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2010/1/179 Mechanical pinwheel calculator, Star Adding Machine, metal / plastic, made by the Todd Protectograph Company, Rochester New York, United States of America, 1930-1950. Click to enlarge.

Star adding machine

This object is part of a collection relating to the history and development of calculating devices assembled by Assoc Professor Allan Bromley of Sydney University, comprising mathematical instruments, slide-rules, mechanical and electronic calculators, electronic analogue computers, computer components, kit computers, education computers, and associated ephemera.

Allan Bromley was a lecturer and researcher at the University of Sydney Basser Department of Computer Science from 1978 until his untimely death in August 2002. He specialised in Computer Architecture, Computer Logic and in particular the History of Computing. He was regarded as the world authority on Charles Babbage's Calculating Engines (instigating the building of the Difference Engine No.2 at the Science Museum London) and the Ankithera Mechanism and had extensive knowledge of calculators, analogue computers, logic, stereopsis, totalisators, clocks and time keeping and mechanical engineering.


Object No.


Object Statement

Mechanical pinwheel calculator, Star Adding Machine, metal / plastic, made by the Todd Protectograph Company, Rochester New York, United States of America, 1930-1950

Physical Description

The Star Adding Machine pin wheel calculator consists of a rectangular, green metal, case with a curved and lockable hinged lid, and nine red topped push buttons at the top, one is missing the red top. When opened, the hinged lid reveals nine tracks of vertical setting wheels, colour coeded from right to left with two red wheels for cents, three black wheels for dollars, three red for thousandths and a final black for millions. Each wheel has a set of numerals from '1:9' on their left. Above each wheel is a small circular window, which reveals the numerals based on its corresponding wheels position. To the right there is a red topped lever used for resetting the counters displayed in the afore mentioned windows. Written on the front of the device, in faded lettering is 'STAR ADDING MACHINE / MANUFACTURER / TODD PROTECTOGRAPH CO / ROCHESTER, N.Y, U.S.A / PATENT NOV 22 1921, OTHER PATENTS PENDING'.


Engraved on the base, '22958'



140 mm


168 mm


225 mm



Credit Line

Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program in memory of Associate Professor Allan Bromley, 2010

Acquisition Date

20 January 2010

Cite this Object


Star adding machine 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 26 October 2020, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Star adding machine |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=26 October 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}


This object record is currently incomplete. Other information may exist in a non-digital form. The Museum continues to update and add new research to collection records.