In 1849, William M. Haines, a clerk from Rochester, New York, patented a simple mechanical calculator (US patent No. 6403). The patent model of the device (up to 1880, the US Patent Office required inventors to submit a model with their patent application) is still preserved in the National Museum of American History, Washington, D.C. (see the image below). This is the only surviving device and it obviously never became popular.
The mechanical calculator of William Haines is a wood and brass adding and subtracting device with overall measurements: 3 cm x 15.3 cm x 14.2 cm. It has a wooden base, a circular metal mechanism, and a single-digit mechanical carry, implemented by means of an axle.
At the center of the machine is a brass disc, having a hundred circular holes around the outside. Around it is a slightly elevated stationary circle or ring, with larger digits from 1 to 9 engraved around it, representing 10, 20, etc., through 90. Between each of these numbers, smaller digits from 1 up to 9 are engraved. There is a stop at 0.
Biography of William Haines
William M. Haines was born on 6 Sep 1811, in New York, to James Haines (1777-1865), and Phebe (Tucker) Haines (1783-1837). James and Phebe married in 1799 and had eight children, but only six of them survived to adulthood—four boys: Nathan Reynolds (1801–1866), B. David (1805-1883), Isaac T. (1810-1886), and William М. (1811-1870), and two girls: Sarah Ann (1816–1873), and Phebe Ann (1823–1855).
James Haines was a farmer in Cortlandt, Westchester County, N. Y., but preached the gospel to some extent after moving to Onondaga Co. in the middle 1810s. In 1821 he removed with his family to Rapids, N. Y., then to Rochester, Monroe Co., N. Y., where he started a business as a cooper.
We only know about William’s occupation that in the 1840s he was employed as a clerk in a variety store in Rochester. In the 1850s he moved to Leonidas, St. Joseph Co., Michigan, where one of his elder brothers—Dr. B. David Haines (William’s brothers David (see the nearby image) and Isaac were witnesses of his patent for a calculator), bought a farm several years earlier.
William Haines married Mary Haines (1834–1891), but they had no children.
William Haines died on 22 Nov 1870 (aged 59), in Leonidas, St. Joseph County, Michigan.