Jewrem Ugritschitsch

Be humble for you are made of earth. Be noble for you are made of stars.
Serbian proverb

The German businessman and inventor of Serbian origin Jewrem Ugritschitsch (also known as Jevrem Ugrich) was involved in designing, manufacturing, and selling calculating devices for many years. It seems he started in the middle 1890s because his first patent for Additions- und Multiplikationsmashine is from 10 June 1897 (see German patent Nr.99644). Later Ugrich received quite of few other patents for calculating devices and other machines.

German patent Nr.99644 of Jewrem Ugritschitsch
German patent Nr.99644 of Jewrem Ugritschitsch

The first calculating machine of Ugrich (see the nearby patent drawing) was an addition and multiplication machine with a series of partially overlapping number disks with corresponding cutouts. It is similar to the earlier calculators of David Roth, Chaim Slonimski, and John Groesbeck.

The disks of Ugrich’s adding machine overlap: the left one is above the right one so that the disk with the highest point on the far left is clearly raised and this calculator has a comparatively high overall height. Each disc has 2×10 input positions and display numbers. The tens carry is carried out alternately by one of the two pins located on each disc. When the number 9 is exceeded or when the tens are carried over, this engages in the sloping webs attached to the underside of the next disc (see Fig. 3 in Fig. 2) and thereby rotates this next disc by 18° or one position further. With such a direct, simultaneous transfer, such large rotation angle losses arise over several points that it would certainly not have been possible to implement it with more than the 4 digital wheels as shown in the patent.

The adding devices of Ugrich and Hauff - Upper left: Revisor 1902 (©Arithmeum, Bonn); Upper middle: Rechenmedium 1904 (© Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology); Upper right: Autorechner-Union 1905; Lower left: Maxima 1909; Lower middle: Optima 1910; Lower right: RSB Universal 1910 (Image credit: Wilfried Denz, Münster)
The adding devices of Ugrich and Hauff – Upper left: Revisor 1902 (©Arithmeum, Bonn); Upper middle: Rechenmedium 1904 (© Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology); Upper right: Autorechner-Union 1905; Lower left: Maxima 1909; Lower middle: Optima 1910; Lower right: RSB Universal 1910 (Image credit: Wilfried Denz, Münster)

At the beginning of the 20th century, Ugrich designed, patented, and later put into production, several variants of a disk column-adding device (see some of them in the nearby image). These devices were manufactured and sold from 1902/03 and offered until at least 1921 mainly by Ugrich and Dr. Albert Hauff from Berlin, but also by other people and companies. In his initial design Ugrich may have been inspired by Carl Brunner’s patent for a “counting wheel with a spiral” (see patent DE69309 valid from 23 July 1892).

The first variant of Ugrich’s calculator, the model Revisor, is placed on the left hand with the thumb in a ring and the 4 fingers in the grip groove on the input field. Then one can add or subtract single-digit numbers from 1 to 9 in the input area for column addition. The pointer in the slot moves continuously along the spiral path until it reaches the next hundred value with one full revolution. The numerical value of the result up to 99 can be read in the display window at the outer end of the slot. The device is very simple and cheap to make, it only cost 3 marks, about a day’s wages. It consists of only 11 individual parts: 3 punched sheets (2 of which are formed), a sliding slider, a thumb ring with its holder, and 5 rivets. According to advertising, one can enter 10000 items in an hour or 7 numbers in 1 second, quite a brisk operator 🙂 One can also add numbers of any size. This applies to all column adders if you remember or write down the intermediate results of each column to be added and (after deleting the result display) continue the calculation with the next column.

The first patent (in fact, it was a Gebrauchsmuster, German utility model, a patent-like, intellectual property right protecting inventions), DRGM 172544 for his spiral adder Ugrich got on 23 April 1902, for an “adding apparatus with a disc containing a number scale and adjusting a slide indicating the ‘hundreds’ when it rotates.” Later he registered several other improved devices: DRGM 257529 from 16.08.1905, DRGM 269765 from 14.02.1906, DRGM 341153 from 11.06.1908, DRGM 439699 from 09.11.1910, DRGM 452861 from 01.03.1911, DRGM 473847 from 09.08.1911. In 1913 Ugrich patented (DRGM 540480 from 12.02.1913) a key-operated calculator—a small calculating machine with a series of number disks, which are connected by shafts to the buttons, each with ten holes and a pointer. Variants of the spiral adder of Ugrich were made and sold in France, England, Sweden, Russia, Austria, and Norway, and got several gold medals at exhibitions.

Biography of Jewrem Ugritschitsch

Jewrem Ugritschitsch was born as Јеврем Угричић on 12 May 1867 in Belgrade, Serbia. He was the elder son of the civil engineer Dragoljub Ugritschitsch (Драгољуб Јевта Угричић) and his wife Anna Mikhailovich (they had two sons—Јеврем and Јевта, and two daughters—Милица and Ружа). Anna Ugritschitsch, born in 1852, died 6 September 1901 in Berlin and was buried in the Tegel Orthodox cemetery, was probably his mother. Ugritschitsch was a prominent family from Smederevo, as Dragoljub was the eldest son of Јевтимије Угричић (1800-1886)—a famous Serbian magistrate and politician from the middle 19th century.

We don’t know when Jewrem Ugritschitsch moved to Germany, but it must have been early in his life because, in his first patent application of June 1897, he is specified as Dr. Jewrem Ugritschitsch in Charlottenburg. We don’t have information on what kind of doctorate he had. In  1903 Ugritschitsch changed his last name to Ugrich “through ministerial name change approval.” At the same time, he started his own business for manufacturing and selling calculating machines. Ugrich also tried his hand as an inventor and model maker with the “mechanical workshop of J. Ugrich” from at least 1905 to 1910. His entries in the Berlin address books from 1905 to 1909 contain the keywords “Patented Novelties”, “New Products Sales” and “Patented Novelties and Calculating Machines”. It seems Ugrich abandoned this venture in the late 1910s because in 1919 his occupation was specified as “merchant”.

Ugrich married the teacher Luise Helene Minna Margarete Wernaer (born on 1 December 1884 in Berlin) on 21 December 1904. They have one son, Robert, and two daughters (one of them was Heidi Anna Minna, who was born on 13 July 1905).

Besides the above-mentioned patents and utility models related to calculating machines, Ugrich had also: DRGM 225862 dated 15 June 1904 for a Polishing apparatus with two bowls; Patent DE203850 from 14 October 1908 for a Device for folding sheets of paper using two plates. In addition, Ugrich advertised his duplicating machine Ugrograph or AHA from 1911.

Around 1920 Ugrich moved with his family to his home country, Serbia, where he was appointed as a judge. Because of a serious illness (cancer or stomach ulcer), he committed suicide around 1930 in the desire to ease the burden of care for his family.