• 1857
    (b.) -
    1898 September 14


An American inventor, born in Rochester, New York, the son of a mechanic, he worked with machines while growing up. After his graduation from high school, he entered the Cayuga County National Bank of Auburn as a clerk, where he spent long hours adding numbers. He became interested in solving the problem of creating an adding machine. In the bank there had been a number of earlier prototypes, but in inexperienced users' hands, those that existed would sometimes give incorrect, and at times outrageous, answers. After resigning from the bank due to ill health, moved to St. Louis, where he obtained a job in a machine shop. These new surroundings hastened the development of the idea he had already in his mind and the tools of his new craft gave him the opportunity to put into tangible form the first conception of the adding machine. Accuracy was the foundation of his work. No ordinary materials were good enough for his creation. His drawings were made on metal plates which could not expand or shrink by the smallest fraction of an inch. He worked with hardened tools, sharpened to finest points, and when he struck a center or drew a line, it was done under a microscope. So, he invented a "calculating machine" designed to ease the monotony of clerical work. He was a founder of the American Arithmometer Company (1886), which later became the Burroughs Adding Machine Company (1904), then the Burroughs Corporation (1953) and in 1986, merged with Sperry Corporation to form Unisys. He was posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
  • Date of Birth:

  • Date of Death:

    1898 September 14
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  • Noted For:

    Invention of the adding machine - he was posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame
  • Category of Achievement:

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