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Profile America — Friday, October 17th. One of the foundations of modern business and science-- the accessibility of accurate calculations -- was reinforced this month in 1887 when a patent was granted to Dorr Eugene Felt for the first adding machine known to be absolutely accurate at all times. Felt called his machine the "comptometer," and some models were still in use a half-century later. The comptometer had the mechanical calculator market to itself until 1902. Adding machines -- soon joined by punch cards -- remained the core of numbers management for more than 60 years until replaced by calculators and computers. Today in the U.S., supplying offices with equipment such as adding machines is the pursuit of some 5,400 office equipment merchant wholesalers. You can find current data on the country's economy by downloading the 'America's Economy' mobile application at http://www.census.gov/mobile.
Kane's Famous First Facts, 2377
The "Comptometer": http://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/search/object/nmah_690457
The inventor: http://history-computer.com/MechanicalCalculators/19thCentury/Felt.html
Chronology of adding machines: http://www.officemuseum.com/calculating_machines.htm
2007 Economic Census data on office equipment wholesalers: http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2007_US_42SLLS1&prodType=table NAICS 4234