The History of James L. Dalton and The Dalton Adding Machine Company


Researched, Complied & edited from the World Wide Web by Rodney G. Dalton


This article was inspired by a Daltons in History, Volume 10 No 12, December 2007 article.



 The Dalton Adding Machine was introduced in 1903


The Dalton Adding Machine was the first ten key adding machine. It went on to become one of the most popular 10 key adders of the time. Earlier models had glass inserts to allow customers to view the gears actually calculating the answers. By the 1920's over 150 models of Dalton Adding Machines had been designed.


In 1903, a man named Joseph Boyer secretly enters into an agreement to acquire the Addograph Manufacturing Company, whose director is Hubert Hopkins. The name Hopkins later becomes famous for the Moon–Hopkins machine. James L. Dalton, president of the Addograph Company, formed the Adding Typewriter Company that same year. It was later called the Dalton Adding Machine Company.


In 1914 the Dalton Adding Machine Company moves from Poplar Creek, Missouri to Norwood—at 4923 Beech Avenue between Norwood Avenue and Highland Avenue (later, the location of The Day Company and currently Rumpke). The company was formed in St. Louis in August, 1903, by James L. Dalton as the Adding Typewriter Company.



Origin of the Dalton Adding Machine

James Lewis Dalton, sometimes known as the inventor, but also known as the patentee and marketer of the adding machine. He was the son of Elijah Dalton Sr., son of John Elijah and Susan Sebastian Dalton who came to S.E. Missouri in 1812 from KY and left many descendents in Arkansas. James Lewis or "Jimmie" was born 28 Dec 1866 and was educated at the Lacrosse Collegiate Institute in Izard County, AR. In 1880 at age 14, he was living with his re-married mother, Mary Caroline Myatt/Dalton Arnold and her second husband Asebel (Asel) Arnold. He made an exact model of his mother's sewing machine in wood, it worked, his first little factory was built in Poplar Bluffs, Missouri.


The patent for the adding machine is dated 11 April 1904 and deposition to James L. Dalton, 20 Apr. 1904, Patent Applications, National Archives, College Park, Maryland. There is conflicting information on who invented the machine, but there is certainty that James Lewis patented the machine and marketed it and successive models internationally. From his headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio the business grew to a $10,000,000 operation


James was a respected member of the Republican Party and was elected to the State Legislature from Butler County, MO. He apparently was the investor/manufacturer/marketer of the adding machine and not the inventor. He moved the Dalton Adding machine Company from Poplar Bluff, MO to Cincinnati in 1914 and the company was bought out by Remington Rand in 1926. Carolyn is fortunate to have one of the machines, the same model as pictured. James Lewis' House in Poplar Bluff is on the Register of Historic Places, and currently houses a regional art museum. He is buried in Poplar Bluff.



Before we tell the story about James L. Dalton, here is a history of his family


Published 1946 - 1947


The Dalton family of Randolph county, Arkansas, and Ripley county, Missouri, is descended from one John Dalton who is reputed to have been born in Ireland, and came to the United States about 1760, settling first, with others of the same name, on the present site of Dalton, Georgia. The city was named for his family. From here he entered the Colonial Army and fought in the Revolution. After the close of the war he moved to North Carolina, and in a short time moved up to Virginia. After staying there for a while he removed to Kentucky and then, about 1809 he moved to Madison county, Missouri. Later he moved down into Ripley county, Missouri. Here he spent the balance of his life.


The place where John Dalton settled about 1812, was at what is now known as the old "Dalton Mill" ford on the south fork of Fourche Dumas creek in Union township, Ripley county, Missouri, where the old Warm Springs-Doniphan road crosses the creek. John Dalton and other members of his family lie buried out in the middle of the bottom field, northwest of the ford.


John Dalton, whose wife's name we do not know, was the father of eight children. Their names were: William, John P. (always called Jack), Elijah, David, Lewis, Sally, Maria and Dinah. Of these eight children we know very little except Elijah, Jack, David and Maria.


Elijah married Zillah Gaines, Feb. 9, 1832. They became the parents of seven children, William, James, Lewis, Elijah, Zimriah, Zilpha, and Levi.


The second wife of Elijah Dalton was Elizabeth Stubblefield, whom he married in 1859. They had one child, Joseph. The last wife of Elijah Dalton was Margaret Johnson, whom he married in 1869.


John P. (Jack), wife's name not known, was the father of 10 children. Their names were: Adam, Ferguson (called Forg.), Oliver, Isham, Elijah, John, Zillah, Sally, Lively and Nancy.


