Adding to local Heritage Collection

Stephen Petter with Guy Petter's adding machineSSDC’s Community Heritage Access Centre has received an important donation from the Petter family – founders of Westland Helicopters – in the shape of an adding machine.

The machine has been given by Mr Stephen Petter, grandson of Guy Petter, the inventor.  The machine weighs four and a half kilograms and is mechanical which means it operates without any electrical supply.  It is still in working order.

Guy Petter was the brother of the twins, Ernest and Percival Petter, who invented the Nautilus Grate – an early form of radiator, oil engines and a ‘horseless carriage’, one of the first cars in England, in 1895.

Guy began developing the adding machine in the 1920s and in 1927 worked on it full-time in the Petter factory in Yeovil.  In 1933 the design was complete and it was sold as the ‘Petometer’.

Petters sold the design to The Bell Punch Company, London, in 1936, who patented it, quickly put it into production and marketed it as the Plus Adder or Plus Minor.  There is a picture of it in a German Book Die Rechenmaschinen (1937).

It appears that the Bell Punch Company ceased trading in 2009.

Councillor Sylvia Seal, SSDC Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture said:  “This machine is an important gift to the South Somerset collection tracing our industrial heritage.  The Petter brothers were inventive and industrious people who contributed so much to the development of modern industry in this area and we are very grateful to Mr Stephen Petter for giving his grandfather’s machine to CHAC.”

DSCN0596 Guy Petter's adding machineIf you would like to view the adding machine or if you have something connected to local heritage that you would like to give into the care of the Community Heritage Access Centre, please telephone 01935 462886 or email: [email protected]