Lightning Adding Machine Company

Mom and dad went to some auctions this past week. One of the things they bought was a Lightning Adding Machine. There are a lot of different models of the calculator.

Mechanical adding machine

Lightning Adding Machine Co. ca. 1953

Looking at the different versions online, mine appears to be the version that was made in 1953. This version has instructions to do addition and subtraction painted on it. It also has a lever that will clear the calculator quickly.

I’m not much of a collector and decided to use it to track my expenses today. I *really* like it. The mechanical clicking of the dials is very satisfying.

My Nokia internet tablet has a really nice digital tape in the calculator. I like that and used the tape often, because I often made mistakes with that calculator. With the Lightning, I make fewer mistakes. Usually, if I’m going to make a mistake, I realize the error as I am entering the addend.

I really like the mechanical feedback of rotating the dials. Mine doesn’t have any of the original attachments like a stand, stylus or instruction book. I’m using a ball point pen for a stylus. If I take the ink cartridge out of the pen, it should be an reliable stylus.

The only drawback I have found is that if I get distracted in the middle of adding a list of numbers, I don’t know exactly where I stopped… Was I in the middle of a value or which number was the last I entered? I have to start over. For a long list of numbers, I make subtotals of parts of the list and then add the subtotals which helps avoid that problem.

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