Optima Calculating Disc by Dr. Hauff

The Optima Calculating machine is well made, and functional for its purpose, but it is especially a fantastic example of early 20th century advertising, which apparently was not required to bear any relevance to reality at all.

So it's a calculating disc, and it has a "smart" pointer, which will add two extra digits with tens' carry to the two lowest digits that are dialled directly on the disc, so the machine is essentially a column adder that can count up to 9999. Tens' carry is effected by a pin on the large gear that meshes with the 100s gear when passing from 99 to 00, and this gear in turn has a long thin pointer which will operate the 1000s gear when going from 999 to 1000

The accompanying leaflet, wich is not a set of instructions for use, but merely a four page advertisement, features the universality of the machine, its uniqueness, its newness, capacity, cheapness, huge numbers that are in use, the gold medals it won, the titles and honours of its inventor, its security, precision and speed, its tens' carry, the impossibility of errors, the fact that it will without any mental effort do long series of additions (fair enough, that), multiplication (ehm .. ?) as well as division (?!) for numbers up to a billion (!!). There is certainly some poetic license there!

The advertisement then carries on with a full page of glowing press reviews, and ends with a full page of letters by users (out of a database of several hundred, they stress) as well as an extract out of the list of users (which they stress has several thousand entries).

Seriously, what's not to love ?

I'll leave the pictures of the machine and the leaflet here for your admiration.

Optima picture 2

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Optima picture 1

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