Branford House Antiques
A Historic 1850s Farmhouse on a Scenic Vermont Dairy Farm








Burroughs Class 5 - Comptometer Style Calculator

This is the model Burroughs came out with in 1912. It closely resembles the comptometer, who at the time was probably the largest competitor to Burroughs in the commercial adding machine business. You might think of this something like HP putting an apple logo on its new laptops.

There were two versions of this machine, one offered 9 places and sold for $200 and the other offered 13 places for $300. These values were comparable to the prices of a new automobile in 1912. This model was tauted as taking up no more space on the desk than a single piece of paper.

These machines remind me of the first Texas Instrument electronic calculators that came out in the 1970s. They were about the same size and did not have printing capability. However, the LED display was astonishing and almost worth the $750 one had to pay for that early machine. Just think of it, $300 in 1912 and $750 in the 1970s and now you can buy a pocket calculator that would run circles around either of those other machines for something less than $10.

Well, the Burrough Model 5 wasn't around for long and they are pretty hard to find today. I surmise that the Comptometer Company (Felt and Tarrington) attempted to protect their technology and name and probably threatened law suits, if not actually filing one, and that Burroughs most likely capitulated and either discontinued the line or at least drastically reduced production and promotion of the model.

See the Comptometer story under the 1887 model one Comptometer offered for sale in the antique adding machine and calculator catagory.


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