- Home /
- Mechanical Calculators /
- Consul, The Educated Monkey
Consul, The Educated Monkey
Consul, The Educated Monkey
Advertisements and articles
Consul, The Educated Monkey
Consul The Educated Monkey is a toy made of sheet metal. It depicts a monkey
whose arms and legs are articulated in a clever way. There is a scale at the
bottom going from 1 to 12 followed by a □ symbol, and the back plate has
a triangular table of numbers. The monkey's feet can slide along that scale,
and if the feet are on two numbers, the monkey's hands encircle their product
in the table. The feet cannot both point at the same number, so if you want to
square a number, put one foot on the number and the other on the □ symbol.
This version has a fold-out stand on the back so that it can be placed
upright. It is a modern replica made by DBS, Düsseldorfer Blechspielwaren,
and in one corner it has the year 2012. The front is very close to the 1916 original,
except that the corners are a bit rounder.
I do not have any instructions. The original versions of Consul had an
instruction card with the following text:
The Educated Monkey
WHAT IT CAN DO
- When the monkey's feet are set to point at two numbers, its fingers will locate
- It teaches the complete multiplication table.
- It teaches the complete addition table.
- It can add, subtract, multiply, divide, or factor.
- It is accompanied by an entertaining and instructive game for children.
- Its link motion makes a mathematical puzzle which has advanced students
guessing. Try an expert with it. (See back of addition card.)
- It is a classic in the toy line. A device which interests both young and old.
In order to slide the monkey feet along the slot very easily, be sure to use
both of your thumbs, placing a thumb directly on each monkey foot and your
middle fingers on the rivet heads underneath. (See back of plate.)
To multiply, adjust each of the monkey's feet to point directly at a number.
The monkey's fingers will then locate the product of the two numbers, To multiply
a number by itself set one foot to point at the number and the other at the □
To add, insert the addition card between the monkey and the plate and carefully
locate it in proper position. Secure it to the plate by paper fasteners; or, if
these are not at hand, the card can be neatly tied to the plate by passing a band of
red twine through the card and through the small slots in the plate and tying in
the rear. Further directions are on the back of addition card.
IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE TO THE MONKEY WHETHER CHILDREN
ARE BRIGHT OR STUPID, HE NEVER LOSES PATIENCE AT HAVING TO
ANSWER THEIR QUESTIONS.
MADE IN U.S.A.
The Educational Toy Manufacturing Co.
And on the reverse:
|| Brain power is increased by
mental exercise. Turning work
into play enables children to
take the necessary exercise. The
game Multe can be used to turn
certain kinds of work into play.|
The mechanism of the Educated Monkey device is well adapted for use in playing games. It
gives a chance to ingenious persons to invent a variety of games. It offers teachers an opportunity
to develop a fine art in teaching children numerical tables and stimulating even the dullest
to do their best.
The game Multe is played as follows: Several slips of paper are ruled, as shown below, should be
prepared. In each of the upper ten spaces there should be written a pair of numbers each number
being not greated than 12. The slips are placed in a hat or box.
Each contestant draws out a slip and select a product for each pair of numbers, and writes his
selection on the slip, one product under each pair of numbers. In making these selections,
beginners may be allowed to look at the monkey chart, but not to operate the monkey. When
finished, each slip may be considered as ten questions and ten answers.
An umpire is selected by the players. The umpire takes a finished slip and calls out the first
question and its answer. Each player who is in doubt as to whether the answer is correct is
allowed to consult his monkey. If the answer is correct, the next answer is checked.
Whenever an incorrect answer is found the umpire cuts with scissors one space from the end
of that portion of the slip which has already been checked. At the end of the game the player
having the longest slip remaining is declared the winner of the game.
If each player saves their used slips and pastes them together end to end, then after a certain
number of games, the contestant with the longest roll of slips is declared champion, for the day,
or the week, as the case may be.
If this game is played by a class at school, the class should be divided into groups, the members
of which are about equally matched in order that no one may become discouraged.
Beginners who know nothing of the table should be told to select their products at random,
Enough slips to last for several games can be prepared in advance. Sample slip is shown here.
It also came with a smaller card with an addition table.
Push stem of a T-shaped paper fastener through here and through
corresponding slots in plate, or fasten to plate by passing
a band of red twine through card and slots and
tying in rear.
| || || || || || || || || || || || 2|| || || || || || || || || || || |
| || || || || || || || || || ||13|| || 4|| || || || || || || || || || |
| || || || || || || || || ||12|| ||14|| || 6|| || || || || || || || || |
| || || || || || || || ||11|| ||13|| ||15|| || 8|| || || || || || || || |
| || || || || || || ||10|| ||12|| ||14|| ||16|| ||10|| || || || || || || |
| || || || || || || 9|| ||11|| ||13|| ||15|| ||17|| ||12|| || || || || || |
| || || || || || 8|| ||10|| ||12|| ||14|| ||16|| ||18|| ||14|| || || || || |
| || || || || 7|| || 9|| ||11|| ||13|| ||15|| ||17|| ||19|| ||16|| || || || |
| || || || 6|| || 8|| ||10|| ||12|| ||14|| ||16|| ||18|| ||20|| ||18|| || || |
| || || 5|| || 7|| || 9|| ||11|| ||13|| ||15|| ||17|| ||19|| ||21|| ||20|| || |
| || 4|| || 6|| || 8|| ||10|| ||12|| ||14|| ||16|| ||18|| ||20|| ||22|| ||22|| |
| 3|| || 5|| || 7|| || 9|| ||11|| ||13|| ||15|| ||17|| ||19|| ||21|| ||23|| ||24|
And on the reverse is an extra set of directions:
TO MULTIPLY: See directions on the folder.