Maria married Jim Keel. They reared a family near Greenville, Mo., and one of her sons, Jack, married Martha Johnston, a daughter of Lewis B. Johnston.


David Dalton, son of the original John, was born in Kentucky, as were his brothers Jack and Elijah, and came to Ripley county, Missouri, with his parents about 1812. He married Priscilla Dennis of Greenville, Missouri, in 1826. He died in 1859 and his wife died in 1857. They were the parents of the following children: Elijah, David, Priscilla who married John Bond, she and David were twins; Sarah, who married George Matney; Susanne, who married William Cross; Nancy, who married Harrison Davis, and Ruth, who married James Parker.


Of the children of the first Elijah named above, the best known in this section were William, Lewis, Levi and Joseph.


William, born May 30, 1834, died September 7, 1878, married Caroline Myatt. They were the parents of the following children: Zilpha, who married Thomas D. Mock; Zillah, who married Jeff Stubbefield; Rufus C.; Zimriah; Mary Elizabeth, who died in infancy; James L. (the inventor of the Dalton adding machine); Sarah P., who married Ben F. Spikes; Lively A., who married Thomas H. Wells; and Ascenith, who died young. William was the first postmaster of Dalton, Arkansas.


Lewis Dalton, who married Sarah A. Stubblefield in 1860, was the father of two children, Elijah who resided in Pocahontas many years, (and who is the father of Mrs. Lucien Sloan, and two sons, Mack and Lewis), and one daughter, Ascenith, who married Dr. J. W. Dalton.


Levi Dalton was a resident of Doniphan, Ripley county, many years but later moved to Texas. He also resided at Ponder in the same county a number of years.


The youngest son of Elijah Dalton was Joseph, who first married a Miss Ponder and later married Nora McIlroy (who had formerly married James Dalton who died). He spent his entire life on the old homestead near Ponder, Ripley county, Missouri. This is a brief listing of the descendants of Elijah Dalton the son of the original John Dalton.


Of the children of David Dalton, who was a son of the original John, named above, there were (already named above) the daughters whose families moved to Texas many years ago, except James Parker's family. Two sons of Ruth Dalton Parker are now living. Harrison at Reyno and David at Success. John died during the Civil War. Elijah, who resided at Warm Springs many years was the father of the following children, (he married Grace Jane Head); John C., Nancy, who married William T. Stubblefield; James, who married Nora McIlroy; Mary, who married William T. McIlroy; Malissa, who married William A. Holt, and Rufus and Elijah A.


The other son of David, (son of the original John) was named David. David married Christiana Everett and they became the parents of four children. They were William, Susuan, who married Byron Murphy; Martha P., who married Noah Phillips, and Elijah F. (this Elijah Dalton is the father of the writer of this article). David's second marriage was to Rachel Young. Their children, who grew to adulthood were Joseph, Ida, Maud, Myrtle, and Fred. Joseph married Dilla Grissom; Ida married Harry Irvine; Maud married Eld. John H Harper; Myrtle married James Garrett and Fred married Mary Garrett.


John P. (Jack) Dalton, son of the original John, named above was the father of 10 children, as already stated. Of these 10 children we have the following information: One of the sons, Ferguson, called "Forg", was the father of Dr. J. W. Dalton, who married Ascenith, the daughter of Lewis Dalton. One of Jack Dalton's daughters married Dr. Greenwood. Her name was Zillah. Another daughter, Sally, married Robert Pacton, Jack Dalton had a son, John, who reared a large family. Three of his sons are now living at Patton, Mo. Their names are John, Levi and Albert.


The above is a brief description which touches the high spots of the large Dalton family which came to Ripley county, Missouri, in 1812. The family is very widely scattered at this date. Different "branches" of the family of the original John Dalton are now located in Randolph county, Arkansas, Ripley, and other counties of Missouri, in Oklahoma, Texas, and many other states.


As stated above, John Dalton settled on Fourche creek in Union township, Ripley county, Missouri. His son Elijah settled farther north on the north fork of this same creek. This farm is still owned by the grandsons. David, another son, settled a few miles south of his father, near the state line on Dry creek, a tributary of Fourche. The other son, named above, John P. "Jack", lived awhile in this section but reared his family in the vicinity of Fredericktown and Greenville, Missouri, as did his sister, Maria Keel. Possibly several years were spent by both the latter at each location.


The reader will note that there have been many sons and daughters of the Dalton family with the same name. This makes it difficult to present a clear picture of the various branches of the family tree. As is noted there has been Elijahs, Davids, Williams, Zilphias and Johns in almost every individual family for seven generations, to say nothing of the duplications of James, Lewis, Joseph, etc.


