William Seward Burroughs I
William Seward Burroughs I (January 28, 1857 – September 14, 1898) was an American inventor born in Rochester, New York
Rochester, New York
Rochester is a city in Monroe County, New York, south of Lake Ontario in the United States. Known as The World's Image Centre, it was also once known as The Flour City, and more recently as The Flower City...


Burroughs was the son of a mechanic and worked with machines throughout his childhood. While he was still a small boy, his parents moved to Auburn, New York
Auburn, New York
Auburn is a city in Cayuga County, New York, United States of America. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 27,687...

, where he and his brothers were educated in the public school system. According to his father's desire that his youngest son should choose a gentleman's vocation, William, after his graduation from high school, entered the Cayuga County
Cayuga County, New York
Cayuga County is a county located in the U.S. state of New York. It was named for one of the tribes of Indians in the Iroquois Confederation. Its county seat is Auburn.- History :...

 National Bank of Auburn as a clerk, where he spent long hours adding numbers.

At this time Burroughs became interested in solving the problem of creating an adding machine. In the bank there had been a number of earlier prototypes, but in inexperienced users' hands, those that existed would sometimes give incorrect, and at times outrageous, answers. The clerk work was not in accordance with Burrough's wishes, for he had a natural love and talent for mechanics and the boredom and monotony of clerical life weighed heavily upon him. Seven years in the bank damaged his health and he was forced to resign.

In the beginning of the 1880s Burroughs was advised by a doctor to move to an area with a warmer climate and he moved to St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

 where he obtained a job in a machine shop. These new surroundings, which appealed to him more, hastened the development of the idea he had already in his mind and the tools of his new craft gave him the opportunity to put into tangible form the first conception of the adding machine. Accuracy was the foundation of his work. No ordinary materials were good enough for his creation. His drawings were made on metal plates which could not expand or shrink by the smallest fraction of an inch. He worked with hardened tools, sharpened to fine points, and when he struck a center or drew a line, it was done under a microscope.

So, he invented a "calculating machine
Adding machine
An adding machine was a class of mechanical calculator, usually specialized for bookkeeping calculations.In the United States, the earliest adding machines were usually built to read in dollars and cents. Adding machines were ubiquitous office equipment until they were phased out in favor of...

" designed to ease the monotony of clerical work. He was a founder of the American Arithmometer Company (1886), which later became the Burroughs Adding Machine Company (1904), then the Burroughs Corporation (1953) and in 1986, merged with Sperry Corporation
Sperry Corporation
Sperry Corporation was a major American equipment and electronics company whose existence spanned more than seven decades of the twentieth century...

 to form Unisys
Unisys Corporation , headquartered in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, United States, and incorporated in Delaware, is a long established business whose core products now involves computing and networking.-History:...

. He was posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame
National Inventors Hall of Fame
The National Inventors Hall of Fame is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to recognizing, honoring and encouraging invention and creativity through the administration of its programs. The Hall of Fame honors the men and women responsible for the great technological advances that make human,...

. He was the grandfather of William S. Burroughs
William S. Burroughs
William Seward Burroughs II was an American novelist, poet, essayist and spoken word performer. A primary figure of the Beat Generation and a major postmodernist author, he is considered to be "one of the most politically trenchant, culturally influential, and innovative artists of the 20th...

 the Beat Generation
Beat generation
The Beat Generation refers to a group of American post-WWII writers who came to prominence in the 1950s, as well as the cultural phenomena that they both documented and inspired...

 writer, and great-grandfather of William S. Burroughs, Jr.
William S. Burroughs, Jr.
William Seward Burroughs III was an American novelist, also known as William S. Burroughs, Jr. and Billy Burroughs. He bears the name of both his father and his great grandfather, William Seward Burroughs I, the original inventor of the Burroughs adding machine...

, who was also a writer.

He died in Citronelle, Alabama
Citronelle, Alabama
Citronelle is a city in Mobile County, Alabama, United States. At the 2000 census the population was 3,659. It is included in the Mobile metropolitan statistical area.-History:This was long part of the territory of thousands of years of indigenous peoples...

 and was interred in Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri.


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External links

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