The Robert A. Ragen Archive
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The following biography of Carl Friden was written by his daughter, Barbro Friden, and produced in paperback in 1970. However, no copies are known to survive in the public domain after many years of searching. For a number of years Barbro's biography of Carl Friden appeared on the Fridenites web site, but the site has since been taken down, likely due to the sad passing of the site's owner. The only known copy to exist was salvaged by MoTET from the WayBackMachine and preserved here also. Dr. Kavanau first became aware of Barbro's biography when Barbro's son, Rick Alexander, wrote him,
"Carl Friden was my grandfather. My mother (Barbro Friden) wrote a paperback book about him back in the 1970's and I also have some of the original blueprints of his machines. He died in 1945 so I never knew him; I was born in the 1950's. He is interred next to my grandmother (Hildur) in Oakland California and my mother is buried in the same cemetery. Someone once told me that at one time he had more U.S. patents than any other American at that time; many dealt with military applications for the WW2 effort. Bomb guidance, etc. I always get a kick watching "The Apartment" with Jack Lemmon, Fred McMurray and Shirley McClain. There are a couple of scenes where the office pool of many dozens of employees are working at their desks using Friden calculators. Quite a legacy."
The Story of Carl Friden and His Company
The Birth of an Invention and Its Development into Big Business
Many Swedish inventors have come from humble circumstances. An explanation of their achievements is often to be found in their ancestry, and in the family and environment in which they grew up. One of their ancestors may have been a local jack-of-all-trades or perhaps run a small industry. It is, then, to the past that we must turn in order to understand the success of the indefatigable Carl Friden from Smaland in the field of precision mechanics and mathematics.
Descent and Childhood of Carl Friden
Toward the end of the 19th century; there lived in the parish of Mistelas in the Kronoberg administrative district (lan) a farmer by the name of Andreas Gustafsson. He was a skilled blacksmith and, where mechanical devices were concerned, he was the local factotum.
His daughter Emelia married a small-scale industrialist in the neighboring community of Alvesta. She gave birth to four sons and one daughter. The home was a happy one, despite the fact that, to begin with, the dwelling only consisted of one room and a kitchen. The house is now a regional museum. When the children irlcreased in number, the family moved to a larger dwelling having three rooms and a kitchen.
From an early age, the sons showed a great aptitude for technical subjects and did well in mathametics. Their interest was stimulated by the fact that they had at home a book of tables, "Nya Lathund," the ninth edition, printed in 1890 and published by J. W. Lofwing of Stockholm. The second oldest son, Carl Friden, who was particularly interested in figures, would sit for hours doing calculations in order to see if the tables were correct.
Carl Mauritz Fredrik Friden was born on April 11. 1891. He did well at school; at that time, schooling lasted six years and he was able to graduate a year earlier than usual. His first job was selling newspapers on the railroad. He traveled on the Nassjo-Hassleholm trains; Alvesta is half-way between these stations.
The Youth of Carl Friden
At the age of 15, Carl got a job with the E. C. Olsson Engineering Works at Alvesta. A good friend of Olsson's living in Stockholm sometimes visited him. In the autumn of 1909, Carl was employed by Svenska Spiralfabriken in Stockholm, where this friend was foreman. In the spring of 1910, Carl did his military service at Kronobergshed in the vicinity of Alvesta. Afterward he returned to his previous job with Spiralfabriken.
However, young Carl Friden was not satisfied with his position as a machine-shop worker. He therefore began attending night school at the technical college. To get more time for his training, he transferred to the machinery manufacturer Carl Lamm. He was given the job of repairing office machines. At that time, calculating machines were rather clumsy and not always accurate. This made Friden promise: "I shall make a machine that cannot calculate incorrectly."
After completing his course at the technical college, on February 1, 1912, he went to the Ahren works, where they make high-quality machines for matches, cigarettes, etc. The company is now known as Arenco. He stayed there until May 1913, when he moved to AB Forenade Tandsticksfabriker, which worked in collaboration with the Ahren works. His first job with the new company was to travel to England in May 1913 to assemble match machines. The job took three months.
When Friden came home, he brought with him presents for his family, among other things a nice velvet dress for his mother and a white silk dress for his 13-year-old sister. He had a kind heart and laughed readily. He was also forceful and energetic. His friends liked him because of his easy ways and his gift for music. He played the trumpet in an orchestra.
In June 1914, Carl Friden was assigned to assemble a number of match machines in Australia, for Federal Match. These were shipped on the same steamer on which he and his young wife Hildur (Hildur Victoria Svenson) made the journey. The ship, which was German, arrived in Sidney on Augnst 18, the same day that Australia declared war on Germany. The passengers came ashore, but soon afterward the ship was blown up, the machinery being destroyed.
It was not easy for a foreigner to find suitable work. Some time later, he and his wife went to Mebourne, where he got a job at an engineering works. He occupied his spare time building a model of a new calculating machine.
Two years later, Carl Friden made plans for his return to Sweden. He was to travel via the Unked States, and got a job as steward on an American steamer bound for San Francisco. On board, Friden told his story to a passenger who promised to mention his plans to a calculator company in Oakland.
Friden's Early Years in America
Carl Friden had no money at all when he stepped ashore in the United States. He had no business connections, nor any acquaintances, except for the few friends he had made dming the voyage. He therefore had to find himself a job quickly. His first wages, $25.00 in gold, he lost when he was robbed on Market Street, San Francisco.
During that first year, he supported himself at various jobs. Then he was hired by the Machant Calculating Machine Co, in Oakland, to work in the experimental department. There he found his previously acquired knowledge to be inadequate and so went to night school again, to learn American terms and concepts.
When he was hired, he made a written agreement with the company whereby he assigned to them the patent right to everything he invented and developed, with just one exception: his own machine, the model of which was by then practically finished. The company was, however, given the option to buy the machine and improvements of it. At Christmas, 1918, he sold the manufacturing rights for $100,000 plus $1.00 for each machine sold. When he arrived home with a check for this amount, he said: "I did not know there was that much money in the world."
Some time later, a patent dispute arose with Monroe Calculating Machine Company. It ended with a settlement, For Friden this meant an additional $225,000 plus stock. Furthermore, he became a consulting engineer to Marchant's. (By 1930 he had held more calculating machhe patents than any other living engineer.)
Friden used his fortune to speculate in stock. After the market crash in 1929, he lost all his assets except for $27,000, Marchant's financial position was also undermined. He then gave up his job and began to think of new inventions.
The Inventor's Workshop at Instograph Company
The owner and director of Instograph, Mr. Charles Zook Sutton, had previously worked with Friden on the design and improvement of a time-control clock constructed on the basis of a known principle. Friden now became Deputy Managing Director of his company.
Sutton was a kind-hearted man who willingly listened to new ideas. As a result, a few budding inventors were allowed to install themselves in various corners of his establishment. Sutton and Friden had serious plans for creating a center for development work there. Together with Jim Gemmell, previously employed by Marchant's, Friden worked behind locked doors on a new calculating machine that would not encroach on his previous model, nor on anyone else's patents. Other ideas developed at Instograph were a machine for drying and curling hair and a device for cooling beer. An assistant in the latter experiment, William Nonamaker, later became a valued associate of Friden's.
However, Friden's creative activities were not restricted to calculating machines. He collaborated with Sutton on the manufacture of an electric razor and a so-called "cost recorder." Together with Howard Hanscom, later employed by Friden, he made a bank nightsafe. Other inventions were a device for removing car wheels and an automatic control device for electric irons.
Friden had one characteristic lacking in most inventors-he was practical. He had the knowledge, the experience and the ability not only to plan, but also to make parts and tools and to assemble his own machines.
