Since only nine of the original Pascalines are known to have survived there has been some incentive to build replicas, of which a small number now exist. As discussed below, “replica” is an all-encompassing term, but different “replicas” may have been produced with rather different objectives in mind and with attention to replication of different aspects, from seeking to replicate every feature to create a “clone” of a surviving machine, to replicating only the essential principles of the machine as are available from historical descriptions (which elsewhere I sometimes refer to as “Exemplars”). As will be seen below, the line between a replica of an existing machine, a model which looks rather like existing machines but differs in some respects (and thus could instead stand for a newly discovered Pascaline) and an exemplar (which is clearly not a copy of any existing machine) is not always very clear.

The following photo of the inner workings of the Marguerite Perrier Pascaline, (from above, face plate removed) and the well-preserved Louis Pascal Pascaline (from below, open bottom access flap) can be used for comparison of the internal mechanisms of the replicas.

PA Marguerite PMech PA LouisP-PMech

(Click on photos to enlarge)

1. Exemplar/Replicas by Roberto Guatelli.

Some Pascaline models such as those by Roberto Guatelli, are designed to give the appearance, as close as possible of surviving Pascalines but nevertheless are not exactly similar to any surviving machine.

  • Canada Science and Technology Museum exemplar/replica by M. Guatelli
    This eight wheel surveying machine seems closest to the originals in the IBM and Léon Parcé collections. Roberto Guatelli, was a well known maker of historical replicas of mathematical instruments, recreating his vision of a machine in a Leonardo da Vinci manuscript (probably not a calculator), as well as a Babbage replica. He constructed several replicas of Pascalines including the one below, and similar machines now in the Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia “Leonardo da Vinci” in Milano (1940–60),1 as well as contributing to the construction of a replica for IBM (1960s).2

PAR Guatelli CanadaSTM PAR Guatelli CanadaSTM4

  • Exemplar/Replica auctioned by Philip Weiss in New York in 2009
    This exemplar/replica was auctioned with a catalogue description which left open the possibility that it might be a discovered original Pascaline.3 It achieved a sale price of $US22,420 (including buyer’s premium).4 Inspection of its internal mechanism belies the possibility it was an original. It has the look of the other known replica by Guatelli but its provenance remains to be conclusively established.
PAR IBM1 1 PAR IBM1 NY2009 2

3. Replica by Ernest Rognon.

A replica of the Queen of Sweeden Pascaline was constructed by clock maker and CNAM employee, Ernest Rognon, in 1926. One again this replicates the external detail of that machine with considerable fidelity, although the finish of the replica, now in the Science Museum, London, is rather different to the original machine which has been cleaned to a high polish and is now displayed in CNAM.

  • Science Museum, London replica of the Queen of Sweden Pascaline by Ernest Rognon, 19265
PAR Guatelli LondonSM

4. Replicas commissioned by IBM

IBM possesses in its collection one of the surviving original Pascalines - the eight wheel machine on which the Guatelli replica appears to be based. However, IBM also commissioned the construction of one or more replicas of the Queen of Sweden machine.

  • IBM Replica shown at the Bargoin museum in 1981.
    This machine is a close copy (externally at least) of the Queen of Sweden machine. Nevertheless, as Valéry Monnier, in Paris, points out: “There is however one element that keeps them apart; this is the typographic characters engraved on the ruler, they are totally different on the CNAM machine where the writing is thinner and less well centered. By contrast, on the IBM replica, the characters are thicker and, most of all, perfectly centered. “6
PAR IBM Bargoin PAR IBM Bargoin2

  • Replica auctioned by Breker in Germany in 2013
    An almost identical replica to the IBM replica shown at Bargoin was auctioned by Auction Team Breker in May 2013. Originally presented as a surviving original Pascaline, Valéry Monnier raised serious questions over its authenticity, and later Breker itself commissioned an appraisal including spectral analysis which demonstrated the brass to be C20, screws to be of modern pitch, which amongst other matters raised by Monnier not only demonstrated it to be a replica, but most likely another of the replicas created by the craftspeople who built the other two replicas for IBM.7 Note that as a few of the lantern gear teeth are missing this replica would not be particularly functional. With an estimated value of €25,000 - €40,000 it sold at auction for €31,971 - approximately $US 42,000 - (including buyer’s premium).
PAR IBM2 Breker PAR IBM2 Breker2

