Philip Gottschalk

People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.
Winnie the Pooh

The small adding machine of Philip Gottschalk
The small adding machine of Philip Gottschalk

At the end of the 1880s, Philip Gottschalk (1842-1924), a German jew, born in England, who lived in Stockholm since the early 1870s, where he used to work as a mechanic, optician, and businessman, invented a calculating device. In 1889 the adding machine of Gottschalk has been patented in Sweden (patent №1876 from 16 January 1889 for Anordning vid Räknemaskiner och dermed jemförliga apparater), Germany (patent №48429 from 6 March 1889 for Additionsmaschine), and France (patent №196612 from 11 March 1889 for Machine à calculer).

It seems the calculating device of Gottschalk was put into serial production in 1890 for a couple of years, although on small scale, and only two examples survived to our time. They are practically identical, but the first of them (see the upper image) has five digits capacity (up to 99999 in the result mechanism), while the second machine (see the lower image) has nine digits capacity (up to 999999999 in the result).

The big adding machine of Philip Gottschalk
The big adding machine of Philip Gottschalk

The dimensions of the small device are: length 170.0 mm, width 200.0 mm, height 70.0 mm; the weight is 2.0 kg. The dimensions of the bigger device are: length 170.0 mm, width 280.0 mm, height 60.0 mm; the weight is 4.1 kg. The materials used are: copper alloy (copper, brass, bronze), bone, and wood.

The numbers to be entered into the machine are set by using the vertical movable levers on the upper side, and the number is entered into the calculating mechanism by rotating the crank at the right. To reset the device (to set zeroes at the result windows) the crank must be rotated in opposite direction.

Biography of Philip Gottschalk

Philip Gottschalk was born on 10 June 1842, at 46 Spital Square, Old Artillery Ground, London, England. He was the son of Isidor Gottschalk (1805-1884), and Rosetta Harris (1808-1877). Isidor Gottschalk (son of Ephraim Isaac Gottschalk (1777-1850) and Rebecca Salomon) was a German (Ashkenazi) Jew, born in Groß Glogau, Lower Silesia, Prussia, who in the 1830s moved to England, where he established a family and lived for some 10 years.

Isidor used to work as a merchant of men’s wardrobe items, but he was also an amateur optician, so Philip inherited this trade and business attitude from his father. In the middle 1840s the family moved to Berlin, Germany, but later returned to England.

We know nothing about Philip Gottschalk until the early 1870s, when he moved to Stockholm, Sweden, opened a shop for wizardry devices, and published a catalog, containing a lot of goodies for those interested in magic and optical effects (the price list describes 180 witchcraft items, but also devices and instruments like laterna magica, camera obscura, binoculars, telescopes, microscopes, and others). For some time Gottschalk was also a court optician, instrument maker, and photographer.

Philip Gottschalk married Betty (Bertha) Schmahl (1853-1946) from Hamburg, Germany, on 26 February 1873 and they had eight children: Rosetta (1874-1953), Selma (b. 14 Nov 1875), Alice (1877-1955), Lionel Wolf (Albert) (b. 15 Dec 1878), Blanche (1880-1944), Elsa (1881-1972), Carrie (1883-1970), and Siegfried Axel (1886-1970). The son of Blanche Gottschalk-Reuterswärd is the famous Swedish graphic artist Oskar Georg Adolf Reuterswärd (1915-2002).

Philip Gottschalk died on 26 April 1924 in Stockholm, at age 81.