Person: Baldwin, Frank Stephen
Frank Baldwin was an American who invented a pinwheel calculator.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Baldwin's life as an inventor began soon after he left Union College and, in 1855, he applied for a patent on a self-coupler for railway carriages.
- Abraham Lincoln, the President, had asked volunteers to sign up for three months, and this is what Baldwin did.
- At this stage Baldwin did not volunteer for further service, however, and he left Carlyle and returned to Fort Wayne, Indiana.
- In 1869 Baldwin moved to St Louis to become the manager of the lumber firm Peck's Planning Mills.
- Frank and Mary had met while Mary was visiting relatives in St Louis.
- In the year following their marriage, they moved to Philadelphia where Baldwin rented a small shop and began to build his calculating machines.
- Newcomb studied the operation of the calculator and highly complimented Baldwin on his invention.
- The basic ideas of Baldwin's calculator were taken up by Willgodt Theophile Odhner from Sweden.
- Very similar in design to the Baldwin machine and embodying the two distinctive features of Mr Baldwin's invention, the cam operated radial pins and the sliding wedge carrying mechanism.
- Odhner interchanged the Baldwin static and moving parts, placing the numeral wheels in the carriage and the selector mechanism in the frame ...
- Otherwise, the disposition of parts and operation are very similar to those of the Baldwin machine.
- Baldwin did not entirely concentrate on calculating machines for he was granted a U.S. Patent for a Cement Mixer on 12 May 1891, and for a Roundabout on 7 June 1892.
- However, he returned to further inventions relating to the calculator and he was awarded a U.S. Patent for the Baldwin Computing Engine on 9 January 1900.
- Baldwin designed a listing machine in 1905 with only ten keys and a spacer.
- After the award of a further Patent in 1908 for the Baldwin Recording Calculator, which combined the listing facilities of the 1905 machine with a calculator, he collaborated with Jay Randolph Monroe, of the Western Electric Company in New York City, from 1911 onwards.
- Together they added a keyboard and modified Baldwin's Recording Calculator so that it was suitable for commercial production.
- Monroe purchased the rights to the computer from Baldwin and began selling the calculator under the name Model G.
Born 10 April 1838, New Hartford, Connecticut, USA. Died 8 April 1925, Denville, New Jersey, USA.
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Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive