I bought this MADAS VII calculator, N° 4715, in remarkably good condition in the Netherlands.

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Instructions on the inside of the lid - Click for a larger view.

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I drove over on a cold winter evening, to see whether it really looked as good as it did in the pictures, and indeed it did. It looked in fact brand new. Most of these high-end calculators were bought by banks or insurance companies, and used intensively for 8 hours a day, until they fell apart, at which point they were replaced with a newer or faster model. I asked the seller about this particular machine, and why it still looked so good after all these years.

He told me that his grandfather had been the first Peugeot dealer in the country, and had had considerable success selling these French cars in the Netherlands. After he had been in business for a few years, he had heard about these new-fangled contraptions which would do calculations for you, and in a typical display of mechanophilic insanity coupled with "cost is no objection", he had declared that he wanted the best calculator available on the market. Logically, then, it had to be Swiss. Since the MADAS was the first (and only) machine on the market with automatic division, this was the machine that he would buy. After some correspondence, he drove to Switzerland (in a Peugeot, obviously) and picked up the machine ex-works in Zürich. Judging from the serial number of the machine, this must have been in 1916 (see Martin Reese's monograph on the MADAS machines). Since the Netherlands remained neutral in the first world war, travel to Switzerland was possible.

After transporting the machine back to the Netherlands, it was gently used for balancing the books of the garage and car dealership, and for tax calculations. Both of these were basically once-a-year excercises.

After mechanical calculators became obsolete, it moved to the attic, and this is how I obtained it in nearly brand-new condition, with all its paint and blueing absolutely intact.

After a good cleaning, also on the inside, and oil, it is the best example of a MADAS machine that I have seen, bar none, and I hope to keep it that way for a long, long time. It also works as smoothly as Hans Egli could ever have wished.

To demonstrate that, and to show how the automatic division works, we do a small calculation here, calculating the radius of the circle with surface 1, by dividing 1 by pi. It is easy and fast!

Many years later, I received a surprise email, in Spanish, from Argentina. A fellow collector there had made stickers with the MADAS logo for his own machine, and kindly offered to send me some. Subsequently, nothing happened for 9 months. We assume that they got lost in the mail. So he resent the stickers with registered mail, and they arrived just fine, as a complete surprise to me, because I had forgotten.

However, the sticker complements the (repainted) cover of the machine very nicely indeed!

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It needed cutting to the desired round shape

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...then I colored the edges black with alcohol marker

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And finally put it in place - nice!

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