The Badenia TH 13 is a stepped drum calculator, clearly based on the Arithmometer of Thomas de Colmar. The model number signifies that there are 13 digits in the register. The register and an 8-digit counter are located in a carriage which is angled towards the operator to make it easier to read the results.
It has a 9-digit input register which is set through a keyboard with 9 columns of keys, one column for each input digit. The machine is manually driven, as indicated by the letter H in the model name, and the crank is on the right hand side. To the right of the keyboard is a small switch that selects whether or not the keyboard is cleared automatically with each turn of the crank. The crank is always turned clockwise, so there is a switch on the left that selects whether to add or subtract. A second switch on the left selects whether the counter counts additions or subtractions. The handle on the front of the body is used for shifting the carriage.
It has serial number 8526, which is visible on the right hand side of the carriage. I think that dates this machine to about 1936.
The rear panel has six bolts that can easily be removed by hand, giving access to the mechanism. The bottom panel can be removed by unscrewing the four feet. Three of the rubber feet are missing, and I have replaced those by small wooden blocks so that the bottom plate is more securely held in place, and so that the screws don't scratch the floor. On the inside, one guiding rod is missing in the keyboard mechanism, so I have disconnected its mechanism, which disables the left-most column of keys.
Here is a video where I demonstrate the Badenia.
The company that made the Badenia was Math. Bäuerle, named after its founder Mathias Bäuerle. It was founded in 1863 near St. Georgen, Germany, and made mechanical devices such as watches and clocks. Three of his sons, Tobias, Fridolin und Christian Bäuerle took over the running of the company.
In 1903 they made their first calculators, mostly under the direction of Tobias. They were sold under the brand name Peerless, and were standard stepped drum machines based on the Thomas Arithmometer. These calculators had sliders as input. From 1915 versions were made with keyboards, in 1920 these were rebranded Badenia. In 1923 they came to an agreement with the Austria company, run by the Herzstark family. In exchange for the use of Austria's patents, knowledge and experience, Bäuerle would do some of the manufacturing for Austria. Under this arrangement some Peerless and Badenia machines were sold under the name Austria or Herzstark in Hungary and Austria. Using the new knowledge they also began to develop electrically driven models. The arrangement ended some time in the 1930s.
During the second world war production and development of calculators was greatly reduced (it is unclear whether anything was produced between about 1943 and 1949), but in the late 1940s they gave the existing machines a more modern casing, and also began making new models with more automation. The Peerless brand name was revived (there had been no models with slider input since 1930) for use outside Germany. The company made calculators until 1963, after which Math. Bäuerle mostly produced machines for folding paper. They had already started making such machines in 1952.
The early Peerless and Badenia machines were mostly given Roman numeral model names I to IV, and those really only described the size of the register (12/13, 16, 20, or 24 digits). Nevertheless, these standard machines evolved through several distinct generations:
1903: The first Peerless machines had a traditional rectangular wooden casing.
1905?: Peerless machines with a cast iron case were made. The name Peerless was cast in the sides between the legs. Note that for a while wooden cases were also still being made.
1920: Case made from metal sheets around a cast iron frame. The brand name Badenia was also introduced to denote keyboard machines, while those with sliders kept the name Peerless. They had already designed the keyboard machine in 1914, but due to the first world war it was not really put into production until 1920. Nevertheless it is possible that some keyboard machines may have been constructed earlier, still under the Peerless name.
1927: The carriage register became angled more vertically towards the user compared to the keyboard.
There were a few special models produced during this period as well.
1905?, Baby: The Peerless Baby was a smaller, lighter, more portable
version. The carriage was the same as in the normal Peerless, but the casing and
the mechanism inside was much smaller. The small version of the Badenia was called
the Badenia Klein, though the keyboard meant that its size could not be reduced as
much. The Peerless Baby machines rebadged by Austria were called Austria Liliput.
1907, Rapid: On the Peerless Rapid you could engage a 1:3 gearing ratio on the crank for faster multiplication. To ensure you turned the crank the correct amount, there was a dial with which you would select the multiplier digit so that the crank would stop after the mechanism had turned the correct number of times. You would then move the crank backwards to its start position, shift the carriage, and select the next multiplier digit. The Badenia Rapid had a slider instead of a dial for selecting the multiplier digit.
1913, Duplex: The Peerless Duplex had two registers, similar to the Unitas that was first made in 1907. On the early Peerless Duplex machines the two registers were in separate carriages so could slide independently, but by the time Badenia Duplex machines were made the two registers were housed in a single carriage.
In about 1929 everything changed. From this point on, only keyboard machines were made, and the Rapid and Baby/Klein variants were discontinued. The models were all given names starting with the letter T. The letter combination was followed by the number of digits in the register. Most models were electric, developed using the knowledge gained from the agreement with the Austria company.
TH: The standard manually driven Badenia model. The H means Handgetrieb.
TEH: This model had electric drive, but also had a hand crank as a fall back.
TE: This is a fully electric model. It had a column of multiplier keys for turning the crank electrically any number of times.
TEG: I am not certain how this model differs from the normal TE, but the G probably indicated that the carriage glides, i.e. no longer lifts up when shifted. I think that once this became standard, the G was dropped from the name.
This period lasted until the middle of the second world war. These machines all had sheet metal cases, usually painted black, though the plate under the keyboard keys was green. Duplex versions were made of most of these models, too.
