Francis Marston

The patent drawing of Marstons's calculating apparatus
The patent drawing of Marstons’s calculating apparatus

In 1842 a certain Francis Marston of Aston, Parish of Hopesay, County of Salop, England, obtained a Letters Patent №9235 for Apparatus for Making Calculations. No details are known about this machine, most probably it remained only on paper.

The device of Marston combines two columns of figures arranged in two circles, the one being fixed and the other revolving, and also combined therewith a pound, shilling, and pence table, for determining the amounts when the numbers ascertained are required to be reduced to pounds, shillings, or pence.

Biography of Francis Marston

Very little is known about the inventor of this calculating device. Francis Marston, Gentleman of Diddlebury, Shropshire, was born on 17 October 1789, in Aston on Clun, Shropshire, the first son of local Squire John Marston (1757-1831) of Cheney Longville, Shropshire, and Mary Carter of Sibdon (died 10 Dec 1806). Francis had an elder sister – Ann (born 7 Aug 1788, died several weeks later), and a younger brother – Richard (3 Nov 1792 – 12 Nov 1866), and a sister – Elizabeth (31 Aug 1795 – 18 Apr 1882). Marston family had close ties to this part of Shropshire and were major land owners for two centuries or more.

Francis Marston was a landowner and farmer with much experience of inclosure, who used to serve also as a Magistrate of the county of Shropshire. On 5 June 1824, he married to Elizabeth Jones (1794—2 Feb 1883) of Hope, Edvin Loach, Worcestershire. The couple had 5 children, 4 sons and 1 daughter – Richard (17 Oct 1825 – 26 Jun 1892), and Alfred (9 May 1834 – 20 Mar 1896).

Francis Marston died on 6 June 1850.