The Marvelous Machine

I’m visiting Sun’s office in Eagan, MN, this week, where I was delighted to find that my colleague Todd Pisek shares my fascination with antique office equipment. These things are nostalgic for me: my aunt and grandfather were both accountants, so I associate memories of them with typewriters, electronic adding machines and, later, a Tandy computer with 11″ floppy disks.

Sitting in a corner of Todd’s office cubicle is this Moon-Hopkins Billing Machine, a century-old typewriter-calculator used to calculate and type out bills. The big hump in the back contains the mathematical guts of the machine. It was one of only two models which could do direct multiplication (instead of arriving at an answer via repeated addition).


MoonHopkins Billing Machine,

Todd would now like to find a Wahl Adder, a calculating unit which could be added on to a Remington typewriter – these are even rarer than the Moon-Hopkins.

My own background being more in electronic typesetting and word processing, my wants are simpler: I’ve always wanted to own a wooden type tray.

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