Mathematical Treasure: National Class 3000 Bookkeeping Machine

Peggy A. Kidwell (National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution)

NCR Class 3000 bookkeeping machine on stand, made in 1938.

Class 3000 NCR Bookkeeping Machine, 1938, Smithsonian Institution negative number 73-9085.

Beginning in 1929, the National Cash Register Company of Dayton, Ohio, manufactured machines that could not only do arithmetic but print a full range of text. The astronomer Leslie J. Comrie figured out how to use machines of this type to prepare mathematical tables for the British Nautical Almanac. He was able to produce on a modified bookkeeping machine what Charles Babbage had hoped to do with a difference engine. This is not the bookkeeping machine used by Comrie, but it is the type of machine he used.

This object and other bookkeeping machines from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History are shown at the website

Index of Mathematical Treasures

Index of Mathematical Objects