The company which had acquired the sole rights to sell the time-control clock did not manage to find a large enough market for it. The consequence was that Instograph had to limit their activities. The manufacturing rights were later sold to International Business Machines. In May 1933, Friden rented a two-story building in Oakland, to which he transported in his car all his production equipment. He brought with him, among other things, a partly finished model of the calculating machine.
Friden Calculating Machine Company
The building had stood empty for many years. The landlord had to glaze the windows before Friden, Gemmell and the clerk, Bernice Vierra, were able to move in. The building was constructed entirely of concrete, even the floors. It was, therefore, like an ice-box. There was, indeed, a boiler in the garage but this was disconnected. The office could be heated by means of an electric fire. In the workshop was a small log-burning boiler. Every morning when Friden and Gemmell went to work, they brought with them an armful of logs for heating the premises.
With his limited assets, Friden bought only tools that were absolutely essential. It was obvious, however, that the cash situation had to be improved as soon is possible. Friden got in touch with hundreds of people, but in 1933 there were not many who had money, and those who did were extremely careful when it came to investing in new ideas.
Finally, he came into contact with Charles Gruenhagen, a member of the Boards of the American Box Company. He dealt in wood and had no idea about calculating machines. But the applicant was persistent, and Gruenhagen finally arranged a meeting. This was attended by, among others, Walter Johnson, Jack Lewis and C. A. Webster of American Box.
When Friden presented his five-year plan to them, it sounded like a gold mine. Even if only part of it were realized, it ought to be worth investing the amount required, $25,000. When agreement was reached, these four became members of the board of Friden Calculating Machine Company, each investing $6250. The company was registered on January 11, 1934. Despite the contribution from American Box, the new company had to overcome many financial difficulties.
A Skillful Salesman to the Rescue
A Swedish American, John M. Lund, became the rescuer in the emergency. He left his job as sales manager with another company manufacturing calculators in order to take on that same job in the young Friden company. Without having any machine to demonstrate, he obtained payment in advance on each order.
The first machine was now finished but it had certain shortcomings. Though designed to run silently, it proved fairly noisy. At this moment, the partners from American Box wanted to see how far the machine had advanced. Friden therefore put the model into his car and drove over to see them. During the journey, he wondered what they would say when they heard the machine working. He decided to remove the transfer arms. The demonstration was a complete success. Friden tapped out complicated problems on the keys; the machine purred quietly and the figures rotated into position. The Board was happy with the demonstration, no one noticing that not one of the answers was correct!
However, it did not take long before Friden's excellent team of engineers got the machine to work silently. With the aid of the advance payments, they succeeded in producing the first fully finished machine. Its parts were used as prototypes in tooling up for the first series, comprising 25 calculators.
In order to force the production pace, Lund often used to come in and see Tony Machado, inspector supervisor. This happened on the occasions when he did not dare to meet some impatient customer. In the summer of 1934 the first machines were delivered. It was an important day for the young company when a machine was sent to Washington to be subjected to testing for use in Government departments. It passed with flying colors, and during subsequent years thousands of Friden machines have been ordered for different government establishments.
Packing caused certain worries. To find out whether the boxes were suitable, a calculating machine was screwed into a box. This was taken to the top of a concrete staircase with 25 steps, and Friden gave the case a kick. It hit a concrete wall below the staircase. After inspecting the machine, the test was repeated - it took one afternoon to develop a method of shockproof packing.
(The company's first product was the low-price electrically operated Friden Automatic Calculator, with automatic division and an electric shift. Its design incorporated the Friden roto-flow, oneway, drive principle, which allows the actuating mechanism to rotate continuously in one direction at all times which eliminates the interruptions to which reversible calculating mechanisms were subjected. The roto-flow design was but one of many improvements on calculating machines which Friden developed. Among the other design principles which he devised were the return clear key, fully automatic, continuous nonstop division, multiplication, selective dial accumulator locks, keyboards and individual key locks and selective automatic half-cent adjustments.)
The Plant at San Leandro
When orders begin to flow in, there was a continuous race between production and deliveries. Lund, who as a rule was out selling, took so many orders that the personnel had gradually been increased to 200 employees. The punching presses were moved to the garage, and every square yard of the building was utilized.
At the beginning of 1936 it became obvious that the three year-old company had to move to considerably larger quarters, The drawings for an extremely modern and efficient plant were finished before the summer, and in June the building work commenced. Before that, an area of 15 acres was acquired at San Leandro. In the fall of that year the new machine tools were installed at the new factory.
The construction was finished in October, but even a month earlier part of the plant had to be taken over by the assembly department, This was already in full operation two weeks before the other department started up at the new site.
1936 was a great year for the company, for a new, fully automatic calculating machine was introduced on the market. Thus Friden was ahead of all the other manufacturers. With his valuable production experience, Carl Friden, who never rested on his laurels, continuously improved his machine. The sales continued to increase and the plant had to be expanded time after time in order to keep up with the demand.
(Many of the machines used in the production of the firm's products were designed by Friden, including a cam milling machine which made it possible to duplicate the cut in the Friden oscillating cam at a production rate four times that of previous processes,)
(During the Second World War the company's production was largely devoted to aviation instruments and ordnance and by 1943 it held more than $20,000,000 in contracts for ordnance, including bomb nose fuses, shells, and electronically controlled tachometers.)
In 1944, the important step was taken of establishing an East-Coast Headquarters in New York. Training of service personnel was then also organized in Atlanta, New York and Chicago, supplementing the training activities at the home factory.
When Friden Calculating Machine Co. celebrated their 10th anniversary in 1944, the company had 1,300 employees at their plant in San Leandro. Friden's four silent partners had by then received $300,000 each (4,800%) since 1933. As he himself had 50% of the shares. he received dividends amounting to $1,200,000. He then owned a ranch of 600 acres in Alameda County with thoroughbreds and Hereford cattle.
(In the year of his death, a million dollar expansion program, planned and supervised by Carl Friden, was completed which added more than 86,000 square feet of floor space in three large buildings and in several extensions to older buildings, with 2,000 persons being employed by the firm.)
Activities After Friden's Death
After the death of Carl Friden in 1945, (April 29) Walter Johnson was made director and John Lund, Deputy Managing Director; Wesley Plunkett became Financial Director and Charles Gruenhagen Board Secretary. On the subject of this reorganization, Mr. Johnson said in a speech to the employees:
"Though none of us can fill Carl Friden's place, it will, however, be possible for us to continue along the path set out by him. We show him our greatest loyalty if we in our company work together as far as possible and sincerely strive to do our best. The Management has undertaken to keep our company the first in the world in calculating machines. We shall need every possible help from all of you, and being convinced of this, I look forward with confidence to the future of our company and its rapid expansion."
In the ensuing years, the Friden Calculating Machine Co. have considerably extended their activities. The San Leandro plant has grown further and now covers an area of 16 acres. Training in selling methods and service activities has also been expanded. production in the United States has been increased by new plants and by the acquisition of factories with a similar production program, and in Europe the company has built a plant in Holland.
(Carl Friden was married to Hildur Victoria Svenson, the daughter of a retired sea captain, on May 28, 1914 in Stockholm, Sweden. They had two children, Stanley Mauritz Victor and Barbro. Mr. Friden was an active member of his community of San Leandro and served as President of the Chamber of Commerce there and as member of the Selective Service Board. He was a member of the advisory committee of the office machine industry to the War Production board from 1940 to 1945. He was a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Masonic order and the Athenian-Nile Club of Oakland. In rehgion he was a Lutheran, and in politics a Republican, having become a naturalized citizen as soon as possible after his arrival in the United States.)