After the war had interrupted proceedings, it took till about 1949 before production was back to normal. The casing now had a stylish dark grey finish, and in 1950 the casing was redesigned by Ferdinand Spaeti who embedded the carriage control buttons in the front edge of the case. The cases were soon became light metallic grey. New models were designed with more automation, and production was ramped up considerably compared to before the war. The Peerless brand name was revived and mostly used for these machines outside of Germany. The models in this period were:
TH: The cheap manual machine was only made for two or three more years, after which
only electric models were made. Note that it no longer had a separate handle for shifting
the carriage, because it was done by pushing or pulling crank and then turning it.
TE: The basic electric model was also made for two or three more years.
TA: The A means it has Automatic division. Replaced by TAV in 1952.
TAR: The R stands for Rückübertrag, so this model has back transfer.
TAV: Launched in 1952, this successor to the TA has easier input for divisions. After entering the dividend on the keyboard it will automatically shift the carriage the selected number of digits to the right, enter the dividend in the register without affecting the counter, and clear the keyboard.
TAVZL: The Z stands for Zehnerübertrag, or tens carry. The carry is now performed through the whole register, even if the carriage sticks out to the left. The L stands for löschung, meaning it has improved clearing capabilities.
VA: This model has an internal storage register. The V-series launched in 1960 had a new look, and was the final generation of Bdenia calculators.
VARE: As model VA but with electric back transfer.
Even these late models were also produced as Duplex versions. Calculator production ended in 1963.
All the calculators were given consecutive serial numbers regardless of the model type. This means that it should be possible to date any Peerless or Badenia machine by its serial number. Unfortunately there are no precise records available to use as reference. The following table is a rough guess.
Erfolg hat Geschichte 125 Jahre Mathias Bäuerle GmbH, St. Georgen / Schwarzwald (PDF, 60.2 MB)
Mathias Bäuerle GmbH
62 page book
210mm × 296mm × 7mm
This was a promotional book printed on the 125th anniversary of the Math. Bäuerle company. The first part of the book is a very nicely illustrated history of the company, and the second part shows off the company's current activities (in 1988). The book was accompanied by a cover letter from 1991, and a photocopy of a letter from 1966.
I found a few advertisements and articles in British and Dutch newspapers.
Here are entries from Ernst Martin's book and The American Digest Of Business Machines.
Here are some of the patents I have found for the Peerless and Badenia machines. The company also holds patents related to clocks and to folding machines, and those are not listed here. I have also included one patent for electric drive by Herzstark that is relevant due to through the agreement with Austria.
|Patent||Filing date||Publish date||Name||Description|
|GB 1907/01666||22-01-1907||27-06-1907||Tobias Bäuerle||Input clicking mechanism, and decimal pointers|
|DE 199,096||05-04-1907||09-06-1908||Firma Math. Bäuerle||Input clearing mechanism
See also: FR 377,953, GB 1907/15261, US 892,704.
|US 944,762||25-03-1909||28-12-1909||Tobias Baeuerle||Peerless Rapid selection switch on crank|
|DE 209,010||23-06-1908||19-04-1909||Firma Math. Bäuerle||Peerless Rapid
See also: US 967,489.
|DE 282,072||11-08-1912||15-02-1915||Firma Math. Bäuerle||Improved carry mechanism|
|DE 287,571||17-12-1912||28-09-1915||Firma Math. Bäuerle||Improved carry mechanism|
|AT 65,216 B||31-05-1913||10-06-1914||Samuel Jacob Herzstark||Electric drive|
|DE 346,441||23-06-1915||30-12-1921||Math. Bäuerle Uhrenfabrik||Keyboard input|
|DE 348,426||24-01-1913||08-02-1922||Math. Bäuerle Uhrenfabrik||Peerless Duplex
See also: US 1,482,372.
|DE 392,314||19-06-1923||18-03-1924||Firma Math. Bäuerle||Badenia Rapid|
|DE 405,413||14-05-1924||31-10-1924||Firma Math. Bäuerle||Improved carriage locking|
|DE 538,698||19-12-1929||16-11-1931||Firma Math. Bäuerle||Disconnecting carry mechanism for sliding carriage|
|DE 915,276||02-10-1948||19-07-1954||Ferdinand Spaeti; Math. Bäuerle G.m.b.H.||Case design with buttons on front edge
See also: FR 976,186.
|DE 917,935||02-10-1948||16-09-1954||Ferdinand Spaeti; Math. Bäuerle G.m.b.H.||Decimal point indicators|
Rechnerlexikon has pages for many models of Peerless and Badenia, all listed on the page about
Math. Bäuerle. There is also an interesting short article on
the history of the company (PDF), and an article on
stop-multiplication of the Rapid models.
Rechenmaschinen Illustrated has a various Peerless and Badenia machines.
Rechnen ohne Strom has a collection of Peerless and Badenia models.
History of Computers has a page about the Mathias Bäuerle company.
The Arithmeum has many Peerless and Badenia machine in its collection, including many that were rebadged as Austria/Herzstark machines. Find them on the list of 20th century calculators.
MB Bäuerle still exists but make folding machines.
Cris Vande Velde's site has two Badenia machines, one just before and one just after the 1950 re-design.
© Copyright 2020 Jaap Scherphuis, mechcalc a t jaapsch d o t net.