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|Title: ||Georg Scheutz and the First Printing Calculator|
|Authors: ||Merzbach, Uta C.|
|Issue Date: ||1977|
|Citation: ||Smithsonian Studies in History and Technology; 36|
|Abstract: ||The Swedish publisher Georg Scheutz (1785-1873) was a man who combined literary, political, scientific, and technological interests. Inspired by the difference engine of Charles Babbage, he and his son, the engineer Edvard Scheutz (1821-1881), designed and constructed a machine to compute tabular differences and print the results. The machine, built with a grant from the Swedish government and underwritten by a group of Swedish supporters of Scheutz, was completed in 1853. It was patented in Great Britain in 1854, shown at the Paris Universal Exhibition in 1855, and purchased for the Dudley Observatory in Albany, New York, in 1856. A copy of the machine was constructed in 1857. For a short time, in 1858, work contracted by the United States Department of Navy for the Nautical Almanac Office was performed on the machine. Because of the departure (resulting from a major dispute) of the astronomer Benjamin A. Gould and his assistants from the Dudley Observatory, the machine was used rarely in later years and gradually fell into total disuse.
The arguments surrounding the construction, purchase, and use of the machine portray two recurring themes in the history of technology. One is the conflict between defenders of established procedures and those of new innovations within a given field. The other is the influence of social, economic, or political currents on the activities in that field.
The Scheutz calculator is significant because it made feasible the concept of a machine that computes and then retains results in printed form.|
|Appears in Collections:||Smithsonian Contributions to History and Technology|
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