(Carl Friden was an active and dedicated member of the Swedish-American Society and it was chiefly through his efforts and financial support that a chair in Scandinavian languages and literature was established at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1945.)
(The Vasa order of knighthood was conferred upon Carl Friden by the King of Sweden in recognition of his distinguished achievements in April of 1945, the citation stating: "His Majesty, the King of Sweden, in recognition of your example of manhood at its best, and of your service, has bestowed upon you the insignia of the Royal Order of Vasa, First Class.")
Copyright 1973, by Barbro F. Alexander
(Carl M. Friden - Founder)
TIME Magazine is not inclined to pass out extravagant praise, but in 1943 it took a long look at inventor Carl Friden, in San Leandro, California and then hailed his "Brobdingnagian mental efforts involved in inventing a clerkproof, 5,500-part machine that adds, subtracts, multiplies and divides with the flick of a finger."
Brobdingnag, of course, was an imaginary country described in Swift's "Gulliver's Travels." Everything there was on a fabulously enormous scale, and TIME obviously felt that Friden's work in the calculating machine field was of the same stature. Pointing out that Friden had twice invented such a machine, the magazine stated:
"Friden's second model was further complicated by the fact that he could not infringe on the still-valid patents on his first one. He had to outwit himself."
The story of Carl Friden is the saga of a man who time and again attempted just such fantastic achievements-and time and again succeeded. Fate-with considerable help from World War 1 and the great American depression of the thirties-occasionally shook him from the ladder of success and dumped him at the bottom. But Friden was always ready to start climbing once more.
He was ready, too, to share whatever prosperity he might be enjoying at any time. When he was able, he contributed heavily to international charities, particularly those which endeavored to give the children of Europe a fair start in life. Chiefly through his efforts and financial support, a chair in Scandinavian Languages and Literature was established at the University of California in Berkeley.
Carl Friden loved people, and he liked to see them having a good time. Once his company was on its feet, his first thought was to give a lavish party for Friden employees, Later there were other celebrations at his 600-acre ranch home near Pleasanton, as he added fine palomino horses, barbecue pits, picnic grounds and an expansive swimming pool recessed into the hillside overlooking a broad valley.
The meals he served there took days of planning and it was often Friden himself who made the Swedish hors d'oeuvres and the special barbecue sauce that accompanied the finest steaks available. His employees received the same careful attention as the Scandinavian royalty which was frequently entertained at the Friden ranch.
The parties gave him a chance to keep in contaet with every employee, to listen to their problems and suggestions. In the same way, he enjoyed playing Santa Claus at plant Christmas parties-it offered the opportunity to greet everyone individually. Receptive to any suggestion which would result in greater security, peace of mind and happiness for Friden people and their families, be helped establish a pension system, insurance protection and company support of employee activities.
Carl Friden's amazing career in the calculator industry began in 1902, when he was only 11. Following a quarrel, he ran away from his stepfather's home in a small Swedish community and found employment as a messenger in Stockholm. Karl Rudin, owner of an experimental laboratory doing pioneer work on automatic calculating machines, took a liking to the boy and hired him-first as an errand boy, then as an apprentice.
Even at this age, there was no mistaking young Carl's determination. He had graduated from grammar school but that education was pitifully small in this huge new world of blueprints, machines and mathematics. Homeless and practically penniless, he still managed to attend evening classes at a technical school. His long days at the laboratory were followed by hours of class, then more hours of study .
For seven years, he maintained this schedule. As his technical knowledge grew, he was allowed to conduct many of Rudin's experiments This greatly expanded his experience and soon Friden was startling his instructors with practical observations on the theories they taught. They recommended him for a scholarship to the institute of Technology in Stockholm and he enrolled at 19. Two years later - in 19l2 - he graduated as a mechanical engineer.
Friden had expected to return to the calculator field, but the Swedish Match Trust had recognized his superior mechanical aptitude and offered him a position as mechanical advisor in the erection of machines. During the next two years, he supervised the installation of match-making machinery in new factories in Leningrad, London, and other European cities. Pleased with his work, the trust gave him an assignment unheard of for a 23-year-old youth only two years out of engineering school - supervision of the construction of a match factory in Sydney, Australia.
He landed in Sydney on the very day war was declared, and in the confusion caused by the surprising news the ship's crew unloaded passengers but no baggage. Stranded in a strange country, without money or even a change of clothes, Friden found it hopeless to attempt to carry out his assignment.
Cautious officials had blacklisted the Swedish Match Trust because it had carried on business with German industry. No trust funds were available to Friden - not even for his salary! He quietly filed away his impressive title of factory construction supervisor and took an undistinguished job in a Sydney machine shop.
For two years he worked there, awaiting permission to leave Australia. The long evenings in a strange land were not wasted by the Swedish engineer, who returned to his original field of calculating machines. During his spare time he studied the "Thomas One-Way principle" devised by Charles Xavier Thomas of Colmar, France in 1820. Although the Frenchman had invented the first really successful modern calculator, his principle had been overlooked by later inventors.
When Friden at last received permission to return to Sweden, by way of the United States, he had almost completed a model of a new calculator. A fellow passenger on the boat to San Francisco heard about it and suggested that such a machine would hold far more promise in America than in Sweden.
Friden had an excellent position and future in Sweden, but in the United States he had no business connections at all. He had practically no money, his knowledge of American engineering methods were meager, the only Americans he knew were a few chance shipboard acquaintances. Yet Carl Friden thought the prospects were so much better in the United States that he didn't hesitate to gamble on his chances in a new country.
Of necessity, he found a job quickly, only to lose his first pay - $25 in gold - in a holdup on San Francisco's Market Street. Eventually he found employment with a calculating machine company and was assigned to the experimental department.
Once again Friden worked through the day and Studied through the night, as he learned how the metric system and other European characteristics had been replaced in American mechanical engineering. Somehow he also found time to continue building his model calculator and eventually completed a machine with which he was satisfied.
This became a profitable hobby in late 1918, when his employers were abruptly warned to discontinue manufacturing their current model because of patent violations. When they had first employed Friden, they had required him to give than an option on any machine he should develop. Now they made him a modest offer to take over all rights on his calculator.
Friden promptly countered with a much larger figure, which was not accepted. Less than an hour before the option was due to expire, however, the company suddenly ageed to Friden's terms and paid him $100,000 - with a $1 more to be paid him for every machine sold.
It was Christmas Eve, 1918. Friden went home with a fabulous check in his pocket. "I didn't know there was that much money in the world," he said later.
In 1929, he scored another financial coup. Cross-licensing between his employers and another calculating machine firm resulted in Friden selling his machine and patents for dozens of improvements. It brought him $225,000 in cash and consultant fees, as Friden assumed new duties as consulting engineer for the company.
With more free time, large investments in securities and an apparently assured income, Carl Friden looked forward to new interests.
"I am a farmer at heart," he told friends. "I've always appreciated the simple life and getting close to Mother Earth."
He planned a huge ranch, where he could raise horses, cattle, pigs, and chickens as relaxation from the world of machines and blueprints. He wanted a large stable of saddle horses for the convenience of friends and members of the San Francisco Sheriffs Posse, with which Friden had been riding in parades at fairs, rodeos and horse shows. He was eager, too, to don a chefs cap and apron and prepare special dishes for his guests.
Eventually, he did have such a ranch - but it had to wait for a few years. His prosperity disappeared in the wake of the stock market crash of 1929-30. He had invested heavily in stocks. and most of these personal assets vanished within a few months.