This article is a rough summary of the family of the writer. Individual articles are also included in this book, which give further details of certain families within this one great family. This is true of the writerÕs family and others. The article in this book which include some member of the Dalton family in their family are: Elijah F. Dalton family; James L. Dalton, inventor; the William Tipton Stubblefield-Nancy Dalton Stubblefield family; the John Lamb family; the Spikes family; the Marlette family; the W. L.. "Fayette" Mock family; the A. F. Rickman family, and the Holt family.



James L. Dalton - Inventor

 James L. Dalton was born near Ponder, Ripley county, Missouri, December 28, 1866, and died in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, January 10, 1926. He married Clara B. Wright of Doniphan, Missouri, sister of the late Thomas and Joseph Wright, Sr.


To his union was born the following children: Charles, who married Ethel Morrison. They had two children, Clara Alice and Mary Jeane. Charles died in 1924. Grover W., who married Francis Burke. They have two children, James L. Dalton, Jr., and Richard; Phoebe, who is not married, and Mary, who married Lincoln Hinrichs.


Grover and his sisters live in Poplar Bluff. He is a well-known business man and the state chairman of the Republican party in Missouri at present.


The parents of James L. Dalton were William M. Dalton and Mary Caroline Myatt, natives of Ripley county, Missouri. William Dalton was born May 30, 1834 and died September 7, 1878. His wife was born October 9, 1838 and died April 12, 1890.


William Dalton was a son of Elijah Dalton, who was a son of John Dalton who settled in southern Ripley county, Missouri, about 1812. A complete list of the Dalton family is included in this book.


The brothers and sisters of James L. Dalton (our subject) were: Zilpha, who married Thomas D. Mock; Zillah who married Jeff Stubblefield; Rufus C, still living at Doniphan, Missouri; Zimriah, who drowned at age 14; Mary Elizabeth, who also died in infancy; Sarah P., who married Ben F. Spikes; Lively A., who married Thomas H. Wells. Mrs. Spikes and Mrs. Wells are living in Pocahontas at present; Ascenith, who died when 11 years of age, and two half-sisters, Dora Arnold, who married Ervin Reynolds, and Ida Belle Arnold, who married Andrew Conner. Mrs. Reynolds lives near Elm Store.


The life story of James L. Dalton would be appropriate subject matter for a Horatio Alger story. He rose from the position of a practically uneducated backwoods boy to become the owner of the largest department store in the Middle West and head of one of the world's largest business machine manufacturing plants, devoted to the manufacture of the Dalton Adding and Calculating Machine, of which he was inventor.


When a small child, living with his mother and other children he was constantly engaged in experimenting with machinery. His father died when James L., was 12 years of age. An older member of the family once said that James was "all the time fooling with wheels." His mother bought a sewing machine about this time and the boy made an exact copy of it of wood, and it would sew.


The year he was 18 he decided to go forth into the world and seek his fortune. With $60 which he obtained from a bale of cotton which he grew in the hills of what is now Baker township, Randolph county, he set forth. He first went to St. Louis. Finding no job he went on to Chicago. Finding nothing to his liking he came back to St. Louis where he obtained a job in the old William Barr Dry Goods Company at a salary of $5 per week. This was in 1884. After working there a short time he came back to Doniphan, where he went to work in a hardware store of his future wife's relatives at $12 per month and board. He was soon made a partner and later became sole owner. He built this business up to where he saw greater possibilities in the larger town of Poplar Bluff, to which town he moved. It grew to be the largest department store in the whole Midwest and one year the retail sales reached $765,000.


All the time he was building this great store business he was still thinking about "wheels." Observing that the adding machines of that period were complicated arrangement of keys and other cumbersome contraptions, James L. Dalton there decided that he would build a better one!


Mr. Dalton turned the store over to his son and others and devoted his entire time to the adding machine. He once stated that during this time he was "president, general manager, factory manager, timekeeper, paymaster, bookkeeper and chief salesman." The first factory was in a side room and Mr. Dalton said that during that period the three or four mechanics who built the first machines watched him leave on a sales trip with great interest, because, as he said, "if I didn't make a sale they didn't get paid." But after a few years, aided with the capital of friends, and a refusal to become discouraged and quit, success came his way. The machine began to sell on the market and 200 sales offices were ultimately opened up in different parts of the world, and sales ran up to $1,000,000 worth a month. The job had been done.


