keyboard XxX

S/N 1909 This is a very large and heavy machine from Seidel & Naumann in Dresden. It started by an advert on a second hand website, advertising an "antique calculator" and I called the seller about it. He didn't know anything else than that it was a calculator, and had been from his grandfather, kept as a memento by his grandmother, who was now moving to a nursing home, and he was selling some of her things. He knew no brand, just that it was large, had a wooden case (that got my attention in a hurry) and was now standing in the garage of his girlfriend's father. So that is where I drove, and when the garage door opened, this is what I was confronted with:

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After some trouble to open the case, out came a beautiful keyboard XxX ... which was completely blocked.

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I bought it on the spot, simply based on the excellent optical condition, thinking to myself that not much could be wrong with it. Partial disassembly yielded a piece of 1953 newspaper, which contained some nondescript small parts, and a broken machine screw. I figured that that was probably where the problem was. Further cleaning, and a start of the disassembly of the top plate, yielded a resounding "clunk", I still don't know from where, and the machine was unblocked. The parts in the piece of newspaper are probably part of the automatic keyboard clearing mechanism, which does not work. Other than that, the machine has worked flawlessly ever since.

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The serial number is 1909, which is probably also close to its year of construction - possibly it was made a few years later, around 1912 or so, I have been unable to find hard data. The XxX keyboard was patented in 1910. This is the serial number on the bottom of the carriage and the carriage sliding rail.

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The machine is really insanely heavy (31 kg), but has a few interesting features. The key marked with "Z" is an item counter if it is to be used as an adding machine. For this, the large handle on the right side can be used. A single pull corresponds to one crank rotation, and with the automatic keyboard clearing (on the right) engaged, it behaves very much like an adding machine. For those who like to crank instead of pull, there is of course also the classical rotating crank. The other button on the left side next to the keyboard is the manual "clear the entire keyboard". There are three reset levers on the carriage. The top one on the left clears the revolution counter, the lower one on the left clears the entire result register, and the clearing lever on the right side clears the righthand five digits of the result register only. Possibly this was conceived again in the spirit of it being used as an adding machine, so the result could be cleared without losing the total item count.