This was Australia an over again, but - just as he had 16 years before - Friden refused to think about his sudden plunge down the ladder of success. He went back to shoestring calculating, determined to invent an outstanding machine. The fact that he held more calculating machine patents than any other living engineer meant that he had to explore new frontiers in the field without using any of the trails he himself had blazed.
The problem was something new for Friden. He had invented an electric razor, a cost recorder, a time-recording machine, a method for automobile free wheeling, a pneumatic clutch and gear control but he had never tried to outwit himself. Yet he had no other choice. In order to re-enter the field to which he had given 28 years, the major part of his life, he had to devise a calculator completely different from all his past models and improvements.
Carl Friden welcomed the challenge. An entirely new calculator would not be open to the patent fights that were tying up other companies in expensive, time-consuming litigation. And Friden - who never hesitated to point out shortcomings in his own inventions - felt that progress was long overdue in calculating machines, He thought they were too heavy and cumbersome, had too many parts and were too slow in solving problems.
When Friden finally had the general idea of a new machine in his mind, he thought it was high time to go into business. On the strength of this plan - only a little of it on paper and some of it not developed even in Friden's mind - he rented a two-story building in East Oakland and established the Friden Calculating Machine Company.
His business effects, consisting only of several hand-made parts, a few files and some odd pieces of metal, filled a small corner of the building. Curious neighbors thought he could have saved money by renting just the corner, but Friden looked at things a bit differently.
He knew that success always led to expansion, and he followed only one formula throughout his busy lifetime of research, experimentation and production: "Work until you succeed."
Friden factory and office buildings cover seven acres on a fourteen-acre tract between East Fourteenth Street and Washington Avenue in San Leandro. This includes parcels of land on the south side of Washington, affording building space and parking area for employees.
At present there are nearly 2,000 men and women at work in the factory, offices, and defense departments. A large percentage of this number make there home in the San Leandro area and contribute largely to the economy of San Leandro through their purchasing power and payment of local taxes.
Payroll for these employees amounts to nearly $7,500,000 each year and more benefits are accrued by our area through Friden sales throughout the world.
The Friden Calculating Machine Company, Inc. is a principal taxpayer in San Leandro and these funds do much to maintain the excellent reputation of our city as the "home of Sunshine and Flowers." Tax funds are used to provide better streets, schools, police and fire protection, improved recreational facilities and services of all kinds for the benefit of our citizens.
The Friden Company has been an outstanding contributor to all recognized charities and has given generously in response to local appeals. The company too, has from its very introduction to San Leandro when its founder, the late Carl M. Friden, accepted responsibility as president of the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce, been interested in civic betterment. Positions of trust have been, and are held by employees in the chamber of commerce, welfare council, civil service commission, planning committee, and the several service, fraternal and church groups of the city.
Since its start, the Friden Company has been a leader in the movement to provide gainful employment for the physically handicapped. Twice the company has been cited for recognizing that there is truth in the slogan - "Hire the Handicapped - It's Good Business." Many past the customary age of retirement are still doing good work and maintaining their self support and respect through positions in several Friden departments.
Friden assists in spreading the name and fame of San Leandro through sales and service agencies in more than 250 cities of the United States and Canada and representatives in some 115 countries and colonies throughout the world. Each month, prominent widely circulated magazines tell the world that Friden Fully Automatic Calculators - The Thinking Machines of American Business - are manufactured and sold from San Leandro.
Stories on Friden success, progress and manufacturing skill appear frequently in special trade publications, keeping constantly before professional, trade, and management circles the fact that San Leandro affords excellent industrial and residential possibilities for new and old firms.
Good employee relations is a constant aim of the Friden Company and toward this end the personnel department spends considerable time seeking out and improving conditions not ideal for comfort, safety and health. Helpful in this task are the frequent meetings of employee representatives with the personnel director when helpful suggestions are received for study. Results of this relationship are to be seen in demeanor of employees on the job and the cleanliness to be noted throughout the factory.
The Friden Company contributes further to this cause of good employee relationship through full support of the many Friden Employees Club activities. Each year this club, run entirely by employee officers, presents four dances, a picnic, Easter egg hunt for the children in that season and a children's party at Christmas, President's Cup tournaments in golf, softball and basketball for men and women, card parties, and many other activities.
In summary, the Friden Calculating Machine Company, Inc. does everything possible to insure the best product in its field for service to its world-wide customers; to insure adequate return for its stockholders, constant and expanding employment under the finest conditions for its employees, ample funds for replacement of equipment, research and expansions; while fulfilling its rightful role as a respected industrial leader in the community.
There was no shortage of Doubting Thomases when the Friden Calculating Machine Company, Inc. began operations in 1933.
Carl Friden had invented one of the leading models of calculating machines, and now he must do it all over again - but without infringing on any of the dozens of patents he had already taken out on his first calculator and later sold. This, said experts in the field, was expecting entirely too much of any inventor. Worst of all, Friden and his associates were going into business at a time when the country's economy was in the dismal depths of depression days.
So there was little encouragement for Friden or his small band of calculator builders. Friden gave that challenge the only answer he knew. He bet his bottom dollar on the American system of free enterprise and his own brilliant plan for the building of a simplified Rotoflow Drive, one-way non reversible, fully automatic tabulating calculator.
That plan was the only real asset the new company had. Its plant was a small rented building on East 12th Street in Oakland, California. There was little equipment and less money. A few men did all the varied things that had to be done.
Today, the Friden Calculating Machine Company, Inc. is housed in a multi-million dollar, seven acre production "palace" in San Leandro, a fast-growing industrial center of the San Francisco Bay Area located just south of Oakland. This most modern factory of its kind in the nation produces Friden Fully Automatic Calculators at the rate of one every few minutes - and it has to. Otherwise, production would fall far behind the constant customer demand.
This service is supervised by company controlled sales and service agencies in more than 250 cities of the United States and Canada. There are also distributors in approximately 115 other countries and colonies, extending the Friden organization to every corner of the world.
From almost the first moment the original hand-tooled Friden Model "A" was shown to public view, there has been a race to provide the needed tools and production space to meet unprecedented customer demand.
At first, in Oakland, it was simply a matter of getting the job done with limited facilities. In those days, "everyone did everything."
Many of the men who today hold principal positions in Friden engineering and production departments were all-around specialists then, darting from drafting boards to benches, tooling needed parts by hand. The first dies were carefully capped in charcoal, then hardened with a gasoline blow torch. When the first heavy equipment arrived, everyone helped set up the machinery.
The men took turns sweeping out the plant, bringing wood to heat the building, dashing out for sandwiches and other quick snacks for workers to eat at their benches. Friden and his associates often worked well past midnight, then returned at dawn to begin another long day. They willingly shared the financial troubles of the budding company, and even provided most of their own tools!
Four friends came to the firm's aid with funds to add to Carl Friden's limited finances. Completion of the first model was desperately needed to provide capital for the expansion they felt would soon be demanded. These friends were: Waiter S. Johnson, now Friden president and also president of the American Forest Products Corporation and its many affiliates, San Francisco; Charles T. Gruenhagen, secretary-treasurer of the same company, now secretary treasurer of the Friden Calculating Machine Company, Inc.; J. B. Lewis, then sales manager of American Box, as the lumber firm was first known, now a member of the Friden Company board of directors; and C. A. Webster, who was president of the Stockton Box Company at the time, since deceased.
These four executives, unlike hundreds of other businessmen who had opportunity to invest in the young firm, had faith in Carl Friden to overcome what seemed like insurmountable obstacles. When they visited the small factory to see Friden's "magic" calculator, he could show them only a skeleton of a machine. There was nothing that would run, nothing that resembled a finished calculator.