Besides being a merchant of great success and prominence and an internationally known inventor and manufacturer, he became a brilliant speaker and writer. Hearst's Magazine published a feature article on the life of James L. Dalton many years ago, in which the feature writer stated that, "Although he was never in his life taught to 'parse' a sentence, he is now a brilliant speaker and writer, the recipient of requests from leading chambers of commerce and other civic clubs throughout the country to address their conventions and banquets."


Mr. Dalton was identified with many civic and fraternal bodies and always took great interest in the affairs of business and the state.


At the age of 22, while living in Doniphan he was elected Master of the Masonic Lodge. At 26 he was District Deputy Grand Master of the State of Missouri.


He was the first Republican ever elected to the State Legislature of Missouri from Ripley county.


James L. Dalton, although not a highly educated man, had a fair education. Some feature writers, who "wrote up" his life after he became prominent, seemed to desire to leave the impression that he was unlearned. This was not true. He attended the country schools near his home. Some of these schools were at Bakerden, Warm Springs, Doniphan and at Dalton. He also attended the old La Crosse Institute at La Crosse in Izard County. He and his brothers and sisters would cross Elevenpoint river in a "dugout" canoe when they attended school in Dalton. His teacher at Bakerden was Prof. William Thomas. Later Mr. Dalton taught school for a time at Dalton, Bakerden, and seven months at Elm Store, assisted by his sister, Neeta.


All this was before he went forth into the outside world to make a name for himself and to bring honor not only to himself but his homeland as well.


A photograph at the Dalton Adding Machine Factory was carried in a number of national weeklies during the days when Mr. Dalton was actively at its head in Poplar Bluff, and the caption under the picture stated "This is the industry which has carried the name of Poplar Bluff around the Globe."


Such is a condensed story of the life of a typical Ozark mountain lad who hailed from that part of our great nation known as Randolph county, Arkansas and Ripley county, Missouri, to become the best known citizen who has ever called this section home.


James L. Dalton was not only a great businessman; he was also a great friend to many and a neighbor to all who lived near him. He was proud of his home, his family and his native country.


In 1913 he came back to the land of his childhood and staged a big family reunion, to be held at the home of his sister, Mrs. Thomas H. Wells, near the town of Dalton. Here assembled at the invitation of James L. Dalton, a total of 257 Daltons who represented his kinsmen in this section. The invitation cards, which he sent out, stated: "All Daltons, Daltons' relatives and prospective Daltons were invited to attend." Those two days, July 2 and 3, in the year of 1913 were happy days in the memory of this family.


(The author of this history remembers with pleasure this occasion, which we attended, together with our grandfather, grandmother, father, mother, and other members of our family. I was then 12 years of age and took my first auto ride there in a "shiny 1912 model Ford" which belonged to Joseph Wright of Doniphan, the only automobile there those two days!)



Biography of James L. Dalton

One of Poplar Bluff's most successful business men was the late James L. Dalton who progressed from $12 a month clerk in a hardware store to the presidency of the Dalton Adding Machine Company, a $10,000,000 concern manufacturing upwards of 60,000 machines a year, during his lifetime.


J. L. Dalton was born on a Ripley county farm on December 29, 1866, the son of William Marion and Mary Carolina Dalton. He left home at 14 to attend high school at Warm Springs [Randolph Co.], Arkansas and at the age of 16 taught a small school near his home for one year before obtaining employment as a clerk in the hardware store of J. R. Wright at Doniphan.


Although Mr. Dalton had many interesting experiences while working at Doniphan and learned much about the store, his business career did not really begin until three years later when he became manager of the hardware store owned by E. W. And J. R. Wright in Poplar Bluff in 1885. After a few months as manager of the business he bought a half interest in the concern, which then became know as the Wright and Dalton store. In October of 1887 he married Miss Clara Wright, a sister of J. R. Wright. In his only effort to seek public office, Mr. Dalton was elected to the Missouri legislature by a large majority of votes in 1900. The Wright-Dalton store flourished under Mr. Dalton's dynamic personality and commercial genius, especially during the depression of 1893, one of the worst in history. A year before that depression, Dalton erected a four story building at Main and Poplar streets and organized the Wright-Dalton-Bell- Anchor department store, a merchandising business that ran up to $750,000 a year with a sales force of 125 persons and 20 delivery wagons. At that time, Poplar Bluff had a population of 7000 persons.


Folks thought that Jim Dalton had struck his lifeÕsÕ work when he assumed management of the W-D-B-A store. Mr. Dalton thought so himself and no part of his future plans included dropping his own splendid merchandising business in order to incubate a new-born adding machine venture, into which he put some money purely as a secondary investment. Yet that is exactly what he did and he did it through loyalty to friends who had invested not in the machine but, as one of them put it, in Dalton himself.


