Kane County History: Batavia Inventor Paul Hassler And His Arithstyle Adding Machine

Kane County History: Batavia Inventor Paul Hassler And His Arithstyle Adding Machine

  • Editor’s Note: This article, part of a weekly series on Kane County’s amazing history, was contributed by Batavia Depot Museum Interim Director/Curator Amber Foster.

Paul Marlowe Hassler was born on April 20, 1889, in Auxvasse, MO. He came to Batavia in 1930 after attending the University of Missouri.

Hassler spent 24 years in the materials-handling field at Richard Wilcox Manufacturing in Aurora. He gained considerable recognition as an engineer and was also the holder of several design patents.

Hassler’s conveyor belt patent. (CREDIT: Google Patents)

His 1943 invention improved the driving mechanism of conveyor belt, particularly of the endless chain or link type. The improvement utilized “driving dogs,” or fingers mounted between the driving chains.

The driving dogs were arranged to engage and disengage with the conveyor chain in their travel around the loop, thus providing means of transmitting motion to the conveyor chain.

In 1945, he designed an innovation that provided more flexibility to the conveyor chain in both the vertical and horizontal directions.

This flexibility was obtained by an improved construction of joint between the vertically wheeled links and the horizontal connecting link. The joints permitted the links to turn horizontally, vertically, or in both directions at the same time.

Another object of the invention was to provide the chain conveyor to pass around curves of extremely short radius, either horizontally or vertically without the use of sprockets, rollers, or guide elements other than the track.

As an inventor of conveyor chains and mechanisms, Hassler used the Arithstyle adding machine and considered it the perfect computation tool for his projects.

The 1911 Arithstyle adding machine owned by Paul Marlowe Hassler.

The Arthistyle adding machine dates back to 1911. It is one of the first pocket mechanical calculators and one of the first advertised to reduce the liability of errors in arithmetic.

The early paperless machine was marketed to bookkeepers, banks and related industries as: “Brain resting, labor saving. Readily understood. Easily operated.” “Saves Experts Mental Strain!”

This small metal instrument has nine columns of chains that are silver and copper colored, the metal stand has a rubber covering along the two edges of its base. The black wooden case is covered with leather and lined with fabric-covered paper.

To make calculations, users employ the stylus and press the chain down to draw the corresponding number located in red and black on the left and right side of the machine.

The chains are linked to nine numeral wheels with digits from 0 to 9. There is a wheel on the right side with a release button for resetting back to zero, index plate for pencil markings, and a sliding decimal marker.

Paul Hassler retired from Richard Wilcox Mfg. in 1954 and moved to Florida  He passed away that same year and is buried in West Batavia Cemetery. The adding machine was donated to the museum by Paul Hassler’s daughter, Ruth Foland Johnson, in 1985.

As technology goes, the mechanical adding machines would be replaced by electronic calculators in later years.

Feature Photo Caption

Paul and Mary Hassler 1950. (CREDIT: Batavia Depot Museum)

About the Depot Museum

The Batavia Depot Museum opened in 1975 as a joint effort between the Batavia Park District and the Batavia Historical Society. The Chicago Burlington and Quincy Railroad Depot was the first of its kind built in 1854 and is recognized on the National Register of Historic Places.

Inside, the city’s past comes alive through exhibits detailing the history of rail transportation, manufacture of windmills, agriculture, banking, commerce and a brief stay by Mary Todd Lincoln at Bellevue Place. Hours are 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

Suggested donation: $5. Your donation will benefit the development of museum exhibits and educational programs.

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