February 3, 2014

She was a Comptometer Operator

In the 1940 census I found Barbara Daly, 54, living in Chicago with her widowed sister Alice Ludington.  Barbara was listed as a comptometer operator – not an occupation most would be familiar with today.

The comptometer was the first commercially successful key-driven calculator, patented in the U.S. in 1887. Interesting to think that Barbara was using this office tool in her job for the steam railroad more than 50 years after it was first manufactured.

Technology advances quickly today.  What do we use now that might still be an office ‘staple’ 50 years from now?

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