TO DIVIDE: Adjust the monkey so that one foot points at divisor
and the fingers point at the dividend. The other foot will be found
pointing at the quotient.
TO FACTOR: Make fingers point at a product, the feet will point
out, its factors.
TO ADD: Insert the addition table under monkey and secure in
proper position. Then proceed the same as directed for multiplication.
The monkey fingers will point out sum of two numbers instead
of their product.
TO SUBTRACT: Adjust the monkey so that one foot points at the
subtrahend and the fingers point at the minuend. The other foot will
be found pointing at the difference.
NOTE: If the feet stick at any point, do not force their movement,
but loosen by moving the arms.
PUZZLE The diagram represents lines connecting
the pivot points of the monkey. The angles
ADE and EFB are equal and constant, and
the lines DE, DC, DA, FE, FC and FB are
equal to each other in length. Prove geomet-
rically that when the point A is held station-
ary and the point B moved along a fixed line
AB, the path of the point C is a straight line.
Determine its direction.
Here is a video where I demonstrate the Consul, The Educated Monkey.
The Consul consists of a clever linkage. Each leg forms a single piece
with the upper arm on the same side. It has three pivot points - at the
foot, at the bow tie, and the elbow. The forearm pieces are connected
together and to the elbow pivots. An important aspect is that the distances
from the elbow to the other pivots are all equal. In the diagram below
it means that BA, BC, and BF are the same length, as are DE, DC, and DF
on the other side.
I will ignore the vertical sliding rod which only serves to provide a
consistent window into the table, and to keep the Consul's head upright.
The angles marked α (BAC, ACB, CED, and DCE) are constant, but the angles
marked β (CAE and AEC) vary depending on the location of the Consul's
feet. Using isosceles triangles and the rhombus BFDC you can chase around
the angles in the figure, as shown in the next diagram.
The result is that the constant angle α can also be found at FAE
and AEF, making the triangle AEF similar to the triangle formed by the
leg pieces. There are also other isosceles triangles with base angle
The constant angle α is 45° in the original Consul, but the
proof works for any angle. When you move only one foot, the pointer F
moves in a straight line diagonally at angle ±α. This heavily relies on the linkages
being the same lengths, and if any parts differed in length, the
movement would be curved, and the multiplication table would become
In the late 19th, early 20th century there were many performing monkeys
in shows around the world. They were usually chimps, dressed up in a suit,
and doing various human-like activities. The most famous one was called
Consul, though actually there were a succession of chimps by that name.
Whenever the current Consul died, the insurance policy paid out and
a replacement Consul was soon trained. In 1909 Consul travelled from
England to the USA to tour there. A film was made of his ocean trip,
"Consul Crosses the Atlantic", which was exhibited across the
country for several years.
On September 23rd 1910, Consul made a visit to the factory of NCR,
National Cash Register in Dayton Ohio. In 1915 William Henry Robertson
designed and patented the mathematical toy that bears the Consul name.
Robertson worked at NCR, and although he joined the company shortly
after Consul's visit, he had probably heard about it or seen the
William Robertson cofounded a new company, the Educational Novelty Company,
also in Dayton, Ohio. At some point its main office was in Springfield, Mass.,
though the mmanufacturing remained in Dayton. In 1920 the office moved back
to Dayton, and they relocated to larger premises. At the same time the company
seems to have changed its name to the Educational Toy Manufacturing Company.
It probably did not last very long, as in 1924 the Consul was being made by the
Tepp Manufacturing Company of Detroit, Michigan, and Robertson was working
for NCR as before.
You can try out the Consul in the simulation below,
or to play it full screen open this simulation
in a separate window.
Advertisements and articles
Here are a selection of articles about various performing monkeys, mostly
named Consul, from 1896 to 1925.
I found a few adverts for the toy, and some short articles about the manufacturing company.
Robertson filed two patent applications, first as a calculating device, and then as an
educational monkey toy. The latter was granted first. In Britain a certain Charles Allaun
patented it and manufactered a version named Jacko.
|Patent||Filing date||Priority date||Name||Description|
|US 1,188,490||03-09-1915||27-06-1916||William Henry Robertson / The Educational Novelty Company||Educated Monkey toy|
|US 1,286,112||19-03-1915||26-11-1918||William Henry Robertson / The Educational Novelty Company||Calculating device|
|GB 120,985||30-11-1917||02-12-1918||Charles Allaun||Educated Monkey toy|
© Copyright 2023 Jaap Scherphuis, mechcalc a t jaapsch d o t net.