William Seward Burroughs
Born Jan 28 1857 - Died Sep 14 1898
Patent Number(s) 388,116
William Seward Burroughs invented the first practical adding and listing machine. Burroughs submitted a patent application in 1885 for his 'Calculating Machine' and the patent was awarded in 1888. In 1886 Burroughs and several St. Louis businessmen formed the American Arithmometer Co. to market the machine. The first machine, however, required a special knack in pulling the handle to execute the calculation correctly. More often than not novice users would get wildly differing sums depending on the vigor they employed in using the invention. In 1893 Burroughs received a patent for an improved calculating machine, which incorporated an oil-filled 'dashpot,' a hydraulic governor. This device enabled the machine to operate properly regardless of the manner with which the handle might be pulled.
Burroughs’ adding machine continually developed into more complex machines. The Sensimatic could store up to twenty-seven balances during posting operations, and the Sensitronic stored balances on a magnetic stripe of the ledger card. Burroughs’ company mostly made calculators for banking systems, but when the company was renamed the Burroughs Corporation in 1953 it began moving into computers. Burroughs Corporation was one of the major eight computer companies in the United States in the 1960s, and in 1986 it merged with Sperry Corporation to form Unisys.