One of his new backers even asked: "But where is the calculator!" Yet those friends invested twice more in Friden's experiments before he had the company in full-fledged operation.
Finally, the great day arrived - the first model was completed and the production was ready to begin. John M. Lund, now chairman of the executive committee, came from his important executive post with a leading calculator manufacturer to aid his old friend in sales promotion. Associated for many years with Friden, Lund held great admiration for his inventive and executive ability.
Lund took the first calculator under his arm and began a tour, which brought him to nearly every state and into Canada. When that first - and only - Friden wasn't available, he made calls anyhow. Demonstrations or not, he convinced dozens of outstanding calculator salesmen of Friden superiority and took many cash-in-advance orders vitally needed to continue plant operations.
The ready acceptance of the calculator spurred pioneer members of the company to even greater activity. They parked their cars on the street as the punch press department, crowded out of the factory, took over the garage. Some even took jobs to their homes, and one worker - the late Borgar Christiansen - was continually being called upon to "hurry home for more cover parts."
Despite this frantic production, Friden insisted that quality he maintained throughout. It was reported that some of the first machines to be shipped would not work upon arrival until they had been readjusted. There were only a few completed machines in the plant, but Friden took one of them, fastened it in a shipping crate, and took it to the top of a 25 - step stairway. Then, while his staff stared, he kicked it downstairs and against a concrete wall. "We thought of stopping him," admitted one of Friden's associates, "but, after all, it was his machine."
After an afternoon of throwing around calculators, Friden worked out a method of "floating" the machines in their crates which is still in use today. When the calculator could be kicked down the concrete step, land against a concrete wall and then work without adjustment, he was satisfied.
In summer of 1934, the first calculator was taken off the sales demonstration assignment long enough to be shipped to Washington for government tests, The machine was given typical use in Federal offices and, on the basis of this on-the-job test, easily qualified for government service. In the following years, thousands of Friden Calculators have been ordered by nearly every branch of the government.
Less than three years after the first drawings of the Friden Calculator were completed, immediate expansion became essential. Wesley L. Plunkett, treasurer and assistant general manager (since retired), was sent out to find a location for a new and larger plant. The growing industrial prominence of San Leandro attracted Plunkett and, after careful consideration of many sites, a l4-acre location running between East 14th Street and Washington Avenue was selected. In addition to frontage on two principal thoroughfares, it afforded easy access to rail, truck and airline shipping facilities.
The building was to be streamlined "just like the Calculator." It was to be a credit to the San Leandro community and "large enough to fill our needs for years to come." And, it did seem huge on that gala day in 1936 when doors of the beautiful building were thrown open to a growing Friden Family of almost 400 people.
That first Friden Factory - "built to last years" - was sufficient for only a year before expansion was ordered. The expansion has continued each year. In 1945, a million-dollar building program was completed, adding more than 86,000 square feet of floor space in three huge buildings and several extensions to former plant buildings. Another million-dollar burst in 1948-49 put five full Friden acres in calculator production, and a similar program in 1952-53 still further expanded plant facilities. Additionally, the Friden firm greeted the new year of 1954 by putting into use two complete new buildings and two large new front wings to permit further expansion of sales, service, research and administration activities.
Today, the original factory unit houses only segments of the business, sales and factory office departments, and almost 2,000 people gain their livelihood through jobs within the continually growing plant. Almost every year, engineers and architects have been called upon to draw plans for vast expansions to the plant area. Dozens of smaller additions have been made.
Now, seven acres of floor area are devoted exclusively to the manufacture of Friden Fully Automatic Calculators, the largest rotary-type calculator plant in America.
Much of the credit for this success story goes to Waiter S. Johnson, Carl Friden's long - time friend, who assumed presidency of the concern at the time of Friden's death in April, 1945, and the general management of John M. Lund, now chairman of the executive committee. Johnson has been a member of the Friden board of directors since the company's incorporation in 1934, and has given generously of the experience he has gained as president of a number of companies and director of many more.
Under Johnson's keen judgment, production has surged ahead. With his guidance the Friden factory has grown to be the largest calculator factory in the nation with a straight-line production set-up second to none in the world. Completely conveyorized sub assembly, assembly and inspection lines speed Friden Calculators to the shipping department at a rate unheard of in calculator production of the past.
Costly equipment speeds the fabrication of parts and manufacture of highly accurate dies and gauges to save the time necessary to assure conservative production costs. Light, airy, spacious buildings and good employee relations insure working conditions conducive to worker productivity.
Rapid growth of the Friden Calculating Machine Company, Inc. and the excellence of its product drew attention of the United States government during the early days of the European war and long before Pearl Harbor, the Friden Company was engaged in the production of vitally needed war materials for our country. Even while the Friden Calculator production continued to provide the country and the government with as many calculators as possible, records were being set in the manufacture of bomb nose fuses, shells. electronically controlled tachometers and many other articles of ordnance.
As part of the defense building program. the Friden Company produced hundreds of hand operated Friden Calculators for use in the unelectrified advance posts of the Army, Navy, and Marines.
In the post-World War II years, particularly during and since the Korean conflict, the Friden Company has continued to fill government contracts - defense items as well as the calculators needed in today's specialized warfare.
With World War I1 nearly at an end and the Friden Company starting plans which have led to the vast expansion of the factory and sales organization, life ended for Carl M. Friden.
His premature death (he was only 54) came as a shock to inventors and engineers throughout the world. His typical Swedish shyness for personal publicity kept Carl Friden from being too well known among the general public. Among business and engineering associations, however, and every place where invention is the subject of discussion, Friden was a well-known personality. He held more than 500 patents in his own name, and had been told by many that this constituted a record among American inventors.
Death of Carl Friden served as a spur and incentive to Walter S. Johnson, John M. Lund, Wesley PIunkett and the company founder's highly experienced engineering and production department personnel They immediately rallied to carry out his plans.
The defense building portion of the factory was completely remodeled and the new buildings started, all to carry out the intent and purpose of removing the tremendous war-time calculator sales backlog so that regular peace time production could be resumed.
The buildings are now complete, the goal has been met. Carl M. Friden, were he still with us, could well look his Doubting Thomases straight in the eye with an "I told you so."
But he wouldn't. He was too firmly sold on America and the American system of free enterprise. He had merely bet on his country and his calculator - and won!
From a modest 40,000 square feet of area for manufacturing, business and sales, the Friden plant has grown to nearly 370.000 square feet as a result of expansions which began in 1937 and have been continuous ever since.
Largest of the Friden buildings recently completed is more than 500 feet long and 80 feet wide. Part of it is temporarily in use for the fulfillment of contracts held with the United States Government, the rest for Friden production. Other new buildings provide room for expansion of research, administration, sales and service and storage facilities.
One of the most interesting new buildings at the Friden factory in San Leandro is the huge assembly section. This building, 411 feet long by 75 feet wide, houses the fully conveyorized assembly line, only one of its kind in the industry.
In the assembly building, two continuous belt conveyors extend almost the entire length of the long building, keeping a constant flow of calculators heading through the various stages of assembly to final inspection and shipping.
Monorail overhead conveyors pass within easy reach of each assembly station to provide the main line assemblers an unending supply of major sub-assemblies from adjacent sub-assembly benches and also serve as a protected storage device.
New knee-type steel trusses, similar to hull frames on a ship, eliminate the need for roof truss beams and central columns and allow free use of every inch of floor space within the building. Each bench is equipped with an individually governed fluorescent lamp and radiant heating assures comfortable temperature. Electrical wiring and compressed air leads reach each bench through under-thc-floor raceways, completely eliminating dangling wires and air hoses.
