By means of our [Davidson partnered with Edwin J. Dowling in this patent application] invention, the operator is relieved of the necessity of operating a separate set of keys to record the fees, and is also relieved of the necessity of bearing in mind the fee charges for the various amounts, and if the proper keys are depressed for recording the principal amounts, on the faces of the orders, the fees are automatically recorded and no discrepancy can occur between the figures representing the principal amounts and the figures representing the fees (Patent Affidavit, Davidson Papers, 25-1, folder 18).

     Davidson engaged in a two-year correspondence with the Burroughs Adding Machine Company and the Connecticut Computing Machine Company, beginning in 1909, in an effort to promote his inventions. In letters addressed to Davidson, Clerk in Charge of Adding Machines, the Superintendent of Inventions for Burroughs Adding Machines seemed interested in Davidsonís invention that would automatically record money order fees, although he questioned its practicality (1909 letter).

     In an incomplete, handwritten document, Davidson recounts the circumstances under which he conceived of his adding machine inventions, and his dealings, first with his supervisor, then with the adding machine manufacturer:

     In the Spring and Summer of 1906, I conceived an idea . . . [see description above]. This effort and plan was heartily seconded by Mr. Allen to whom I had confided. Upon the invitation of the Burroughs Adding Machine Co., the Office sanctioned the plan of having me go to the factory at Detroit to study the adding machine for the purpose of expediting repairs in the Office. During my stay, I personally explained to the Foreman of the factory the idea of my automatic device....


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February 2001