A friend named Hopkins in St. Louis invented the machine and persuaded Mr. Dalton to help finance its manufacture. Mr. Dalton invested some money in the venture and manufacture started in a building at the northeast corner of Main and Pine street.


In 1904 Mr. Dalton became president of the Dalton Adding Machine Company, although he did not relinquish his manager ship of the W-D-B-A store company until 1908 when affairs of the manufacturing concern required his full time. He appointed John Berryman as manager of the department store, although he retained controlling interest in the concern.


Mr. Dalton tackled the problems of the adding machine company with the same vigor he had put in his merchandising ventures, always working at least 14, and sometimes more, hours daily. He traveled extensively during his early years with the new concern and became one of the greatest salesmen the nation has ever known. The adding machine company started out with a few die makers as its charter employees but under the guidance of Mr. Dalton grew into a concern with agencies throughout the civilized world employing 2500 persons.


Many a man might consider it humiliating to start out selling adding machines with a heavy sample bag packed under his arm and interviewing the same people whose merchandise purchases had helped swell his former business to the $750,000 mark. Perhaps it was hard but Dalton did it just the same. And his sense of loyalty to friends had furnished the kick that forced him through the difficulty to comparative success.


Finally in 1914 it became necessary to move the factory away from Poplar Bluff to Cincinnati, Ohio, not because Mr. Dalton wanted to take it away from Poplar Bluff but because it was a matter of existence to the concern. Dalton could see that to remain in the small city, the factory would never grow beyond the status it maintained when it was located in the building, which later became the Hamilton-Brown shoe factory and that he could not interest financiers in investing money in the plant while it was in Poplar Bluff in that early day. Mr. Dalton's dreams were realized and the concern flourished in Cincinnati becoming one of the biggest successes the manufacturing world has ever seen. His machine out-classed all others and his line served all business from the smallest retailer to the billion-dollar corporation.


In later years he organized an international distribution system and his machines were sold throughout the world until foreign exports consumed 20 per cent of the output of the immense factory.


Mr. Dalton's dream was a reality at the close of 1925 but the dream was not entirely complete. He had never in life thought of stopping short of supremacy in his career as a leader of men and an organizer of business. While still a young man in appearance and vitality, Mr. Dalton was stricken with acute appendicitis at the age of 59. With his passing on January 11, 1926 not only Poplar Bluff and Cincinnati, but also the entire nation lost a great business builder and a benefactor of mankind. From every corner of the nation and from foreign lands messages of regret and condolence came to the family. Mr. Dalton was returned to Poplar Bluff for burial.


Mr. and Mrs. Dalton were the parents of four children, Grover W. Dalton who resides at 433 North Main Street and Miss Phoebe Dalton and Miss Mary Dalton who reside with Mrs. Dalton at the family home at 421 North Main street and Charles Dalton who died in 1926.


Although Mr. Dalton in his early days in Poplar Bluff spent most of his time in his mercantile business he erected a number of business buildings in the city. He erected the buildings on Broadway from the present location of the Gibbons hotel to the Bramur oil firm headquarters and the large four story building which stood where the Dalton building is now located and the buildings next door continuing south to the Saracini building in addition to the building housing the Stovall store and the present Dalton home on North Main street which was purchased in 1896. All of the Dalton children were born in Poplar Bluff.


As long as time shall last the name of James L. Dalton will be among those illustrious Poplar Bluffians who achieved. During his residence here he was Deputy Grand Master of the Masonic Lodge and Master of the Blue lodge. He was zealous in every worthy civic undertaking and an active member of the Presbyterian church where he was an elder and superintendent of the Bible school for several years.



Notes about James L. Dalton

JAMES L. DALTON (Republican), of Poplar Bluff, was born in 1866, in Ripley County, Mo.; elected to the 41st General Assembly in 1900. Merchant; married.


The Margaret Harwell Art Museum in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, owes its existence to the generosity of its namesake and benefactor, the late Margaret Harwell -- an amateur artist, businesswoman and civic leader. When Mrs. Harwell died in 1977, she left a part of her estate to the City of Poplar Bluff to establish a center for art classes and exhibits. In 1978, an Arts and Museum Advisory Board was formed to take on the task. In 1980, the city purchased the J.L. Dalton home, itself rich in local history and architecture, to house the museum. The Margaret Harwell Art Museum opened to the public in November 1981. Margaret (Morse) Harwell, an only child, was born December 10, 1908, in Patton, Missouri, but moved to Poplar Bluff as a young child. After graduating from Poplar Bluff High School, she attended business school then started an insurance company with her father and was later joined in the business by her husband, Art. Margaret was an active member of the Altrusa Club and the Business and Professional Women organization, a charter member of the Ozark Foothill Council on the Arts and active in the Poplar Bluff Artists Guild, which brought various art exhibits to town and arranged for them to be displayed at local financial institutions. She also served on the Poplar Bluff Public Library Board of Trustees.



