The Dalton Adding and Calculating Machine: September and October, 1918

Akin to the frequent appearance of advertisements in The New York Times for devices and systems for faster and streamlined communication (such as the Private Automatic Exchange telephone system), so was the promotion of machines that would enable a firm or organization to rapidly manipulate numerical data.

That is, calculating machines.

The two advertisements below – for the Dalton Calculating and Adding Machine – appeared in the closing months of the First World War, and in terms of text and graphics are fitting examples of the way such devices were brought to the attention of the public. 

Though known and marketed as “Adding” machines, the advertisements specifically emphasize the machine’s parallel capabilities in the performance of the subtraction, multiplication, and division.  Given the (simplified) description of how these operations are actually performed, in terms of keystrokes and data entry, it’s evident that the copy-writer assumed that his audience would have a basic familiarity with calculating machines, probably from the use of earlier generations of such devices.

Given the timing of the advertisements, it’s notable that the “first” example, from September 17, 1918, specifically alludes to mobilization for America’s effort in “The Great War”, a central issue underlying this effort being speed.  (A brief segue, as it were.)  An analogy is drawn to the capabilities of the Dalton Calculating Machine.  But, with appearance of the example from over a month later – in late October – the war, which would end thirteen days later, is neither mentioned nor alluded to. 

Obviously, the future was at stake, not the present. 

The full text of both advertisements is presented below.

______________________________

September 17, 1918

Put greater Speed into your
Office Accounting

“Speed up” is our national “middle name”.  We gather our men, materials, machinery together and then the wheels commence to turn with mighty force.  The same is applicable to the new office girl who is given a DALTON Adding-Calculating Machine to figure with.

Here is her instrument for the production of figure facts.  No machine equals it in simplicity of keyboard.  Only 10 keys, one for each numeral.  She writes 1276.91 and then 1.53, then .77.  She notes each figure is put into its proper column automatically.  Consider the ease of figuring, the accuracy, the relief afforded by this service.

Shortly she begins to operate the keys without looking at them at all.  This is “touch operation”.  It is the fastest, moist accurate method of handling figures, and is practicable only on the DALTON.  Multiplication – all figure work requiring multiplication is easily handled.  The DALTON adds, subtracts, multiplies, divides, makes out statements, tabulates.  It is the “all-around” adding, listing, calculating machine for figure work in any business.

Phone Barclay 9729 for Demonstration

Compare your present methods with the 10-KEY DALTON.  It may mean a saving in labor or time you did not consider possible.  Phone today or write for data descriptive of the DALTON.

GRUBBS & SHERIDAN
642-646 Woolworth Bldg.

Dalton

Main Office and Factory, Cleveland, Ohio

ADDING AND CALCULATING MACHINE

____________________________________________

October 29, 1918

The All-around Calculating Machine for Every Business

No other office figuring machine has the practical application of the DALTON.  Aside from the simplicity of the keyboard arrangement which eliminates the necessity of experienced help – aside from its utility as the fastest adding and listing machine made – it is also a versatile all-around calculating machine.

Adding machines, as a rule, are designed for adding and listing only.  The DALTON is far more than an adding machine.  It is as easy to multiply on the DALTON as it is to add.  The cipher (0) key makes this possible.  Multiplication of the most complicated problems is but a question of seconds.

See it yourself.  Here is a machine for any arrangement in any business. Railroads, great mercantile houses, business firms everywhere, are standardizing on DALTONS.  It adds, subtracts, multiplies, divides, lists, every operations, adds two totals at once, makes statements, tabulates, etc.

Phone Barclay 5350 for Demonstration

Is your office strictly efficient?  Office costs, like plant or store costs, can only be cut by more efficient machinery.  Let us bring a DALTON to your office for inspections.  Or write for booklet descriptive of this new time and labor saver.

New York Sales Agents:  GRUBSS & SHERIDAN
642-646 Woolworth Bldg.

Dalton                    Main Office and Factory, Cincinati [sic], Ohio

ADDING AND CALCULATING MACHINE

______________________________

Here are three views of a “Dalton Extra Special Adding Machine” of 1920 vintage, from, and as described in detail, at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

______________________________

References

Dalton Adding Machines (at Branford Antiques)

Dalton Adding Machine (at Smithsonian Museum of American History)

The History of James L. Dalton and The Dalton Adding Machine Company (at Dalton Data Bank)

Mechanical Calculators (at Wikipedia)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *