Orlando Lane Castle

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.
Benjamin Franklin

The patent drawing of the first machine of Castle
The patent drawing of the first machine of Castle

On 24 November 1857, Orlando Lane Castle (1822-1892), a professor of Latin, Oratory, Rhetoric, and Belles-Lettres at the Shurtleff College in Alton, Illinois, received a patent for a calculating machine, called Improved arithmometer for adding (see US pat. №18675) of very interesting design, operated by a clock spring, wound manually. The next year (1858) Castle reissued his patent (USRE 551) and patented another calculating machine, which was essentially an improved version of the first one (see US pat. №21941).

The calculating machine of Castle seems to be the second in the USA keyboard adder, after the machine of Dubois Parmelee (or third, since the machine of his compatriot Thomas Hill was patented on the same day), and sixth in the world, after the machines of White, Torchi, Schwilgué, and Lobbé.

The first calculating machine of Castle was a key-driven adding machine (see the nearby patent drawing). It was the first machine with a nine-key scheme, connectable to the different orders.

The mode of operation of the machine is as follows:
1. Before commencing, the register should be set free of the driving wheel D by turning back the crank J, and the register-wheels turned till every wheel presents its 0 opposite the openings in the plate H, and then the register frame should be brought forward again, with the secondary driving-wheel m, belonging to the first or unit-register wheel k’, in gear with the driving wheel D, and should be secured in this position by bringing the crank J into the first notch in the bar K, counting from the right hand on Fig. 3.

The patent drawing of the second machine of Castle
The patent drawing of the second machine of Castle

2. The unit-column is then added by depressing the keys S’, S2, etc., one after the other in the same numerical order as the figures in the column of units to be added, and at every depression of a key the unit register wheel k’ is caused to make 1, 2, or more tenths of a revolution—that is to say, as many as the number indicated on the key depressed—and every time the revolution of the unit-registering wheel is completed and the 0 is brought opposite the opening in the plate H the tooth n of the wheel o that is attached to its secondary driving-wheel gives one-tenth of a revolution the tens-registering wheel k2; and if the sum of the column of units is sufficient to complete a revolution of the tens-wheel, the secondary driving-wheel, gearing with the wheel n that is attached to the tens-wheel receiving motion from the said wheel n, will bring the tooth r on the second wheel o into operation on the hundreds-wheel k3.

3. When the units-column has been added in the above manner, the crank J is raised out of the notch in the bar K of the register, and the register thus thrown out of gear with the driving-wheel F, and, without disturbing the register-wheels, the whole of the register frame is moved far enough to allow the crank J to enter the second notch of the bar K, which brings that secondary driving wheel m which gears with the tens-registering wheel k2 opposite the driving-wheel D, and on the crank J being thrown forward into the notch that secondary driving-wheel is brought into gear with D. The addition of the column of tens can then proceed with the same manner as the column of units.
4. The above-mentioned process should be followed for adding of columns of hundreds, thousands, etc.

The second machine, called by the inventor Improved Arithmometer for Addition (pat. №21941 from 2 Nov. 1858) is a smaller and improved version of the first one (see the nearby patent drawing).

It is not known if the calculating machines of Castle have been manufactured or influenced somehow the development of other calculating machines.

Biography of Orlando Lane Castle

Augustus Castle (1791-1880)
Augustus Castle (1791-1880)

Orlando Lane Castle (1822-1892) was born in Jericho, Chittenden County, Vermont, on 20 July 1822, the third child (of eight, four sons and four daughters) to Augustus Castle and Almira Bostwick Lane-Castle (1795-1864). Their eight children were: Sarah Celestia (1819-1864), Emily Bostwick (1820–1888), Orlando Lane (1822-1892), William Augustus (1824-1910), Alonzo (1827-1828), Eunice Aurelia (1829-1905), Adoniram Judson (1832-1852), and Mary Ellen (1837-1892).

Augustus Castle (see the nearby image), born on 9 July 1791 in Essex, Vt., son of Abel Castle and Sara Woodworth Aubery, married Almira Lane at Jericho on 31 Oct. 2816. He was an industrious farmer in Jericho, Vermont. Augustus’ farm joined that of his elder brother, Joel (1790-1858), but in March 1831, he removed with his family from Jericho to Alexandria, in the wilderness of Licking County, central Ohio, where his younger brother Sanford (1793-1840) had removed in 1817 and where Augustus will eventually buy a farm. Augustus Castle died on 22 March 1880, in Granville, Ohio.

Orlando’s early intellectual opportunities were quite limited. His early life was stamped with that energy and strict economy which were indispensable to success on the part of those who extorted the means of subsistence from the earth by farming. At the age of eighteen, the turning point of his life was reached, he was determined to be a teacher, and he entered Granville College (now Denison University), Ohio. In 1846 Orlando graduated from College, securing the honor of his class. During his college course, he was almost entirely thrown upon his own resources for the means to meet his expenses. In the winter he taught school, and during the last three years in college, he taught lower classes.

After graduating, Castle spent one more year as a tutor at Granville College, and later, for several years he had charge of the public schools of Zanesville, Ohio, where he exhibited great efficiency and secured a high reputation as an instructor. In 1853, Castle accepted the chair of Latin, Rhetoric, Oratory, and Belles-Lettres in Shurtleff College, at Upper Alton, remaining there for almost 39 years, closing his class work on Tuesday, 29 Jan. 1892, just a day before his death.

The Castle house built 1866 at 1831 Seminary Street in Upper Alton.
The Orlando Castle’s house was built in 1866 at 1831 Seminary Street in Upper Alton.

Professor Castle received the degree LLD (Doctor of Laws) from Denison University in 1877. He was a meta-physician, a mathematician, and a logician, an excellent teacher. Dr. Castle was a holder of quite a few patents not only for calculating machines but also for farming machinery—a grain-harvester, a grain-binder, a nut-lock, etc.

Orlando Lane Castle married Olive Loveland Thrall (b. in Granville, Ohio, on 14 November 1830—died in 1911) on 15 August 1848, and they had three children—Elizabeth (b. 13 October 1849—died 8 February 1851), Lucius Marsh (b. 16 January 1852—died 1932), Linus Thrall (b. 12 December 1853).

Orlando Lane Castle died of pneumonia on Saturday morning, 30 January 1892, in his house at 1831 Seminary Street in Upper Alton, Illinois (still preserved, see the nearby image).