Burroughs got his idea of building a calculator while working with Frank Stephen Baldwin,
He received his first patent in 1888 and had manufactured 50 machines by the next year. They proved impossible for anyone but Burroughs to operate. (There was one exception, a field agent who operated his calculator so well he refused to sell it, preferring to haul it from saloon to saloon in a wheelbarrow betting drinks on his accuracy.)
The machines were recalled and soon afterwards Burroughs invented a corrective automatic device. Shortly thereafter, he went to the room where the malfunctioning 50 were stored, carried them one by one to the window and hurled them to the pavement below. While key driven machines were making the scene, another group of machines was under development using another principle: that of the cylinder with variable number of teeth. "
David Weil, Computer Museum of America.
|Source: Computer Museum of America.