Jaap's Mechanical Calculators Page


Archimedes Model D

My Archimedes model D
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My Archimedes model D

The Archimedes model D is a calculator with a stepped drum mechanism. It was made from 1915 until about 1935 in various versions.

Mine has a 12-column full keyboard, with a 12-digit input display. The carriage at the top contains a 16-digit register, and a 9-digit counter. The counter has a carry mechanism. It is in good condition, but some of the key tops have been replaced at some point, as the fonts are not all equal. It may also have been repainted.

Archimedes Model D
Archimedes Model D
Archimedes Model D
Archimedes Model D
Archimedes Model D
Archimedes Model D
Archimedes Model D
Archimedes Model D
Archimedes Model D
Archimedes Model D

Most machines have "Reinhold Pöthig, Glashütte" engraved on them, but this one does not. Instead it has on the carriage "Überlandwerk Glauchau A-G". This may indicate that it was part of a bulk order direct from the factory rather than through a reseller.

The Archimedes was slightly more compact than all the other stepped drum machines of the time. The spacing between the digits is determined by the bulkiness of the stepped drum, and in the Archimedes they managed to reduce its size. By putting the teeth of the stepped drum closer together on one side of the drum, the other side can be completely removed. This not only saves weight, it also allows them to be put even closer together, so that they share the space between them, occupying that space at different times.

The serial number of my machine is 3819. This makes it an early example, probably dating from 1915-1917.

Archimedes Model D
Archimedes Model D
Archimedes Model D
Archimedes Model D
Archimedes Model D
Archimedes Model D
Archimedes Model D
Archimedes Model D
Archimedes Model D
Archimedes Model D
Archimedes Model D
Archimedes Model D
Archimedes Model D
Archimedes Model D
Archimedes Model D
Archimedes Model D
Archimedes Model D


Here is a video where I demonstrate the Archimedes model D.

This video shows the mechanism of the Archimedes model D.


Glashütte is a town in Germany, South of Dresden and close to the border with Czechia. It was a centre for the manufacturing of precision mechanics with many watch and clock manufacturers based there, beginning with Ferdinand Adolph Lange in 1845 who founded what was to become A. Lange & Söhne. Nomon is also based there. There are several calculator manufacturers as well, such as Arthur Burkhardt (who married Lange's daughter), and Saxonia.

In 1890 Constantin Fischer founded a company, Werkstatt für Präzisionsuhren und Feinmechanik. He made, sold, and repaired clocks, bicycles and such. In 1899 Reinhold Pöthig joined the company. The next year there were bankruptcy proceedings, Fischer left the company, and Pöthig became the sole director. Pöthig had worked in Glashütte as an apprentice for Arthur Burkhardt, and had ideas for improvements on the classic Arithmometer design that was made there. He developed his own version and began making them in 1906, and named the machines Archimedes.

By 1912 the company was only making calculators, having abandoned all other activities, so it was renamed to "Glashütter Rechenmaschinen-Fabrik Archimedes, Reinhold Pöthig". In about 1920 Hans Sabielny joined the company. He was a very effective salesman, able to determine what the customers wanted, and use that to steer the development of new models and variants. The company grew, and many different calculator models were developed. The two other Glashütte calculator companies, Arthur Burkhardt and Saxonia, merged together in 1920, but when the great depression hit in 1929 the company failed. Some of the staff joined Archimedes, which somehow managed to survive. Sabielny and Pöthig disagreed on the future of the company in those difficult economic times, and when Sabielny left in 1932 Ulrich Eichler, Pöthig's son-in-law took over his role.

After the second world war, when Germany was divided, Glashütte became part of East Germany. Reinhold Pöthig was removed from the company as it became state-controlled. Ownership of the patents and other intellectual property had however been transferred to Thea Eichler, Reinhold Pöthig's daughter, who with Ulrich Eichler and several other staff went to West Germany. There they joined the Diehl company in Nuremberg. Diehl was a foundry and press works that was founded there in 1902 by Heinrich Diehl. This company had not made calculators before, but with the knowledge from Eichner, Kiel, and others they started making models based on the Archimedes designs from 1952 onwards. Meanwhile the original Archimedes company began to make mechanical calculators for the Eastern Bloc, but without the licences these could not be exported to the West. This continued until about 1960, when they switched to making analogue calculation machines. In 1961 the company name was changed to "VEB Rechenelektronik Glashütte", and the Archimedes brand was abandoned. Eventually the company became part of Robotron, just like Mercedes-Euklid did.


