Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Technology Wednesday--An Obscure (to me) Machine

Conptometer, circa 1940

I was talking to a lady about my age last week, about various jobs she had had, and she mentioned that she was once a conptometer operator. I had never heard of such a machine, but apparently they were a kind of calculator that somehow enabled operators to figure taxes and discounts and to enter lengthy numbers (depending on how many fingers they cared to use) all at once rather than serially as we are used to doing with a calculator. These machines were in use from the 1870's through the 1990's. They were, of course, supplanted by electronic calculators and computers, but for a while anyhow, they ruled the roost. Just goes to show that there's always something that we don't know and that truth is indeed stranger than fiction.

Link to good Wikipedia article on conptometers:

Speaking of older technology, I was at a holiday gathering this past weekend and someone had a phonograph and played actual LP's. I can't remember the last time I listened to an LP. It sounded good.

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