Margaret Harwell was extremely friendly and outgoing but modest about her accomplishments and her artistic abilities, according to friends. She never signed her paintings, she had said, because she didn't think they were good enough. Later stricken with cancer, she died at age 69, leaving as her legacy a vital cultural resource for Southeast Missouri


The Dalton home was built in 1883 by Thomas H. Moore and was originally a one-story building. Moore added a second story in 1890. James L. Dalton purchased the home in 1896 and made extensive changes, remodeling the facade and adding a columned portico, curved bay windows, scroll trim and an iron fence. Unique features of the interior include decorative wooden scrollwork above the windows and doorways matching exterior scrollwork, curved glass windows, high ceilings and a beautifully carved stairway with leaded glass panels on its landing. (See other photos of this Moore/Dalton house in the photo section at the end of the text)


Dalton came to Poplar Bluff in 1885 from Ripley County, Missouri. He was married to Clara Wright of Doniphan, Missouri. They had four children: Grover, Charles, Phoebe and Mary. Dalton became one of Poplar Bluff's pioneer merchants and in 1904 became the manufacturer of the country's first ten-key adding machine, two of which are in the MHAM collection. In 1914, Dalton moved his family and his Dalton Adding Machine Co. to Cincinnati, where a larger workforce could help his company expand. They retained the Poplar Bluff home as Grover stayed behind to manage their retail business, the Wright, Dalton, Bell and Anchor department store. Grover later entered politics and became state chairman of the Republican party. James Dalton died in 1926 and his company was sold to Remington-Rand. The home remained in the family until it was sold in 1980 by the Dalton heirs to the City of Poplar Bluff.


The Wright-Dalton-Bell-Anchor Department Store building is located at 201 -205 S. Main Street in Poplar Bluff, Butler County, Missouri. Constructed in 1927-28 after a tornado destroyed much of the town's central business district, this two-part commercial block reflects early 201h century preferences for simplicity in commercial building design. The two-story building is constructed of buff, wire cut brick with classically derived terra cotta embellishments around the storefront and along the cornice line. The primary facade faces east onto South Main and is distinguished by shaped parapets with terra cotta coping and quatrefoil insets and a decorative terra cotta signboard and storefront surround. Though simpler in overall design, the decorative terra cotta cornice and water table continue from the facade onto the north (Poplar Street) elevation. In c. 1947, the F.W. Woolworth Department store moved into the building, and alterations to the interior and storefront were undertaken at this time. Much of this historic alteration remains intact, notably the storefront configuration and many of its historic materials. In more recent years, some of the original windows on the second story have been replaced with smaller units, though many original 111 wood sash windows remain. Overall, the building retains a high degree of integrity and conveys its significance an important department store and commercial property



James L. Dalton and the Wright-Dalton-Bell-Anchor Department Store

The booming economy in Poplar Bluff drew investors from across the region, including James L. Dalton. Dalton came to the city in 1885 from neighboring Ripley County to work as a clerk in the hardware store of J.R. and E.W. Wright. Dalton gained experience working in the Wrights' Doniphan store, and likely moved to Poplar Bluff to help organize and manage the brothers new business that opened in 1886. Dalton became manager of the store and soon bought out the interest of J.R. Wright. Dalton kept close ties with J.R., and married Wright's sister, Clara, in 1887.'Though young when he came to Poplar Bluff, only 19, Dalton apparently had a good deal of business acumen. In 1888, Good speed's History noted that he and his partner had a "large and select stock that filled " a two-story brick block, 36 X 110 feet. By the turn of the century, Wright and Dalton and taken on additional partners and moved into a four-story building on the corner of S. Main and Poplar streets. According to one history, the business now known as the Wright-Dalton-Bell-Anchor Department Store "grossed up to $760,000 a year, with a sales force of 125 persons and 12 delivery wagons."' In discussing his store, Dalton noted:


