The Triumphator KA
The Triumphator KA is a small adding machine. KA stands for Klein Addierer (small adder). It has an 8-digit register, and 8 input levers. When you set the levers to a particular number, that register is immediately updated. You can then reset the input by pressing the large button marked I, after which the next number can be entered and added to the register. The button marked II will clear the register.
It can also subtract. To do this hold down the minus button while setting the input to the number you want to subtract. This will not yet affect the register. Release the minus button and manually set all the input levers back to zero. This subtracts the number from the register.
It is important to note that the levers should be moved individually. If you move several levers simultaneously, a carry operation may get lost so that the wrong answer is computed.
The upper casing is plastic with a metallic coating, but the base is metal. It has a serial number on the base, 15615. No more than about 17000 were made, so this is one of the last ones produced, probably in 1960.
The mechanism is relatively simple. Each lever is connected to a large wheel that has a section with gear teeth. That section is hinged so that it can either interact with the adjacent register number wheel or not. In normal operation they interact, so moving the levers directly adds to the register. By pressing the minus button the hinged sections no longer interact, allowing you to set the levers without affecting the register. When pressing the input clearing button, the lever alignment mechanism is released and the minus button is also activated. This makes the levers move freely, and they are then pulled back by springs to the zero position.
Triumphator is a company that was based near Leipzig in (East) Germany. It was founded in 1900 as Leipziger Röhrenwerke GmbH, and made vacuum tubes. In 1904 they started manufacturing pinwheel calculators under the brand name Triumphator. This development was led by Otto Holzapfel, an engineer who had previously worked at Grimme Natalis (Brunsviga). Their pinwheel machines were the first to have a an input display register, and a counter with a full carry mechanism that worked in both directions. In 1907 the company changed its name to Triumphatorwerk mbH, and with only minor name changes continued producing calculators until the late 1960s. During most of that time the factory was in Mölkau, just East of Leipzig.
Otto Holzapfel left Triumphator in 1914 in order to found his own company called "Lipsia Rechenmaschinen-Fabrik O. Holzapfel & Cie" (Lipsia is the latin name for Leipzig). The first World War meant the company only started producing pinwheel calculators in 1919. In 1927 it also started making small adders. The first of these was the Lipsiaddi, but in around 1930 came the Lipsia Addi 7. The main mechanical differences between this machine and the later Triumphator KA are that it only has 7 digits and that its register is cleared using a crank instead of a button. They also made the Addi 9, which had 9 digits.
Leipzig is in East Germany so after the second World War the calculatots Lipsia was producing were now only for use in the Eastern Bloc. Lipsia became a subsidiary of VEB Metallbau, but in 1953 the East German government took full control of the assets and it was merged into Triumphator. Meanwhile in West Germany from 1949 till 1958 the company Regent-Feinbau was able to make and sell an exact copy of the Addi 7 called the Argenta.
It is unclear whether Triumphator ever actually produced the Addi 7, but in 1957 they released the Triumphator KA to replace it. It was in production for about three years. The Triumphator company was taken over by VEB Buchungsmaschinenwerk Karl-Marx-Stadt in 1969 and Triumphator then ceased to exist as a brand.
Here are a few adverts and articles that mention Tiumphator or Lipsia which I found in online newspaper and magazine archives.
Here are a couple of Triumphator's early pinwheel calculator patents (from before the company was renamed), and the patent for the Lipsia Addi 7.
|Patent||Filing date||Publish date||Name||Description|
|DE 155,445||30-06-1903||03-11-1904||Leipziger Röhrenwerke GmbH||Input display register|
|DE 157,591||30-07-1903||22-12-1904||Leipziger Röhrenwerke GmbH||Lock input levers when crank turned|
|DE 513,495||01-03-1930||28-11-1930||O. Holzapfel & Cie||Lipsia Addi 7|
Detlev Bölter has a page about the Addi 7.
Rechner Lexicon has a page about the Triumphator KA and an interesting article about similar adders.
Rechnen Ohne Strom has a page on lever adders which features the Triumphator KA.
Rechenmaschinen-Illustrated has a page with various Triumphator machines and further pictures of the Triumphator KA
Wolfgang Blümich has a page on lever adders which features the Lipsia Addi 7 and Triumphator KA.
© Copyright 2019 Jaap Scherphuis, mechcalc a t jaapsch d o t net.