Within two "squared circle" conveyor equipped benches, completed machines are given a thorough "final commercial" inspection, both in uncovered and covered state. In these tests, trained operators give each machine every operation it may be expected to face in its life of service. Skilled final correctionists sit within the "circles," ready to make any adjustments found necessary.
Directly behind the assembly and inspection unit, the shipping headquarters-175 feet long by 75 feet wide-provide the last step in a straight-line production layout which speeds the Friden Calculators to customers at a rate of over four times that of pre-war years.
Start of the modernized production picture in the enlarged Friden plant is made in the raw materials warehouse. Of similar knee-type construction, the building provides 13,800 square feet of floor area and 36 feet of overhead clearance to permit installation of overhead cranes. All material is stored in specially constructed bins with an accurate "at a glance" inventory available to tell stock, weight and the amount drawn for use.
Latest type lift trucks - four in the warehouse alone - make light work of moving the vast store of metals needed in Friden Calculator production (more than four million pounds annually) from the loading ramp to storage bins and from the bins to the huge shear for the beginning of the production story. Materials used represent nearly the whole realm of metals, with brass, bronze, aluminum alloys. stainless steel, steel strip and barstock all finding a place in the Friden. Plastic materials wire, spring steel, tool and alloy steels. heat treating and cleaning supplies are also stored here.
Scrap metal essential to the steel industry - and, therefore, to almost all other industries-is never allowed to accumulate in the plant, but is constantly collected.
Immediately adjacent to the raw materials warehouse is the metallurgical-chemical laboratory where modern equipment is used to examine samples of each lot of metal and material received and all plating solutions. Only those passing the exacting requirements set down by the engineering departments in "Friden Standard Specifications" receive approval and are placed in inventory.
Complete records of tests given are submitted to the Chief Metallurgist, Production Control Department, Purchasing Department and Raw Materials Storage Department before metals are stored in the color-tabbed materials racks for use. No orders are issued by the Production Control Department against materials unless there is a laboratory report covering it.
Wide swinging doors lead the way from Raw Materials directly into the Automatic Screw Machine and Punch Press Departments where the first work is done in the production of parts.
Extension of tile former factory area has given these departments room to flex over-growing "muscles" of production. Lengthening rows of Brown and Sharpe, .Acme-Gridley, New Britain, Cleveland and Swiss type automatic screw machines turn out more than a quarter-million parts each day.
Double the previous number of punch presses, ranging from four-ton to 400-ton and including several Bliss High Production Presses, do yeoman work of fabricating parts from highly accurate dies
I)enison "Hydraulic" Multipresses have been adapted to do precision broaching. Friden engineers adapted this machine for broaching, with the tool department constructing the ram head which holds the broach as well as the nests which hold the parts, the automatic oiling device for the broach, automatic air ejection and air jets which clean the broach and nest one station ahead of loading so that it is free of chips.
A surface broaching machine, entirely different from others in the factory, has recently been added to speed parts production. The basic machine was manufactured by Acme Broach, while tools and fixtures for holding the broaches were manufactured to Friden specifications by the Continental Broach Company. The surface broacher boosted already high production rates by 400 percent, and is gradually being used on more and more different jobs.
Hundreds of progressive compound die jobs are completed on the Bliss High production presses, which operate at speeds up to 300 strokes per minute, using coil stock hundreds of feet long. One job is the four-stage processing of the tiny transfer cam for the Friden accumulator dial. These parts now come pouring from the high-speed press at the rate of 12,000 pieces each hour. The largest of these presses produces electric motor stators and rotors completed in a six station die.
An interesting punch press job now done in the enlarged department is the complete production of Friden aluminum cover parts. Formerly, these parts were purchased in a semi-completed form and finished at the factory. Now the complete operation from the flat section of aluminum to the finished article is done in the plant.
A huge HPM double injection molding machine, one of three in the world, speeds smooth, glare-free Friden key tops and dials to assembly divisions and smaller plastic machines mold multiplier dial segments and other plastic parts of the Friden Calculator.
Two new Lester-Phoenix nylon presses produce gears, bearings. slip clutch and driver units, in order to make use of the long wearing characteristics of nylon in the Fridcn Calculator. These plastic injection machines can produce 12,000 snap washers, or up to 1,200 other finished parts during an hour. Nylon is costlier than the metal materials formerly used, but wears longer and is easier to process. Parts, which once required several operations, are now produced in a single operation of the new machines.
In the vastly extended secondary operations department, next step in Friden production, many Friden-built machine tools speed the work of finishing parts for assembly lines. Included in this section are the milling, drill press, spring, welding and automatic equipment for painting and plating.
Standard and special machines in these departments are too numerous to mention in detail. A few, however, include:
1.A Friden designed and built cam milling machine which makes it possible to duplicate the cut in the Friden oscillating cam at a production rate four times that of previous processes. The machine is a double-header, allowing the operator to machine two parts simultaneously.
2. When increased production demanded greater numbers of add-subtract gears, the tool engineering department produced and index-fed high speed duplex milling machines for automatically cutting gear teeth in both upper and lower side of the gear, simultaneously and also turning and de-burring the cut gear at another station. By previous hand mill operation, production was limited to about 55 pieces per hour, Now output has been stepped up to some 150 pieces per hour.
3. One of the proudest achievements of the tool engineering department has been the construction of a 20-gang carbide cutter for milling of Friden carriage frames. The frame parts are extruded from aluminum alloy and the gang cutting method has permitted a production increase from 35 parts each on two machines per 8-hour day to 110 to 120 complete units of two parts each per 8-hour shift.
Each of these production improvements, and there are many more, has freed employees for other important tasks in the various departments,
Throughout secondary operations there are a number of multiple jigs and fixtures which speed the drilling of literally hundreds of holes needed in Friden Calculator parts.
As cover parts reach the plating department, a conveyor carries them through a bonderizing process which gives covers an undercoat for their enamel finish. Waist-high steel tanks, placed side by side, and a system of hoists make bonderizing as simple an operation as possible.
After each part has been given the protective Bonderite coating, it is pruned and enameled automatically by e!ectro-static spray painting. Baking in the infra-red tunnels then produces the hard, attractive finish highly appreciated by Friden operators. Covers pass through a cooling zone next, making possible prompt inspection and transportation to secondary operations. The whole process, which used to take over 30 hours, now is done in about an hour.
The painting department also sound-proofs Friden cover parts to keep operating sounds of the calculator at a minimum. The sound-proofing process had its beginning in the earliest days of the company, when Carl Friden experimented by cutting up his own leather jacket and gluing pieces to covers.
The process has been improved several times. and today's Friden Fully Automatic Calculators "speak softly" because double layers of felt are inside each cover. Adhesive is automatically attached to covers at the rate of 400 per hour by an air-operated hydraulic press.
Plating of parts to give rustproofing protection is an important phase of calculator manufacture and one of the most modern plating departments does the job for the Friden company.
Situated alongside the paint department, the platers have all the latest equipment at their disposal to complete their exacting job.
The Friden Company was an early purchaser of a fully automatic Udylite Plating Machine which coats thousands of parts each day with an accurate plating of cadmium. The majority of parts used in each calculator are now cadmium-plated, giving them a highly attractive appearance as well as guarding against possible corrosion.
Installed at a cost of $20,000, the machine completes the job of plating, rinsing, and drying in eleven automatic steps over the course of a straight-through line. Dozens of racks, each holding 400 large parts or 6400 small parts, go through the automatic process each hour .
For parts requiring lubrication, the Friden Company uses the first production line application of electrofilm solid film lubricant. Used for many different parts, this electrofilm graphite process provides rust-resistant qualities and lubrication so, permanent that it lasts the full lifetime of a part.
