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Scientific Item Detail
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Item #

A1817

1919 Wlecke Fingers Calculator (Only 12 made)

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V020616

Price $

3900

This is called the “Finger’s Calculator” hand made by Wilhelm Wlecke in Germany in 1919.  It is estimated Wlecke made less than a dozen of the machines.  The design was based on all young children to adults in the early 1900s that used their fingers to count.  On May 3, 1919 Wilhelm Wlecke from Gutersloh near Dortmund Germany designed this machine and received the German Patent Number of 331979.  He hand made each of the machines and at backside are directions.  At bottom of directions is a faded hand penciled sentence with a date.  After opening handcrafted box, two, 2, hands with fingers each with red can be moved up or down and behind there are five more white fingers to add or subtract.  Fingers are metal painted with enamel red & white.  It measures 16” x 6” x 10” and made of painted wood and in perfect display and operational condition.  Each finger is 6” high.  The instructions are all in German and we’ve translated them to: “Some practical hints for using the Finger Rechenmaschine.  Please open lid in front.  Use the chain to bring the lid in horizontal position.  Arrange it in a way that the children cannot see lying fingers.  If you want to show white fingers press on the white keys, for red fingers press brown keys.  Press keys until you feel resistance!  If you want to subtract red fingers use red keys (hand jerks downward!).  To move down white fingers, use white keys (from the upper site - hand jerks upward!).  To calculate number up to 100: Use the book: Wlecke's Finger Rechenmaschine und Finger Rechen Einmalseinstafeln als Lehrmittel und für die Hand der Schüler.  (This appears to be a book which illustrates how to embed the Finger calculator into a didactic concept and may have never been printed.).  This is a highlight to any collection.  This is truly a very rare calculating machine from 90+ years ago that belongs in a museum or with serious collector.

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