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Math from the Past

Kristin Jones

The newest electronic gadgets are getting smaller and more efficient, but Andy Aaron still believes in the aesthetics and simplicity of an earlier era when people relied on a simple calculator. In contrast to the constant drive for compact machines, Aaron’s company, Aaron Adding Machines, is re-creating antique calculators.  He meticulously crafts his one-of-a-kind calculators using antique components including heavyweight switches, cranks, and levers, which he then mounts in a large, antique-style frame so that each device not only works perfectly but also evokes nostalgia and appreciation for an era long past.

“I strive to have my pieces look like they are functional, utilitarian, mass-produced devices plucked from some imaginary office of another era,” Aaron explains. “Perhaps from the 19th century, perhaps from a time that never existed.” 

Aaron designs each calculator to perform basic mathematical functions and custom-builds each device to be unique. Furthering the exclusivity of these rare devices, Aaron limits the production of his calculators to 2 or 3 per year, which are priced starting at $5,000. (914.595.4870, www.aaronaddingmachines.com)

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