The process begins with a chemical dip, which creates an Etched surface on each part, and the lubricant with its graphite properties then enters into the little valleys created by the chemical . . . covering the entire eched surface with practically no change in the parts dimensions.
This solid film lubricant is particularly adapted to the sliding surfaces characteristic of many Fridcn parts, and greatly reduces friction between these parts. There is still some friction, bur this only makes the dry lubricant more secure and lubrication is furnished until tile metal is worn down to the etched surface. By that time. however, the part would have seen several times its normal lifetime of use.
The plating department is also equipped for jetal. copper, nickle, chrome and tin plating and a variety of other finishes.
In the highly immaculate Friden Tool Room, machinists and tool and die makers are charged with the responsibility of manufacturing and maintaining thousands of dies and gages and other equipment so important to Friden production. This Tool Room is exactly the opposite of the general conception of a machine shop. Here it is brilliantly lighted by both natural and electrical illumination and scrupulously clean. Little heavy, greasy work is necessary and most of the tasks involve small jobs of extremely close tolerance.
Assisting the skilled men of this department, in addition to tool makers and engineers, are lathes, of many capacities, milling machines, drill presses, grinders and shapers, and a number of special tools. These include a constantly growing number of costly optical jig borers, jig grinders, Keller profiling machines, thread grinder and amazing projecto-form grinders, which "televise" work being done on a screen enlarging the work 20 times.
Today, more than ever, industry knows the truth of the old saying. "Steel is no better than its heat treatment." This is reflected in the equipment used by the Friden Heat Treating Department, as it adds the final touch to the highly accurate tools, dies. gages and fixtures produced by the Friden Tool Room.
The latest in atmosphere-controlled Vapo Carb Furnaces are used for dies and fixtures. Sentry High Speed Furnaces are available to handle the numerous cutting tools required in the Screw Machine and Milling departments. Cyanide furnaces, carborizing furnaces, salt bath furnaces - all insure that metal in Friden dies and parts are just the right degree of hardness for long, lasting wear. Heat Treat men work closely with tool and die makers to produce tools which are ready for use immediately following heat treating, often with no grinding or other finishing operation being necessary.
The Heat Treat department also processes the thousands of calculator parts, with the same precision methods used in manufacture of the parts. All parts are hung on racks to prevent distortion and to insure the even hear treatment necessary to prevent wear while in use in the machine. Microscopic examinations and Brinnell Hardness Tests are made regularly to check treated parts against the Friden Company's high standards.
On direct route from these parts production departments are the Quality Control and parts Inspection Departments and The Finished Parts storerooms. These in turn lead to the expansive assembly division which a always ready to use more and more parts for the stepped up production of Friden Fully Automatic Calculators.
In the Friden Spring Department, 128 different coded springs are manufactured, many of them on Friden-designed machine tools. These springs range from 11.325 inches to .110 inch in length and from wire size .006 to .041 of an inch in diameter, and represent all but one of the coiled springs used in various models of the calculator. Due to duplications of certain springs, a Friden Fully Automatic Calculator may contain as many as 534m - each manufactured from the best available wire and to strict specifications.
Before leaving the Spring Department, each spring is checked by Friden - designed, Friden-made inspection fixtures. Springs must meet specifications of size and durability, and are allowed as little variation as 10/1000th of an inch in length when test weights are attached.
Constantly watching the entire production picture is an alert battery of engineers in the production control and statistical quality control departments, while others of the tool department, industrial engineering, methods and standards, production engineering. research, development and patent departments work continually to see that Friden Calculators are as up to the minute as the latest tick of your watch.
In mid-1952, they made possible the debut of the world's first square root calculating machine - "the finest figure development since the invention of the calculator."
The Friden Fully Automatic Square Root Calculator, model SRW, was a sensation when introduced during the National Office Machine Association Business Show in San Francisco, and quickly took its place with the other popular Friden models.
Setting up the number, touching the control key to start the operation and getting the square root, computed to the tenth decimal place takes an average of only eight seconds.
Development of this new machine has opened the door to greater use of square roots in business and industry, and many firms have taken advantage of this opportunity. Previously, they had found working with square roots an expensive or impractical operation because of the time and difficulty involved.
Future years will see other pace-setting developments by Friden research and production experts, who have already entered the electro-mechanical and electronic field in search of even more outstanding mathematics by machine.
In all, 98 per cent of everything that goes into the integrated manufacture of Friden Automatic Calculators is produced from raw materials at the Home Factory in San Leandro. This includes fractional horsepower electric motors that provide power for the calculator.
The department was formed during the trying days of World War II, when the commercial motor supply was commandeered by Uncle Sam, with the Friden Motor specially designed to fill its role as the calculator power plant.
So excellent was the result that the company has made motor production a permanent plant operation. A motor filter has been developed for the "Television age, "eliminating all interference on nearby TV and radio sets and radar from operation of the calculator.
Building of the Friden motor is typical of the success story which has been Friden history since the company's formation.
From the very start of the firm in the dark days of the depression, a set rule by Carl M. Friden demanded: "Don't buy it, BUILD IT." It has been this rule more than anything else which has prompted Friden engineers to accomplish seeming miracles in production.
That these men are expert in the job has been proven by the consistently excellent sales record of men meeting and surpassing competition in the field.
Continued improvement is being made on the basic principles of the revolutionarily new, simple and fast Calculator invented by Carl Friden to meet every challenge in the highly competitive business equipment field.
Each improvement is studied until it can be installed without endangering any of the simplicity of operation which has made Friden a "must" in thousands of offices and industries throughout the country.
Carl Friden - A Legacy of Excellence
It was twenty years ago that the Company lost its founder, Carl M. Friden.
The war was near its close as the internationally known inventor died on April 29, 1945, just three weeks prior to his 54th birthday.
Many changes have taken place and the Company has made enormous strides in the years since his death.
One thing, however, has remained constant, That is the Friden approach to getting the job done . . . a striving for excellence . . . a negation of the second best.
The lessons he taught have not been forgotten. They are the keystones of the growth which has mushroomed from that modest beginning in 1933.
Carl Friden's drive, imagination, and spirit led the Company through the difficult early years. These same qualities guide us today, and will enable us to meet the challenges of the future with energy and confidence.
The Story of Friden Automatic Calculators
Josiah Neuhart, Educational Research Manager
October 16, 1953
During the early 1930's, Mr. Carl M. Friden, who had spent the greater portion of his life inventing and designing major improvements in Calculators, organized the Friden Calculating Machine Company, Inc, whose headquarters are now located in San Leandro, California.
The Company developed and started the manufacture of the first low-priced Electrically Operated Calculator, with Fully Automatic Division and an Electric Shift, ever to be offered the business world, and, incidentally, the first Calculator to be designed originally, as an electrically operated Calculator.
The basic design of the Friden Automatic Calculator incorporates the Friden Roto-flow, One-Way Drive Principle. With the Roto-flow I)rive principle, the Actuating Mechanism rotates continuously one directions at all times, and therefore, eliminates the many sudden starts and stops to which reversible calculating mechanisms are subjected.
The Friden Roto-flow, One-Way, Drive principle created a calculator mechanism so simple in design that many highly desired and useful features could be incorporated in the machine. Mr. Friden was quick to adopt these features as soon as they proved their usefulness and the following is a chronological list of the improvements incorporated in the machine.
1.The "Return Clear Key" now known as the "Carriage Clear" key returns the carriage to position one and automatically clears the dials.
