The Underwood 300R is an electric adding listing machine with a
10-key keyboard. It has a 9-digit register, and allows 8 digits of input.
It has a 10-key pad for inputting numbers, extended by a 00 button.
There are four control buttons:
There also some control levers and switches:
The serial number is found on the bottom, and is 5,241,177. The top part of the casing is hinged and can be lifted up, giving access to the ink ribbon. The machine takes a standard half-inch wide two-colour ink ribbon. The casing is quite difficult to remove. The front edge has to be pulled forward so that it bends far enough for the tabs to clear their slots. The inside mechanism is essentially identical to the Olivetti Quanta 20.
Underwood is named after the entrepreneur John T. Underwood, who was born in London in 1857. His father ran an ink company there, but then moved his company and his family to New Jersey. They supplied ink ribbons to the Remington typewriter company. When Remington started making their own ink ribbons, John Underwood apparently decided to move into the typewriter business. In 1895 he bought Wagner Typewriter Company, a company that was founded three years earlier by Franz Xavier Wagner to manufacture a typewriter he designed. This company became the Underwood Typewriter company.
Wagner's design and its various improvements made Underwood the most successful typewriter company in the world. The Standard Model 5 typewriter was manufactured from 1900 till 1932, and millions were made. It set the standard for all typewriters that came after.
The Elliott-Fisher company made various specialist typewriting and bookkeeping machines. In 1927 they bought the Sundstrand Corporation, a maker of adding machines. That same year they merged with Underwood to become the Underwood Elliott Fisher company. The adding machines were sold using the brand Underwood-Sundstrand. In about 1946 the company name changed to the Underwood Corporation.
In 1959 Olivetti bought Underwood, and soon the range of models was merged. The new American Underwood adding machines were basically the same as the Italian Olivetti machines, except that they had different cases.
The model numbering during the Underwood-Sundstrand era (1927-1959) is a little unclear to me. The adding machines shown in the advertisements all look very similar, and are essentially the same as the machine that Sundstrand made before the take-over. It seems that they were given a model number that starts with the register capacity, ranging from 7 to 13. This is followed by three further digits, such as 100, 102, 120, 126, 140, 142, 240. It may be that this is then followed by a letter or digit suffix. On Recher Lexicon there is a list of serial numbers that I reproduce below:
In 1958 a new model was introduced named the Add-Mate, though it actually had model number 782A (capacity 7×8) or 902A (capacity 9×10). This was a much more compact adding listing machine. It was also sold outside the US as the Piccolo Elektrik.A few years after Olivetti took over, the Underwood adding machine models were discontinued, and replaced with new models that were essentially the Olivetti adding machines with a different case.
|Underwood 100||8×9||1962-1971||-||Similar to the Add-Mate|
|Underwood 200||10×11||1962-1971||Olivetti Summa 15||Manual. The 4-way joystick button is replaced by two perpendicular levers.|
|Underwood 278,288||8×9||1962-1971||Olivetti Summa Quanta 20||Simplified: No input indicator, no undo last input digit|
|Underwood 300||10×11||1962-1971||Olivetti Summa Quanta 20|
|Underwood 300R||8×9||1962-1971||Olivetti Summa Quanta 20||As 300 but reduced capacity|
|Underwood 400||12×13||1962-1971||Olivetti Elettro Summa 22|
|Underwood 600||10×11||1965-1971||Olivetti Multisumma 20|
|Underwood Multimaster||12×13||1965-1971||Everest Plurimatic||In 1965 Olivetti took over Officine Serio, which made the Everest machines.|
First a few ads for the early Underwood typewriters.
A few ads for the Sundstrand adding machine, before Elliott-Fisher got involved.
Here are ads for the Underwood-Sundstrand adding machines.
Lastly some ads for the later Olivetti-Underwood adding machines.
This is a small selection of the Underwood-Sundstrand patents.
|Patent||Filing date||Published date||Name||Description|
|US 2,004,495||06-05-1933||11-06-1935||Oscar J. Sundstrand & Underwood Elliott Fisher Company||Transfer mechanism|
|US 2,021,618||28-11-1932||19-11-1935||Oscar J. Sundstrand & Underwood Elliott Fisher Company||Adding machine|
|US 2,057,400||05-07-1934||13-10-1936||Oscar J. Sundstrand & Underwood Elliott Fisher Company||Negative totals|
|US 2,088,982||26-06-1926||03-08-1937||Oscar J. Sundstrand & Underwood Elliott Fisher Company||Adding machine|
|US 2,160,296||31-03-1934||30-05-1939||Oscar J. Sundstrand & Underwood Elliott Fisher Company||Negative totals|
|US 2,204,239||24-12-1938||11-07-1940||Oscar J. Sundstrand & Underwood Elliott Fisher Company||Calculator keyboard|
|US 2,267,885||25-06-1937||30-12-1941||Oscar J. Sundstrand & Underwood Elliott Fisher Company||Printing mechanism|
|US 2,308,292||28-04-1939||12-01-1943||Earle Marquess & Underwood Elliott Fisher Company||Adding machine|
|US 2,309,282||24-12-1938||26-01-1943||Oscar J. Sundstrand & Underwood Elliott Fisher Company||Negative totals|
|US 2,309,292||25-06-1937||26-01-1943||Walter A. Anderson & Underwood Elliott Fisher Company||Fractions|
|US 2,361,002||30-12-1941||24-10-1944||Walter A. Anderson & Underwood Elliott Fisher Company||Tax calculation|
|US 2,459,441||20-12-1938||18-01-1949||Walter E. Lippert & Underwood Elliott Fisher Company||Negative totals|
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