The model A was first made in 1906. It was just as heavy and bulky as any other Arithmometer-type calculator of the time. The model B was identical, except that the counter had a carry mechanism. The model C and later were somewhat smaller and lighter, and had their digits closer together. The spacing between the digits is determined by the size of the stepped drums used in the mechanism. By putting the teeth of the stepped drum closer together on one side of the drum, the other side can be removed. This not only saves weight, it also allows them to be put closer together, sharing the space between them but occupying that space at different times.

Starting with the model D, many variants were produced. Not just variants with different register capacities, but also electric versions, with various amounts of automation. In the table below, I list some of them.

A 1905-1912H6x7x12, 8x7x12, 8x9x16In Belgium sold as "Ideal". Wooden case.
B 1908-1914H6x7x12, 8x7x12, 8x9x16Like A, but has carry mechanism on counter
C 1913-1937H10x8x13, 10x9x16, 10x11x20, 12x12x24Distance between digits reduced by a third. Metal case. Input display at first below sliders, from 1920 above sliders.
D 1915-1928H9x8x13, 9x9x16, 12x9x16, 10x11x20, 12x11x20, 12x13x24, 14x13x24First with keyboard. Crank on the side instead of on top.
DL 1922-1928H9x8x13Manual, automatic division. In Belgium sold as Muldivo. Replaced by H.
F Junior1921-1932H6x6x10, 7x6x10Sliders for input. Small capacity. Small size and weight.
DE 1922-1932E9x9x13, 9x9x16, 12x9x16, 10x11x20, 12x11x20, 12x13x24, 14x13x24Electric motor and multiplier keys attached to right side of case.
DEaD 1927-1932E9x9x16, 10x11x20, 12x13x24DE with automatic division
DF Junior1930 H6x6x10, 7x6x10Small capacity
DLEM 1930 E?x?x13, ?x?x16, ?x?x20Simplified DEaD, no multiplier keys
GE 1931-1937E8x7x14, 9x9x17, 10x11x20Electric, carriage slides without lifting
GEM 1932-1937E8x7x14, 9x9x17, 10x11x20Electric, automatic multiplication, carriage slides without lifting
GEMR 1932-1937E Automatic carriage return and clearing (Rücklauf)
GEMRZ 1932-1937E Two registers (Zwilling)
H 1932-1936H8x6x11, 8x7x13, 8x9x16Manual, stop division, carriage slides without lifting
HD 1933-1940H Manual, automatic division
HE 1933-1938E8x7x14, 9x9x17, 10x11x20Electric, stop division. At first called model G
K 1934-1938E Electric but manual carriage shift, stop division
KT 1934-1938E Electric carriage shift, stop division
LK 1936-1945E8x6x11, 8x7x14
LHD 1937-1943H Manual
L 1937-1945E8x7x14, 9x9x17Electric carriage movement and clearing, automatic division
LL 1937-1945E(8-13)x9x17, (8-13)x11x20Wider body
M 1938-1944E Like model GEMR
LvM/LLvM1938-1945E As L/LL but with shortcut multiplication
SLvM 1937-1940E As LvM but with printing
MZ 1938-1943E Like model GEMRZ
Post-war production in DDR
NH 1946-1953H8x7x14Manual, stop division (like H)
NE 1948-1955E?x?x15, ?x?x18Electric carriage movement and clearing, automatic division (like LK)
NEL 1951-1958E8x7x15, 9x9x18, 11x11x22
NHD 1954-1958H8x7x15, 9x9x18, 11x11x22Manual, automatic division (like HD)
P 1957-1960E Clearing buttons
PE 1957-1960E9x9x18
PA 1959-1960E Automatic multiplication
PEM 1960-1960E


Archimedes Diehl Vom Arithmometer zum druckenden Rechensystem
Harald Schmid
Copyright 2014
Verlag W. Sünkel
208 page softcover book
210mm × 297mm × 9mm

This book details the history and mechanisms of Archimedes and Diehl calculators, with many photographs. Available from the Wehrtechnik Museum.

Archimedes-Diehl book
Archimedes-Diehl book
Archimedes-Diehl book
Archimedes-Diehl book
Archimedes-Diehl book
Archimedes-Diehl book

Archimedes Die Geschichte einer Rechenmaschinenfabrik in Glashütte/Sachsen
Harald Schmid, Ulrich Eichler, Hellmut Hänsgen
Copyright 2016
Verlag W. Sünkel
184 page softcover book
210mm × 297mm × 10mm

This book takes a look at the evolution of the Archimedes company, contains recollections from Ulrich Eichler and Hellmut Hänsgen who worked for Archimedes, and an overview of the models that were produced. Available from the Wehrtechnik Museum.

