Jaap's Mechanical Calculators Page

Felix

The Felix-M Calculator


Felix M
   Video
History
Patents
Links


Felix M

The Felix-M Arithmometer is a very basic pinwheel machine made in Kursk, Russia. It has 9 digits of input, a 13 digit register, and an 8 digit counter. The input has no display register, and the counter has no carry mechanism. Depite being made in the 1960s or 1970s, the clearing of the register and of the counter are done by turning old-fashioned wingnuts rather than levers. Its design has stayed virtually the same since the first iteration of this machine in the late 1920s.

The input clearing mechanism is based on the one used by Odhner. Pushing the small metal slider to the left moves a comb to block the input slots. A partial turn of the crank then causes all the input pins to hit the comb and shift up to the zero position. Most pinwheel machines have a system that prevents you from reversing the direction midway through a turn of the crank. The Odhner disables this when the comb is deployed for clearing the input. On the Felix this system was done away with completely, so it is possible to change direction midway and this can cause incorrect results.

The Felix M Arithmometer
The Felix M Arithmometer
The Felix M Arithmometer
The Felix M Arithmometer
The Felix M Arithmometer
The Felix M Arithmometer
The Felix M Arithmometer
The Felix M Arithmometer
The Felix M Arithmometer
The Felix M Arithmometer
The Felix M Arithmometer
The Felix M Arithmometer
The Felix M Arithmometer
The Felix M Arithmometer
The Felix M Arithmometer
The Felix M Arithmometer


The serial number is on the front of the carriage, and is H235,875. Note that the first letter is the Cyrillic H, equivalent to the letter N of the latin alphabet. This is probably a very late production, say 1976.

The Felix M Arithmometer
The Felix M Arithmometer
The Felix M Arithmometer
The Felix M Arithmometer
The Felix M Arithmometer
The Felix M Arithmometer
The Felix M Arithmometer
The Felix M Arithmometer
The Felix M Arithmometer
The Felix M Arithmometer
The Felix M Arithmometer



Video

Here is a video where I demonstrate the Felix M.




History

Soon after the Russian revolution happened in 1917, the Odhner calculator factory in St Petersburg was taken over. It had been run by Alexander Odhner ever since his father died in 1905. Odhner fled to Sweden to rebuild his company there from scratch. It is unclear whether the Russian factory produced any calculators during the following years of civil war and the few years after that.

In 1925 the machinery was transferred to the Sushevsky company in Moscow, where calculator production was restarted. This move was orchestrated by Felix Dzerzhinsky, who from 1924 was in charge of rebuilding the Russian economy. During the civil war Dzerzhinsky had been in charge of the Cheka, the organisation responsible for finding and eliminating any counter-revolutionary threats and other political enemies. The many summary executions that were carried out earned him the nickname Iron Felix. This organisation then became the OGPU, the new secret police, which eventually came to be the KGB.

Dzerzhinsky died in 1926, and the calculator factory was renamed the Dzerzhinsky factory in his honour. From about 1929 its calculators were named Felix. These remained in production until 1941, when the factory was moved to Kirov and switched to making other items for the war.

In about 1948 the Felix calculator was put into production again, but now in other factories. At first this was in the factory at Pensa where they also made various clones of Facit models, but later it was mostly produced in the Kursk factory. In about 1960 the machine became the Felix-M, though I do not know exactly what changes were made, if any. A great many were made every year, at its peak several hundred thousand. It remained in production until as late as 1978, so several million machines were made all together.


Patents

The Felix does not have patents of its own as far as I know, so I have included here the early Odhner patents on which the Felix is based.

PatentFiling datePublish dateNameDescription
DE 7,39319-11-187819-11-1878Königsberger & CoPinwheel Calculator
See also: US 209,416
CH 4,57821-11-189121-11-1891Willgodt Theophil OdhnerImproved calculator
See also: SE 3,264, US 514,725



Links

Rechner lexikon has articles on the Russian Odhner, Felix, and Felix M. There are also some Felix manuals.
Rechenmaschinen Illustrated has a page of Russian Odhner and Felix machines.
Chris Vande Velde has a Felix M identical to mine.
John Wolff has a Felix and a Felix M.
MechanicalCalculators has a Felix.
typewriterbook.ru has a page of manuals including a Felix instruction manual (PDF).
The Museum of Soviet Calculators has a nice page for the Felix M.
The History of Computing has a page for the Felix M comparing it to the Odhner.
Wikipedia has a page about Felix Dzerzhinsky, and a Russian page about the Felix Arithmometer.
dedpodaril.com is a Russian antiques site which has a nice page about the Felix M with mechanism video.


© Copyright 2022 Jaap Scherphuis, .