One of our greatest accomplishments was the bringing into this town a solid train load of 35 cars of merchandise. The general manager of the Missouri Pacific Railroad personally made the trip with this train for a considerable part of the journey and we entered the town with green and red fire and a great demonstration. Though a great deal of history has not been compiled on the store, the size and location of the building' as well as the size of the merchandise shipment indicate that this was one of the largest and most prominent retail stores in Poplar Bluff in the early 20" Century. Though the Wright-Dalton-Bell-Anchor Department Store (often referred to as Dalton Store or the WDBA Store), made Dalton a well-known regional figure, it was his other businesses that brought wide-spread recognition to the Dalton family and to Poplar Bluff. Around 1900, Dalton invested in an invention developed a man named Hopkins of St. Louis, the 10 key adding typewriters. The Dalton Adding Typewriter Company was incorporated in 1903. Its original location was in the Davidson Building on Main and Pine Streets, and employed 25 people. The company soon grew to 100 employees, and moved to a purpose-built factory building along the river front in 1909.


The following was a lawsuit for the Dalton Adding Machine Co. against another Company




(District Court, E. D. Missouri, E. D. March 1, 1915.) No. 4067.


1. Patents—Suit For Infringement—Estoppel To Deny Validity.


In a suit for infringement of a patent against a corporation and two individuals, who organized such corporation while application for the patent was pending, one of whom was the inventor and applicant, and the other of whom had knowledge of the invention and the application, and that the same had been assigned to complainants, all three defendants are estopped to deny the validity of the patent on the ground of anticipation or want of novelty.


In Equity. Suit by the Dalton Adding Machine Company and the Addograph Manufacturing Company against the Moon-Hopkins Billing Machine Company, Jonn C. Moon, president, and Hubert Hopkins, vice president, of said company. On final hearing. Decree for complainants.


Banning & Banning, of Chicago, 111., and Rippey & Kingsland, of St. Louis, Mo., for complainants. Frederick R. Cornwall, of St. Louis, Mo., for defendants.


DYER, District Judge. This is a bill in equity, filed by complainants against defendants, charging infringement of letters patent of the United States, numbered 1,039,130, issued September 24, 1912, to the Addograph Manufacturing Company, and to the complainants as assignees of the defendant Hubert Hopkins. The facts touching the history of this patent are plain, and, as I understand them, well understood and practically undisputed. The invention covered by the patent relates to improvements in adding and writing machines. The facts, as I gather them from the record and the argument of counsel, that led up to and finally culminated in the granting and issuance of the patent, are substantially as follows:


Application for this patent was filed in January, 1903. Its history, however, dates back to a period prior to the filing of the application. In December, 1901, one James L. Dalton was a merchant residing and doing business in Poplar Bluff, Butler county, Mo. Hubert Hopkins and his brother William at that time lived in St. Louis. Hubert Hopkins had theretofore made certain inventions in adding and typewriting machines, and had conveyed a half interest in the same to his brother William. The two were unable to manufacture and put on the market these inventions. In December, 1901, William Hopkins went to Poplar Bluff and there succeeded in interesting James L. Dalton and others of that city in financing the enterprise. The result was that a contract was entered into by and between the Hopkins brothers and Dalton and his associates by which the latter agreed to furnish $2,500—a part of which was to go to the former and a part of it was to be expended in the manufacture of the first machine, so as to demonstrate its practicability. Shortly after this agreement was made the Hopkins brothers built the machine in St. Louis, using a part of the $2,500 for that purpose.


The money provided for by this contract proved insufficient, and a second contract was made and entered into by the same parties on the 28th of June, 1902, according to the terms of which an additional sum of money amounting to $1,250 was put up by Dalton and his associates. In consideration of this sum Hubert and William Hopkins were to assign a half interest in the inventions to a company thereafter to be organized, and in which title to the inventions should be placed. The machine was completed in September, 1902, and is one of the physical exhibits in the case, and is marked "Original Hubert Hopkins Machine." This machine was exhibited in St. Louis in October, 1902. Various persons were invited to inspect it, for the purpose of obtaining further investments in the enterprise.


In December following the complainant the Addograph Manufacturing Company was organized, with a capital of $50,000, divided into 500 shares of $100 each; 249 shares were issued to Hubert Hopkins, and 1 share to his brother William. Thereafter, on the 24th of January, .1903, application for a patent was filed in the Patent Office. Three weeks after this application had been filed, Hubert Hopkins executed an assignment of the application to the Addograph Company. This assignment contained all the inventions claimed in the application. It requested that the patent be issued to the Addograph Company as assignee. Thereafter, on the 24th of September, 1912, the patent was issued, as Hopkins had requested.


