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.

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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)

The Dictaphone: July and August, 1918

Information can be transmitted.

Information can be analyzed.

It can be manipulated

But, for those activities to take place, something else is necessary:  Information has to be stored. 

For which purpose, the three mid-1918 advertisements below – promoting The Dictaphone sound recording machine – are examples. 

The Dictaphone Company was founded by Alexander Graham Bell, the name – Dictaphone – being trademarked by the Columbia Graphophone Company in 1907.  The technology of the device was based on the use of wax-coated cardboard cylinders for sound recording.  The Dictaphone company existed through 1979 (!), when it was purchased, though retained as an independent subsidiary, by Pitney Bowes. 

______________________________

Though the advertisement uses different images – the Dictaphone itself; a “boss” or manager surveying inefficiency in an office setting; a generic office setting – and the “copy” also differs, the fundamental thrust of the ads is identical:  More efficient use of the employee labor, greater output of correspondence, and supplanting activity of absent employees. As per August 20, 1918: “No wonder that every stenographer away on her vacation adds greatly to the burden or short help, mail congestion and overtime work.”  (Uh-oh!)  Each advertisement closes with the suggestion that the prospective client should obtain a copy of Dictaphone Company’s booklet, “The Man at The Desk”.  

The full text of the three advertisements is presented below.

July 8, 1918

Why The Dictaphone for you?

The Dictaphone keeps the mail going out on time in spite of summer vacations.

The Dictaphone is the easiest, the most comfortable, the nerve-saving method of hot-weather dictation.

Two Dictaphone operators can write more letters per day than four able stenographers.  Dictaphone operators can wrote from 50% to 100% more letters per day, better letters, too.

Convince yourself with a demonstration in your office, on your work.  No obligations.

Secretaries and Stenographers: Send for free book, “One Way to Bigger Pay.”

Phone, Worth 7250          280 Broadway

“The Shortest Route to the “Mail Chute”

Write for “The Man at the Desk”

It is not a Dictaphone unless trade-marked “The Dictaphone,” made and merchandised by the Columbia Gramophone Company.

______________________________

August 13, 1918

“If I Only Had the Dictaphone!”

Four of his stenographers are spending two hours apiece per day taking dictation, and the fifth is on her vacation.  No wonder that much important dictation must wait until tomorrow.

Install the Dictaphone in his office, and he would not miss the girl on her vacation.  The other three girls would easily turn out more letters per day than all four when they have to write each other in shorthand as well as on the typewriter.

And with the Dictaphone right at his elbow all the time, he could dictate his important mail at the hour most convenient to him.

You need the Dictaphone as much as he.  Phone or write today for a demonstration in your office, on your work.

THE DICTAPHONE
Registered in the U.S. and Foreign Countries
Phone 7250 Worth           Call at 280 Broadway
Write for the booklet, “The Man at the Desk,” Room 224, 280 Broadway, New York

It is not a Dictaphone unless it is trade-marked “The Dictaphone,” made and merchandised by the Columbia Graphophone Company.

“The Shortest Route to the Mail Chute”

______________________________

August 20, 1918

The Dictaphone solves vacation troubles

Look at the waste!  The typewriter is absolutely idle.  One stenographer has been taking dictation continuously for nearly two hours.  The second stenographer is puzzling over her shorthand notes.  And all this time, not one letter is actually being written.

No wonder that every stenographer away on her vacation adds greatly to the burden or short help, mail congestion and overtime work.

What is the remedy?  Stop writing each letter twice.  The Dictaphone makes it necessary to write each letter only once – on the typewriter.  Result – from 50% to 100% more letters per day – better letters, too, and at one-third less cost.  Phone or write for demonstration in your office, on your work.

To Secretaries and Stenographers
You have to pay for the time you lose going back and forth to take dictation – and waiting to take dictation – with overtime work and constant strain and anxiety.  Send for free book “One Way to Bigger Pay.”

THE DICTAPHONE
Registered in the U.S. and Foreign Countries
Phone 7250 Worth           Call at 280 Broadway
Write for the booklet, “The Man at the Desk,” Room 224, 280 Broadway, New York

It is not a Dictaphone unless it is trade-marked “The Dictaphone,” made and merchandised by the Columbia Graphophone Company.

“The Shortest Route to the Mail Chute”

______________________________

References

Dictaphone (at Wikipedia)

Dictation Machine (at Wikipedia)