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Mystery Monotype Object

Started by Dave Hughes, June 04, 2022, 07:31:55 AM

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Dave Hughes

I found this post on Twitter with a picture of an unusual (to me) piece of Monotype machinery.

Is it one item, or a small Monotype-branded item placed on top of a larger calculator?

I'm sure the Monotype experts on here will soon solve this.

I've machine-translated the French post, which would suggest that the item is for sale, but no link provided.

For sale sublime old mechanical calculator from the beginning of 1900. Lanston monotype machine company.
Vintage Indus deco atmosphere"

The FAMOUS "vintage industrial decor" atmosphere, guaranteed price explosion!
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Keri Szafir

Monotype did make mechanical calculators as a sort of side gig.
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." --Arthur C. Clarke
"A thing of beauty is a joy for ever." --John Keats
Founder and owner of Keritech Electronics

Dave Hughes

Thanks for solving this one Keri, didn't think it would take long!

It is indeed a Barrett (Monotype) full-keyboard adding machine. The sort of thing that the "Head of Accounts" would get excited about.

Here's a better picture of one, and some further information, courtesy of John Wolff's Web Museum:

"Barrett (Monotype), S/N 66114
Manual, 9/12 columns, decimal.
Dimensions: 250W x 330D x 220H
Weight: 11.0kg
Manufactured: Lanston Monotype Machine Company, Philadelphia, 1915-1940s

Glenn J Barrett (b.1869) had an interest in both typewriters and adding machines. Several of his patents from the early 1900s relate to adding mechanisms for typewriters, and are variously assigned to the Burroughs, Smith, and Remington companies. In 1910 he designed a new non-printing calculator, and set up the Barrett Adding Machine Company in 1914. The company produced a range of printing and non-printing machines in full-keyboard and later in ten-key versions. In 1922 Barrett sold the business to the Lanston Monotype Company, who continued to develop and manufacture the machines into the 1940s."

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John Cornelisse

This machine stood also as the basis of all tables in the manual-books used by Monotype.

On the UK eBay a manual of this machine is available see:

Dave Hughes

For the sake of completeness, here's a video of someone demonstrating how the machine works.

I think, in summary, it can do a bit more than your phone, but not much more!
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