Archimedes book
Archimedes book
Archimedes book
Archimedes book
Archimedes book

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1914-03-03 Prager Tagblatt
1924 The American Digest Of Business Machines
1926-12-22 Feuille d'avis de Lausanne
1927-02-19 Feuille d'avis de Lausanne
1929-02-03 Tribune de Lausanne
1929 Niederoesterreichischer Almanach
1933-10-10 Illustrierte Technik fuer Jedermann

Here is the entry for Archimedes in Ernst Martin's book, Die Rechenmaschinen.

1925 Ernst Martin 1
1925 Ernst Martin 2
1925 Ernst Martin 3


Here is the list of patents related to the Archimedes machines.

PatentFiling datePublish dateNameDescription
DE 179,75519-05-190520-12-1906Reinhold PöthigSubtraction without bevelled gears
AT 61,296 B30-12-190901-04-1911Reinhold PöthigTwo registers
DE 238,61105-04-191028-09-1911Reinhold PöthigCarry mechanism in counter (Model B)
See also: AT 56,221 B, US 1,085,480
AT 66,061 B02-03-191201-11-1912Reinhold PöthigWarning bell for carry failure
AT 68,776 B19-02-191401-12-1914Reinhold PöthigCounter direction switch
DE 370,47917-06-192003-03-1923Reinhold PöthigInput sliders and display alignment (Model C)
DE 382,04605-03-192129-01-1925Reinhold PöthigMachine with two registers
See also: AT 95,728 B, CH 103,918, FR 563,614. US 1,520,438.
DE 434,14520-02-192522-09-1926Firma Hans SabielnyCarriage shifting mechanism (Model DE)
DE 457,82528-02-192508-03-1928Firma Hans SabielnyElectric drive and multiplier keys (Model DE)
DE 457,82602-05-192608-03-1928Firma Hans SabielnyKeyboard locking
DE 492,23622-06-192606-02-1930Firma Hans SabielnyAutomatic carriage shifting (Model DE)
DE 482,65727-02-192729-09-1929Firma Hans SabielnyAutomatic division (Model DEaD)
DE 474,30526-04-192814-03-1929Reinhold PöthigCarriage shifting without lifting
DE 508,82718-09-193003-10-1930Firma Hans SabielnyAutomatic division
DE 558,62508-04-193005-08-1932Firma Hans SabielnySemi-automatic multiplication (Model DLEM)
DE 584,81129-04-193107-09-1933Reinhold PöthigAutomatic multiplication (Model GEM)
DE 651,56710-02-193530-09-1937Reinhold PöthigShortcut multiplication (Model KT)
See also: CH 189,683
DE 671,52306-04-193526-01-1939Ulrich Eichler; Reinhold PöthigShortcut multiplication on electric calculation with multiplier keys (Model vM)
See also: CH 189,907 US 2,215,263
CH 185,71302-09-193515-08-1936Reinhold PöthigClear keyboard after multiplication/division (Model GEMRZ)
DE 691,44522-09-193530-04-1940Reinhold PöthigBack transfer
See also: CH 203,473
DE 681,95404-08-193614-09-1939Reinhold PöthigCarriage shift buttons (Model KT)
DE 895,54120-02-193715-06-1939Wilhelm Kiel; Reinhold PöthigSimplified input for divisions (Model L)
DE 697,82324-04-193726-09-1940Karl Berthold Wilhelm Kiel; Reinhold PöthigShortcut multiplication (Model vM)
DE 702,30124-04-193709-01-1941Reinhold PöthigElectric shortcut multiplication (Model vM)
DE 696,70231-10-193729-08-1940Reinhold Pöthig; Karl Otto Reinhold HenzelmannBack transfer
See also: CH 206,225, US 2,305,780
CH 201,32902-02-193830-11-1938Reinhold PöthigMotorised carriage
DE 696,70323-01-193829-08-1940Reinhold PöthigBack transfer (Model LR)
See also: CH 208,576
DEA 86,189 AZ18-03-193827-11-1941Archimedes Glashütter Rechenmaschinenfabrik Reinhold PöthigShortcut multiplication (Model vM)
See also: CH 209,385
DE 693,89015-04-193820-06-1940Reinhold PöthigBack transfer
CH 206,22425-04-193831-07-1939Archimedes Glashütter Rechenmaschinenfabrik Reinhold PöthigBack transfer
DE 731,15429-05-193831-12-1942Karl Berthold Wilhelm Kiel; "Archimedes" Glashütter Rechenmaschinenfabrik Reinhold PöthigMultiplier input