5. Jan Meyer’s Working Exemplar and subsequent Replica.

  • Working Exemplar of a Pascaline by Jan Meyer (2011)
    This working exemplar of a Pascaline, one of which is held in Collection Calculant, was not intended to replicate a particular surviving Pascaline in every detail. The objective of Jan Meyer in his ‘recreation’ of the Pascaline was to demonstrate that if the known intentions of Pascal, as revealed in early diagrams of the mechanism, and as expressed in the surviving machines, is recreated with the aid of modern tools, then the resulting machine will carry out the functions designed by Pascal with perfect reliability.
Meyer created four of these machines in 2011 fashioned from brass throughout (with the exception of in character small steel locking pins) and a mahogany base, complete with a stylus turned from very dense grenadilla wood. The maker applied techniques of the time (such as riveting, pressing, and wedging) with all brass parts burnished to achieve an age-appropriate surface. The attention to detail, including decoration of internal parts, is of a quality consistent with the artisanship applied to the original Pascalines, many of which were destined for the cabinets of the nobility. Whilst not modelled on any particular machine, Meyer’s design is similar to, and shows features from both the Queen of Sweden scientific Pascaline, whilst in its beautifully finished elegant simplicity also emulates the look, to an extent of the Tardive six wheel accounting Pascaline. More on the Meyer replica in this collection can be seen here.
PAR Meyer PAR Meyer2

  • Replica of the “Queen of Poland” Pascaline (Dresden) by Jan Meyer (2011)
    This is a working replica of the “Queen of Poland” Pascaline (the original of which is now held in Dresden). It was created by Meyer in 2017 utilising all the experience he had gained in constructing his working exemplar some six years earlier. This accounting machine, with 10 interacting input wheels (and corresponding output windows), was capable of adding and subtracting large sums of money. In fashioning this replica Jan Meyer drew upon his extensive experience in building his earlier working exemplar, also held in this collection. This enabled him to work even more finely, also constructing the internal mechanism to a much closer tolerance. The resulting “Queen of Poland” Pascaline has been fashioned with great dedication and craftsmanship entirely from brass and mahogany.
This time Jan Meyer, as opposed to his earlier working Pascaline exemplar, was able to actually get detail of the actual machine at Dresden. As he wrote at the time “The Pascaline has now, after the experience with the construction of the first, a completely different impression to me. I know every part, since I have had it in my hands hundreds of times. So I can at first attempt recognize the differences to my replica. In summary, one can say that everything is more fine and delicate than on my replica. For example, the engravings. I have made many close-ups, so I can do a much better job this time.”
The replica is shown below (left) with the original for comparison (right). Note that the Pascaline in Dresden has been inexpertly repaired at the position for Solz with an input star with 10 spokes instead of 20 as would be required. Following confirmation by the museum of this mistake Myer used a star with 20 spokes. At least in this sense, this replica may be more accurate than the surviving machine!
PAD 1 PA Dresden

6. Replicas by Pierre Charrier, Clermont-Ferrand, France

Pierre Charrier lives outside Clermont-Ferrand, the place where Blaise Pascal developed his Pascaline.8 The local Muséum Henri Lecoq has two original surviving Pascalines in its collection. Charrier has produced a limited number of Pascaline replicas which seem to be based in part on the 5 wheel accounting Pacaline, the Machine du Chevalier Durant-Pascal, but allowing some simplifications and changes.

  • Replicas by Pierre Charrier

Charrier’s replicas are scientific machines (with no special provision for the currency denominations) and also lack the small intermediate work dials of the original. There is also some additional decoration, more along the lines of the Queen of Sweden machine. Internally the mechanism, rather than seeking to replicate the finely hand-worked brass internals of the originals, relies more on standard hardware resulting in a robust set of modern more easily machine reproduced steel components which by all accounts work well. The calculators have been built with considerable dedication and are celebrated by the Clermont-Ferrand community.

PAR Charrier PAR Charrier2

7. Mechanism Demonstration Replica, CNAM, Paris, France

A final very legitimate reasons for building replicas is to make explicit the innovations in the Pascaline mechanism. This replica is made with a perspex case to demonstrate, in particular, the sophisticated carry mechanism which Blaise Pascal devised.

PAR CNAMmodel PAR CNAMmodel2

For more on the Pascaline mechanism >>.

1, viewed 20 June 2013]] (↑)

2, viewed 26 May 2013 (↑)

3 “Great example of a Pascaline Mechanical Calculator. Made for adding currency… As of the typing of this catalog, research is still being done in order to more accurately date this instrument.” (↑)

4, viewed 13 Feb 2012 (↑)

5, viewed 21 Jun 2013 (↑)

6, op. cit.. The pictures of this machine are from an account by Guy Mourlevat - Les machines arithmétiques de Blaise Pascal, La Française d’Edition et d’Imprimerie, Clermont-Ferrand, 1988, exhibited also on this webste. (↑)

7 [] and catalogue amendment by Auction Team Breker, May 2013. (↑)

8 See for example, the description and resources provided by Yves Serra in his excellent web page, viewed 26 May 2013 (↑)

Pages linked to this page

Creative Commons License This work by Jim Falk is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License Click on the logo to the left to see the terms on which you can use it.

Page last modified on 17 May 2017