On 20 April 1897, De Kerniea James Thomas Hiett (1854-1930), an inveterate calculator designer of St. Louis, obtained his first patent for a calculating machine (US patent No. 580863, three-fourths assigned to Edmund Fanning Wickham
(1854–1908), a local businessman and coal company owner)—a multi-column keyboard adding and printing calculator. Hiett was a holder of quite a few patents in the USA, Canada, France, Germany, and Great Britain for calculating devices, typewriters, tabulating mechanisms, a ventilator, and a sealing device. In the 1890s he worked together with another inventor of typewriting and calculating machines, William Quentell, and one of his patents for a typewriter (US547146 from 1895) was assigned to Quentell.
Hiett’s calculating machine later was advertised as Hiett Adding and Listing Machine in the late 1890s and as Universal Adding Machine since 1900 and was put in production by Universal Accountant Machine Co. of St. Louis and by Hiett’s own company New Hiett Machines Manufacturing Co. (one of Hiett’s patents was assigned to Universal Accountant Machine Co., another to New Hiett Machines Manufacturing Co., and two partly assigned to Gustavus Adolphus von Brecht, a prominent local businessman, manufacturer of equipment for the meat industry and Director of Merchants Laclede National Bank of St. Louis). An electric motor attachment was introduced in 1903 (patent US No. 731857 of Penrose Chapman). The Universal Adding Machine Co. was acquired by Burroughs Adding Machine Co. in 1908 and operated as a division of Burroughs until 1910.
Some of the novel features of the Hiett Adding and Listing Machine are:
· The arrangement and peculiar construction of the key-bars with their actuated racks, in combination with the adding mechanism, whereby the racks are first placed in position before they engage the adding mechanism, thus insuring a proper and positive movement of the adding mechanism from the racks when the operating-lever is actuated.
· The novel construction of the operating-lever in combination with the racks, the keyboard, and the adding mechanism, whereby when the racks are in position said lever will throw the adding mechanism into engagement with the racks and move the racks so as to actuate the adding mechanism while said adding mechanism is in engagement, said lever only releasing the adding mechanism and permitting its disengagement from the racks after the racks have completed their movement.
· The peculiar construction and arrangement of the adding mechanism in combination with a transferring device for transferring the amount added to one adding wheel, when the said amount exceeds nine, to the next adding-wheel.
· The peculiar construction and arrangement of the adding mechanism and the use of a cam or snail wheel in connection with said adding mechanism, in combination with the printing-segments, whereby, when desired, a total of the amount contained in the adding mechanism can be obtained at any time without disturbing the adding-wheels.
· The peculiar construction of the printing-segments in combination with a pivoted zero-type-carrying device which is automatically thrown into position on all the segments to the right of the one actuated.