THE “TACHYLEMME,” French, c. 1880, signed “C.L. Chambon, Inventeur; Lith. Baster & Vieillemard, 97, B’t. Port-Royal, Paris; Approuvé par la Societe d’encouragement pour l’industrie Nationale.” This patented calculator has a fine 4″ x 6-1/2″ (10 x 16.5 cm) polished wood body with ebonized wood base, beveled glass top, and plated metal frame. The lithographed panel displays, through windows, the printed numbers on four cylindrical rollers for 1’s, 10’s, 100’s, and 1000’s. There are windows for percentage rates (of interest, etc.) of 1% to 6% by halves. External knobs allow setting any four digit number; one then sums the four displayed values for the result. Condition is fine noting a slight chip to the glass. Baster and Vieillemard are well known as fin-de-siècle Parisian lithographers of color postcards, publicity cards, etc. Chambon himself invented the “Tachylemme” in 1876. An uncommon device — one is recorded as having entered the IBM collection.
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David and Yola Coffeen both have enjoyed academic careers, as planetary astronomer and as linguist/educator. But since 1982 (yes, 1982!) they have been full-time dealers in early scientific and medical instruments, under the name Tesseract. Selling primarily by catalogue (over 100 issued so far) they also have a web presence at www.etesseract.com, and can be contacted at [email protected].