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Multi-Divo

An export machine made by the Berolina company, established by Ernst Schuster, who had been a distributor for Brunsviga, but decided in 1901 that he could build a better machine. From the documentation available, it is hard to figure out when these machines were built exactly. The company was still in existence when Martin wrote his famous book, but the concept of the machine was so antiquated by 1924 (no built-in securities at all) that it is difficult to believe that it still found a market by then.

Berolina had to deal with the Odhner/Brunsviga patent DE64925, that patented the engraving of numbers next to every input pin. Triumphator had the same problem, which is why they added the input control register to their early machines, and omitted the numbers from the input plate. Berolina chose to incorporate one single row of numbers, and then add horizontal lines over the width of the input plate. In the Multi-Divo machines, this was no longer necessary, indicating that they were produced later. They have their proper numbering, starting at 10000, and it is unlikely that more than 100 machines were ever built.

This is N° 10079, which is stamped at the back of the metal base in very small numbers. The insides are identical to the machine restored by Detlev Bölter, which is 4 machines younger than mine. This makes it more likely that the patented input lock for which some provisions are made in the pinwheel cylinder and the chassis of the machine, was not exactly removed in both these machines, but possibly simply never built in in the first place.

The key visual elemant in this machine is obviously the strange carriage shift lever. In order to shift the carriage, you give a single turn to the crank per position you want to shift. By keeping the crank up, you can freely shift the carriage if too many positions have to be skipped.

The baseplate in this machine has been remanufactured according to the original design, which thoughtfully incorporates a strip of felt for the metal cover to rest on. The plate itself, however, is too small, as the handle sticks out past the groove with the felt, and the carriage is also too wide to fit inside the cover, if one would be fitted.

Multi-Divo picture 1

Multi-Divo picture 2

Multi-Divo picture 3

Multi-Divo picture 4