Burroughs adding machine

Over a century ago Burroughs were the biggest name in 'adding machines'. These days they're better known for the grandson of their inventor, author William S. Burroughs, who was one of the most "culturally influential and innovative artists of the 20th century".

The family fortune ensured he received a Harvard education but activities like heroin and homosexuality led him to associate with Beat Generation writers and '60s counterculture, while collaborations with bands like Nirvana showed his continuing influence up to his death in 1997.

The 'cut-up' technique made popular by Burroughs remains potent, with musicians like Beck and Radiohead using it to great effect. Pretty cool story for a calculator, hey? Gave me a thrill when I found one at Griffith Pioneer Park Museum.