seconds; an astonishing rate for that time. His machine is preserved in the deposits of the headquarters of IBM in White Plains (New York) as part of the collection begun in 1930 by the founder of IBM. His interest was more in showing that the Spanish could invent like the Americans, and he never tried to market his machine. He just walked away and never invented anything else. Therefore, his invention only left its mark on the history of computing as a basis for future machines, such as Otto Steiger . After a while he moved to Guatemala; exiled for his strong opposition to American Colonialism policy, and then to Buenos Aires. In that city he founded the magazine, ?The Progressive?, and continued to publish and practicing journalism. He died alone and poor in Argentina's capital and was buried in Cemetery West.
  • Date of Birth:

    1833 December 11
  • Date of Death:

    1899 February 06
  • Gender:

  • Noted For:

    Inventor of a calculating machine; the first by a direct multiplication instead of employing multiple rounds of a crank
  • Category of Achievement:

  • More Info: