Dorr E. Felt
|Born||Dorr Eugene Felt
March 18, 1862
Newark, Wisconsin, U.S.
|Died||August 7, 1930
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Agnes McNulty (m. 1891)|
|Parents||Eugene Kincaid Felt
Elizabeth (Morris) Felt
Dorr Eugene Felt (1862–1930) was an American inventor and industrialist who was known for having invented the Comptometer, an early computing device, and the Comptograph, the first printing adding machine. The Felt & Tarrant Manufacturing Company that he co-founded with Robert Tarrant on January 25, 1889 remained a major player in the calculator industry until the mid-1970s.
At 18, he started to learn French and eventually spoke it fluently.
During the US Thanksgiving holidays of 1884 he decided to build the prototype of a new calculating machine that he had invented. Because of his limited amount of money, he used a macaroni box for the outside box, and skewers, staples and rubber bands for the mechanism inside. It was finished soon after New Year's Day, 1885.
Felt brought his idea to Chicago businessman Robert Tarrant. They signed a partnership contract on November 28, 1887, and incorporated the Felt & Tarrant Manufacturing Company on January 25, 1889. Felt later went on to invent more devices and acquired 46 domestic patents and 25 foreign ones. The original macaroni box prototype and the first Comptograph ever sold are now part of the Smithsonian Museum collection of antique calculators.
He was married to Agnes McNulty in 1891 and the couple had four daughters together.
Dorr Felt also was the first ambassador for the Department of Commerce formed to study labor abroad after World War I. He was an excellent photographer, and many of his war-time and post-war time photos were used by the government. Dorr traveled the world and loved learning.
Dorr E. Felt died of a stroke in Chicago on August 7, 1930. He was 68 years old.
- W.W. Johnson, "Scars on My Hands: The Life of Dorr Eugene Felt, Inventor and Industrialist," (unpublished), Schmidt Collection, Mathematics, NMAH.
- Comptometer website
- World of Computer Science
- 1918 Biographical Sketch
- Wisconsin Biographies
- Detroit in its world setting; a 250-year chronology, 1701-1951. Detroit Public Library. 1953. p. 168. Retrieved 2009-12-07.
- J. Turk, p. 75 (1921)
- Felt and Allied Families, p. 12 (1921)
- Papers in Illinois, p.66 (1922)
- J. Turk, p. 55 (1921)
- G.C. Chase, p. 223 (1980)
- J. Turk, p. 119 (1921)
- The Felt Estate Retrieved 2010-10-03
Books by Felt 
- Felt, Dorr E. (1916). Mechanical arithmetic, or The history of the counting machine. Chicago: Washington Institute.
- Felt, Dorr E.; Holman, Alfred L. (1921). A register of the ancestors of Dorr Eugene Felt and Agnes (McNulty) Felt. Chicago: Priv. print. for D. E. Felt.
Other books 
- Turck, J.A.V. (1921). Origin of modern calculating machines. The western society of engineers.
- Meyer, Patricia. The Felt Mansion: A Story of Restoration. Laketown Township, Michigan.
- Chase, G.C. (July 1980). History of Mechanical Computing Machinery. IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, Volume 2, Number 3. Arlington, VA: The American Federation of Information Processing Societies.
- Papers in Illinois history and transactions. Illinois State Historical Society. Springfield. 1922. Retrieved 2009-12-07.