2. Fully automatic, continuous, non-stop division.
3. Fully automatic, continuous, nonstop multiplication. Eliminates all mental and physical effort on the part of the operator. The multiplicand is set on the keyboard, the multiplier in the Ten Key Multiplying Unit where it appears in the Multiplier dials. A touch of the Multiply key automatically clears the dials, starts the multiplication in position one, shifts the carriage from position to position, completes the multiplication, and automatically clears the keyboard. The product appears in the upper or product dials.
4. Accumulative Multiplication. When both factors are entered in the machine, a touch of the Accumulate Multiply key moves the carriage to position one but does not clear the dials. Therefore, when the multiplication starts, it accumulates the product with any other products which may appear in the upper dials and accumulates the multipliers with those that are already in the lower dials.
5. Negative Multiplication. When both factors are entered, a touch of the Negative Multiply key moves the carriage to position one, does not clear the dials, and starts a subtractive multiplication which subtracts both the product and the multiplier from the accumulated total of the products and multipliers already in the dials.
6. Selective Carriage Tabulation. A tabulator key is provided for each carriage position. When a tabulator key is depressed in a selective position, the carriage will tabulate to that position until another tabulator key is depressed.
7. "Dividend Tabulator Key" now known as "Enter Dividend" key. A dividend is entered on the keyboard and a touch of the Enter Dividend key automatically clears the dial, automatically tabulates the carriage to the selected position, automatically enters the dividend in the upper dials, automatically prevents the entry of one in the lower dials, and automatically clears the keyboard.
8. Friden positive and/or negative division. Friden dual division control keys enable an operator to produce, without presetting, either a positive quotient or a negative quotient. With the dual division control keys, an operator may obtain an increase percent or a decrease percent without determining the difference between values of the present and previous periods.
9. Selective Dial Accumulator Locks. These locks lock the dials against clearance. Therefore, the operator may at will lock either or both sets of dials for accumulation. The lower dial lock enables an operator to obtain individual products in the upper dials and accumulate the total of the multipliers in the lower dials for proof. In division the operator can accumulate quotients or subtract quotients at will.
10. Selective Split and Normal Dial Clearance. Enables an operator to lock the right upper dials for product accumulation and leave the left upper dials free for individual products. Or the left upper dials may be locked for accumulation with the right upper dials free for individual products.
11. Multiplier Non-Entry Control Key, This key prevents multipliers from entering the lower dials, and, therefore, eliminates the necessity for the operator to either think of, or clear the lower dials when making divisions. Also makes it possible to accumulate products or grand totals in the lower dials.
12. Multiplier Repeat Key. When a multiplier has been entered in the multiplier dials, the Repeat key locks the multiplier unit so that the multiplier reappears in the dials after each multiplication and can be used continuously until changed.
13. Keyboard Lock. This is a positive lock which locks all depressed keys on the keyboard against accidental or unintentional clearance when using a constant multiplicand.
14. Individual Key Locks. These keys are located at the base of each column on the keyboard and enable an operator to lock keys depressed in individual columns. These are a protective lock against unintentional clearance and enable the operator to set up and lock constant divisors.
15. Dial Twirlers. Individual dial twirlers enable an operator to enter values directly into the upper dials without disturbing values which are set or locked on the keyboard.
16. Grand Totals. The Model ACG is equipped with two keys located directly below the multiplier unit which are known as negative and positive transfer keys. When a product or a total has been obtained in the upper dials, a touch of the transfer keys automatically transfers the product and/or total to a grand total in the lower dials. If a discount is to be taken from the grand total, the discount multiplication is made with the product appearing in the upper dials. A touch of the negative transfer key automatically subtracts the discount from the grand total.
17. Selective automatic half-cent adjustments. Six of the upper dials are so constructed that an automatic five can be locked in the dial so that each time the dials are cleared the five will automatically reappear. This enables an operator to set five mills to the right of the cents figure in the product and when the mills equal five or more, they automatically add to the cent at the left. Therefore, in the transfer of products to grand totals, the operator need not make any half-cent adjustments as these are completely automatic.
18. Fully automatic Square Root - Model SRW. This model is equipped with a mechanism that enables an operator to set a value on the keyboard and a touch of the square root control key in the proper column automatically produces in the lower dials the square root of this value automatically pointed off. The square root will clear automatically from the keyboard when the add key is down.
When the add key is up, the square root remains in the keyboard section for a second extraction of square root without resetting on the keyboard. It is also instantly available to be multiplied, divided, added or subtracted without resetting.
Square root control keys are located between each column of keys and starting with zero on the left are numbered in pairs from 9 to 5. When the radicand is set on the keyboard, the square root key in the column at which the decimal point would appear is used, and the number on this key indicates the number of the decimal position of the square root which will appear in the lower dials.
The First Streamlined Calculator
Carl Friden was one of the first office appliance manufacturers to realize that an office machine can be beautiful as well as useful. As the first fully automatic Model "S" was being prepared for manufacture, Mr, Friden issued orders that the Model "S" be streamlined, and the result was a streamlined calculator with a soft gray finish which, combined with neutral tones of green for the key tops and chrome plated ornaments on the corners, made this calculator an outstandingly beautiful office machine.
Prior to the advent of this streamlined Friden Calculator, it was standard practice to finish allcalculators, adding machines, typewriters, and other office appliances in either a black or dark green enamel, but little effort was made to soften the lines of the various machines.
The first streamlined Friden Model S" appeared at the national business show held at New York in October, 1938, and we are proud of the fact that the office appliance manufacturers immediately followed the lead of Carl Friden by redesigning and streamlining their covers, and adopting the soft gray finish for their machines.
The Friden Fully Automatic Calculator Model STW
During World War II, the Company, with all other office appliance manufacturers, was restricted in calculator production and the use of skilled personnel in the Experimental and Research Departments, so far as calculator improvements were concerned.
At the close of the war, when the restrictive orders were removed, the company immediately followed through with its original plans to develop and market a vastly improved calculator to take the place of the Supermatic Models "S" and "ST." In the Fall of 1949, the Company displayed at the New York Business Show, for the first time, the completely automatic Model STW. On this machine the covers were streamlined and the ornaments were no longer used. In order to reduce the eyestrain for the operator, the STW appeared in a taupe finish with a combination of brown control keys with brown and light gray keyboard and multiplier keys. This color combination and finish reduces the eyestrain caused by the reflection of light, and again the Company has produced an outstandingly beautiful machine.
In addition to its beauty, the designers, who kept the operator in mind at all times, reduced the resistance of all keys, including the control keys, so that a mere touch is all that is required to start and complete any calculation. Incidentally, the Friden taupe finish started another color trend among the office appliance manufacturers,
World Wide Sales and Service
In the Fall of 1953, the Friden Calculating Machine Co. has sales and service offices or distributors in over 320 cities in the United States and Canada. Throughout the balance of the world there are approximately 150 fully equipped distributors who specialize in the sale of Friden calculators.
All Friden offices and distributors have factory trained servicemen who are capable of rendering service on any of the models that have been manufactured by the Company. The larger agencies in Canada and in other parts of the world have sent their servicemen to the Friden factory where they spend several months in learning how to service the various models, and these highly trained experts train servicemen for other Friden distributors when they return to their own country. The result is a very efficient, highly trained world wide service organization that can take care of any mechanical adjustments or repairs when required.
Friden salesmen are a highly trained group of men who are constantly making a thorough study of the figure work to be found in each line of business, and who are constantly studying ways and means to make the Friden Fully Automatic Calculator more useful in all lines of business.
By making the Friden Fully Automatic Calculator so useful to business as a whole, the Friden Sales Force has created a volume of business which today requires the huge factory and manufacturing facilities which are described in another article.