See also: CH 209,676
DE 894,46728-06-193811-02-1943Wilhelm Kiel; Archimedes Glashütter Rechenmaschinenfabrik Reinhold PöthigMultiplier display (Model vM)
See also: CH 211,691
DE 745,61418-09-193816-12-1943"Archimedes" Glashütter Rechenmaschinenfabrik Reinhold PöthigBack transfer
DE 882,31925-10-193823-10-1941Archimedes Glashütter Rechenmaschinenfabrik Reinhold PöthigClearing mechanism (Model L)
See also: CH 213,080
DEA 88,766 AZ12-01-193911-03-1943Archimedes Glashütter Rechenmaschinenfabrik Reinhold PöthigBack transfer
See also: CH 214,217
DE 919,78421-02-193914-05-1942Wilhelm Kiel; Archimedes Glashütter Rechenmaschinenfabrik Reinhold PöthigMotorised carriage
See also: CH 214,650
DE 698,75609-07-193917-10-1940Karl Berthold Wilhelm Kiel; Reinhold PöthigElectric machine with shortcut multiplication (Model vM)
See also: CH 209,192
CH 211,51727-07-193930-09-1940Archimedes Glashütter Rechenmaschinenfabrik Reinhold PöthigMotorised carriage
DE 749,09613-08-193927-04-1944Karl Berthold Wilhelm Kiel; Archimedes Glashütter Rechenmaschinenfabrik Reinhold PöthigProportional drive
See also: CH 214,941, US 2,378,560
CH 213,46412-02-194015-02-1941Archimedes Glashütter Rechenmaschinenfabrik Reinhold PöthigBack transfer
DE 760,10216-07-194023-11-1944Karl Berthold Wilhelm Kiel; "Archimedes" Glashütter Rechenmaschinenfabrik Reinhold PöthigDisconnect during carry operation
See also: CH 222,290
DE 746,16602-10-194023-12-1943Karl Berthold Wilhelm Kiel; "Archimedes" Glashütter Rechenmaschinenfabrik Reinhold PöthigPrinting calculator with motorised carriage movement
See also: CH 224,683
DE 746,50631-10-194006-01-1944Karl Berthold Wilhelm Kiel; "Archimedes" Glashütter Rechenmaschinenfabrik Reinhold PöthigPrinting calculator with back transfer
DE 746,50827-06-194106-01-1944Karl Berthold Wilhelm Kiel; "Archimedes" Glashütter Rechenmaschinenfabrik Reinhold PöthigExtended carry mechanism
See also: CH 225,815
DE 916,47502-02-194131-12-1952Wilhelm Kiel; Archimedes Glashütter Rechenmaschinenfabrik Reinhold PöthigShortcut multiplication
See also: CH 224,684
DEA 93,422 AZ12-05-194101-11-1948Archimedes Glashütter Rechenmaschinenfabrik Reinhold PöthigUse of multiplier register as memory
DE 745,99219-07-193923-12-1943"Archimedes" Glashütter Rechenmaschinenfabrik Reinhold PöthigAutomatic clearing (Model L)
See also: CH 224,997
DE 918,78327-08-194210-07-1952Karl Berthold Wilhelm Kiel; "Archimedes" Glashütter Rechenmaschinenfabrik Reinhold PöthigClearing mechanism
DD 13,01727-11-195308-04-1957Hellmut HänsgenClearing mechanism (Model NEL)


Rechnerlexikon has a page about Archimedes, and separate pages about various models like Model A, Model C, Model DE, Model F Junior, and many others. There is also an article about Calculator production in Glashütte.
Rechnen ohne Strom has an Archimedes page containing models A, C, F Junior, and DF.
Cris Vande Velde has several Archimedes machines, namely Model C, Model D, Model F Junior, Model GEMR, Model GEMRZ, Model LoD,
Rechenmaschinen illustrated has an Archimedes page with models A, B, C, D, DeaD, DF Junior, F Junior, H, L, LK, LL, NH, NHD, and PE
Glashütte Uhren has a page about Archimedes with some nice pictures.
Watch-Wiki has a page about Archimedes.
National Museum of American History has in its collection a Model D 9x9x16.
Wehrtechnik Museum had a Archimedes-Diehl temporary exposition and still sells the Archimedes books by Harald Schmid.
Rechenautomat has a page about Harald Schmid's Archimedes Book.

© Copyright 2019-2020 Jaap Scherphuis, .