Publisher Information: Paris: 1879.
[Thomas de Colmar Arithmometer.] Sebert, H. Rapport . . . sur la machine à calculer dite arithmomètre inventée par M. Thomas (de Colmar) et perfectionée par M. Thomas de Bojano. Offprint from Bulletin de la Société d’Encouragement pour l’Industrie Nationale, series 3, 6 (1879). 34pp. 2 folding plates showing details of the Arithmometer’s construction. 282 x 227 mm. Unbound; stitched. Edges a bit frayed, plates lightly foxed, a few fingermarks but very good.
First Edition. The arithmometer was invented by Charles Xavier Thomas de Colmar (1785–1870), who patented its design in 1820. The Thomas Arithmometer, manufactured between 1851 and 1915, was the first commercially successful calculating machine; its debut at the Great Exhibition of 1851 launched the mechanical calculator industry. Between 1851 and 1890 the arithmometer was the only type of mechanical calculator in commercial production, and its design was copied by several European companies. The brand name “Arithmometer” became a generic term referring to any four-function calculating machine.
“Although based on the Leibnitz stepped-drum gears, the arithmometer incorporated several features which made it easier to use . . . These changes, together with the improvements introduced because of better manufacturing techniques for the gears, resulted in a machine which was basically reliable in operation even if it was large enough to cover a complete desk and often required two men to move it safely from place to place. “Arithmometers remained in production until about the start of the First World War. They were produced in several standard models, some with six, seven, or even eight figures in the set-up mechanism and twice that number of digits in the result register . . . Individual machines were produced before M. Thomas started up his firm, but he ranks as the first to actually create an industry which manufactured mechanical devices to aid in calculation. He was the acknowledged leader in this field for most of the nineteenth century, being awarded the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor for his achievement” (Williams, A History of Computing Technology, pp. 151–52). Randell, The Origins of Digital Computers: Selected Papers, pp. 508-509.Book Id: 46122