Remember This? Dial-A-Matic Adding Machine

Dorri Partain
Northeast News

The Dial-A-Matic Automatic Adding Machine needs no batteries or solar power to calculate the answer.

A series of connected rotary wheels and gears could be dialed to compute the equation in a portable, lightweight design.

Sterling Plastics Model No. 565 was patented by Otto Lehre in 1957.

Featuring a wheel for each unit of ones, tens, hundreds, and thousands, the user could add to or subtract from 9,999.

Other models featured five or six wheels to calculate higher amounts.  Each came with a plastic pick (stylus) to rotate the dial to the necessary number; a pencil or pen point could be used as well.

To add, the user placed the pick to match the correct number outside the wheel then moved the wheel to the right until the number appeared in the window, then repeated the process until the computation was complete.

To subtract, the user followed the same process but matched the correct number inside the wheel and moved the pick to the left.

On this model, returning to zero had to be done manually, but future models included a side lever that would clear to zero automatically.

Sterling Plastics of Springfield, New Jersey carried a full line of office supplies, including various models of slide rule, used for rapid multiplication and division.

Electronics manufacturers began developing multi-function handheld calculators in the early 1970s.

Texas Instruments introduced the TI-80 in 1976, selling for $25 each.

Operated by a 9-volt battery, it replaced the need for separate adding machines and slide rules.

Otto Lehre patented another device for Sterling Products in 1960, a moistener used to dampen stamps and seal envelopes.

The Dial-A-Matic Adding Machine No. 565 retailed for $1.50.

Want Northeast News articles sent straight to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
Enter your email address and click on the Get Instant Access button.
We respect your privacy

Comments are closed.

  • P&L building lights up KC

    November 6th, 2019

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News Arguably one of the finest examples of Art Deco architecture in the country, rivaled only by […]

    Remember This: Reddy Kilowatt

    November 5th, 2019

    Dorri Partain Northeast News Someone’s in the kitchen with Reddy Kilowatt. In 1926, Ashton B. Collins Sr. was looking to […]

    REMEMBER THIS? Inexpensive costumes.

    October 30th, 2019

    Dorri Partain Northeast News What would you like to be for Halloween? Whether it’s an animal, an occupation, or the […]

    Early 1900s school site is now interstate interchange

    October 30th, 2019

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News This view of The Paseo, between 15th and 16th Streets, looks north toward the old Chace […]

    Author Poe lives on through this literary postcard

    October 23rd, 2019

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News This Halloween, we depart from our traditional jack-o-lantern or witching-style postcard and offer this literary postcard […]

  • Remember This? Golden Wedding Coffee

    October 16th, 2019

    Dorri Partain Northeast News The aroma of fresh-roasted coffee wafting around Kansas City is not a recent trend. In 1899, […]

    A royal treat since 1899

    October 16th, 2019

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News The roots of today’s American Royal can be traced to 1899 when the fledgling event was […]

    Dodge flashes ahead in style with the 1955 Dodge Royal Lancer

    October 9th, 2019

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News Advertising postcards such as these were used widely by automobile dealers from the early 1920s through […]

    Remember This? Mileage meter.

    October 9th, 2019

    Dorri Partain Northeast News How many miles can you drive between fuel-ups? This handy mileage meter, compliments of your local […]

    Taming the streets of Kansas City

    October 2nd, 2019

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News Print advertisements placed by the Oldsmobile Company in 1939 tout the new Olds “60” as the […]

  • Faces Of Northeast

  • Remember This?

    Remember This? Car keys

    October 2nd, 2019

  • retorts illustrated by bryan stalder

  • Want articles sent directly to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
    We respect your privacy and will not distribute your information.