Calculating Machines. Instruments for the mechanical performance of numerical calculations, have in modern times come into ever-increasing use, not merely for dealing with large masses of figures in banks, insurance offices, etc., but also, as cash registers, for use on the counters of retail shops. They may be classified as follows: - (i.) Addition machines; the first invented by Blaise Pascal (1642). (ii.) Addition machines modified to facilitate multiplication; the first by G.W. Leibnitz (1671). (iii.) True multiplication machines; Léon Bollés (1888), Steiger (1894). (iv.) Difference machines; Johann Helfrich von Müller (1786), Charles Babbage (1822). (v.) Analytical machines; Babbage (1834). The number of distinct machines of the first three kinds is remarkable and is being constantly added to, old machines being improved and new ones invented; Professor R. Mehmke has counted over eighty distinct machines of this type. The fullest published account of the subject is given by Mehmke in the Encyclopädie der mathematischen Wissenschaften, article "Numerisches Rechnen," vol. i., Heft 6 (1901). It contains historical notes and full references. Walther von Dyck's Catalogue also contains descriptions of various machines.
We shall confine ourselves to explaining the principles of some leading types, without giving an exact description of any particular one.Fig. 1.
Practically all calculating machines contain a "counting work," a series of "figure disks" consisting in the original form of horizontal circular disks (fig. 1), on which the figures 0, 1, 2, to 9 are marked. Each disk can turn about its vertical axis, and is covered by a fixed plate with a hole or "window" in it through which one figure can be seen. On turning the disk through one-tenth of a revolution this figure will be changed into the next higher or lower. Such turning may be called a "step," positive Addition machines. if the next higher and negative if the next lower figure appears. Each positive step therefore adds one unit to the figure under the window, while two steps add two, and so on. If a series, say six, of such figure disks be placed side by side, their windows lying in a row, then any number of six places can be made to appear, for instance 000373. In order to add 6425 to this number, the disks, counting from right to left, have to be turned 5, 2, 4 and 6 steps respectively. If this is done the sum 006798 will appear. In case the sum of the two figures at any disk is greater than 9, if for instance the last figure to be added is 8 instead of 5, the sum for this disk is 11 and the 1 only will appear. Hence an arrangement for "carrying" has to be introduced.
This may be done as follows. The axis of a figure disk contains a wheel with ten teeth. Each figure disk has, besides, one long tooth which when its 0 passes the window turns the next wheel to the left, one tooth forward, and hence the figure disk one step. The actual mechanism is not quite so simple, because the long teeth as described would gear also into the wheel to the right, and besides would interfere with each other. They must therefore be replaced by a somewhat more complicated arrangement, which has been done in various ways not necessary to describe more fully. On the way in which this is done, however, depends to a great extent the durability and trustworthiness of any arithmometer; in fact, it is often its weakest point. If to the series of figure disks arrangements are added for turning each disk through a required number of steps, we have an addition machine, essentially of Pascal's type. In it each disk had to be turned by hand. This operation has been simplified in various ways by mechanical means. For pure addition machines key-boards have been added, say for each disk nine keys marked 1 to 9. On pressing the key marked 6 the disk turns six steps and so on.
These have been introduced by Stettner (1882), Max Mayer (1887), and in the comptometer by Dorr Z. Felt of Chicago. In the comptograph by Felt and also in "Burrough's Registering Accountant" the result is printed.
These machines can be used for multiplication, as repeated addition, but the process is laborious, depending for rapid execution Modified addition machines. essentially on the skill of the operator. To adapt an addition machine, as described, to rapid multiplication the turnings of the separate figure disks are replaced by one motion, commonly the turning of a handle. As, however, the different disks have to be turned through different steps, a contrivance has to be inserted which can be "set" in such a way that by one turn of the handle each disk is moved through a number of steps equal to the number of units which is to be added on that disk. This may be done by making each of the figure disks receive on its axis a ten-toothed wheel, called hereafter the A-wheel, which is acted on either directly or indirectly by another wheel (called the B-wheel) in which the number of teeth can be varied from 0 to 9. This variation of the teeth has been effected in different ways. Theoretically the simplest seems to be to have on the B-wheel nine teeth which can be drawn back into the body of the wheel, so that at will any number from 0 to 9 can be made to project.
This idea, previously mentioned by Leibnitz, has been realized by Bohdner in the "Brunsviga." Another way, also due to Leibnitz, consists in inserting between the axis of the handle bar and the A-wheel a "stepped" cylinder. This may be considered as being made up of ten wheels large enough to contain about twenty teeth each; but most of these teeth are cut away so that these wheels retain in succession 9, 8, ... 1, 0 teeth. If these are made as one piece they form a cylinder with teeth of lengths from 9, 8 ... times the length of a tooth on a single wheel.