It further appears from the evidence in the case that in 1903 Hubert Hopkins sold his stock in the Addograph Company to the American Arithometer Company. This stock, with a few additional shares it had bought, gave it control of the Addograph Company. This left Dalton and his associates in the minority, and practically without voice in its control. It appears that Hubert Hopkins sold his stock for $5,000. To regain control, Dalton and his associates in the name of the Addograph Company had to and did pay to the Burroughs Machine Company (the successor of the American Arithometer Company) the sum of $40,000 for the stock Hopkins had sold for $5,000.


After the transfer of the stock by Hopkins to the American Arithometer Company the Addograph Company made a license contract with James L. Dalton for certain considerations, and a certain royalty to be paid the Addograph Company, giving to Dalton the exclusive right to make and sell the machines. After this there was organized the Adding Typewriter Company, to which Dalton assigned the license contract. After this, to wit, in 1909, the name of the Adding Typewriter Company was changed to the Dalton Adding Machine Company. This latter company thereupon became the exclusive licensee. These facts made it necessary to join the Dalton Company with the Addograph Company as a joint complainant.


From the facts above stated it is claimed by the complainants that Hubert Hopkins is estopped from disputing the validity of the patent in suit. It is not only claimed that Hubert Hopkins is estopped, 'but that the Moon-Hopkins Billing Machine Company (one of the defendants) is also estopped. The facts relied upon to show an estoppel of the Moon-Hopkins Company are briefly these:


After Hubert Hopkins and his brother sold their stock in and left the Addograph Company, they, in June, 1903, went to John C. Moon (president of the Moon-Hopkins Company) and told him that Hubert Hopkins had made some inventions in adding and typewriting machines, and that he and his brother desired to interest Moon and his associates in the organization of a new company to manufacture and sell the inventions that Hubert Hopkins had made. On the 6th of July, 1903, a contract was entered into between Hubert Hopkins, William Hopkins, John C. Moon, and Carey C. Crawford, by which they undertook to manufacture the inventions Hubert Hopkins represented that he had made. The outcome of this arrangement was the organization of the Moon-Hopkins Billing Machine Company. It is insisted by the complainants that Moon and his associates knew of the rights of the complainants; that Moon visited the Holland Building in St. Louis and saw the machine on exhibition, and that it was fully explained to him by Hubert and William Hopkins.


The facts before recited are contained in the record, and have been carefully and correctly set forth, as I believe, by counsel for the complainants. The statement of the facts as above given is unnecessarily long, perhaps, but in my judgment proper to be stated to a full and fair understanding of the situation.


The question of estoppels raised by these facts is in my judgment the most important question presented in the case. From the facts disclosed in the record I am satisfied, and so find, that Moon and his associates had knowledge of the inventions of Hubert Hopkins, and were fully advised of all that transpired in reference thereto, and had knowledge of complainants' rights in and to the patent in suit.


These being the facts, as I find them to be, it would seem that the defendants and each of them are and should be estopped from claiming that the patent in suit is invalid, either on the ground that it was anticipated by prior patent rights or on the ground that it possessed no novelty.


The conclusion reached by me that the defendants are estopped from claiming that the patent in suit is invalid makes unnecessary the examination of the numerous patents set up in the defendants' joint and several answers. Whatever the state of the prior art may have been, it is not available as a- defense in this action.


[2] The remaining question in the case is that of infringement. This I will not attempt to deal with, as expert witnesses and learned counsel have done. I shall content myself with simply announcing the result. The briefs and arguments of counsel on either side have been full and able. I will not undertake to reconcile the conflicting views of trained experts, nor the widely divergent views of learned counsel, but will state that my conclusions have been induced more from an examination of the physical exhibits in the case than from the testimony of experts and the arguments of counsel. The findings may be, in conclusion, summed up as follows:


1. The defendants are stopped from claiming the invalidity of the patent in suit.


2. Claims 7, 29, 32. 65, 113, 141, 142, 147, 153, 158, 170, 176, 185, 200, 235, 236, 238, 240, 241, 245, 246, 250, and 254 of the patent in suit have been and are infringed by the defendants' machine.


It follows from these conclusions that the complainants are entitled to a decree against the defendants; and it is so ordered.


Dalton Adding Machine


Patented 1899-1912 ~ Introduced 1902 ~ Advertised 1909-28

Addograph Manufacturing Co, St. Louis, MO (1903)

Adding Typewriter Co., St. Louis, MO (1903)

The Dalton Adding Machine Co., Poplar Bluff, MO (c. 1903-14),

Norwood, Cincinnati, OH (1914-16)

1915 Price $125-$150; 1926 Price $100

Dalton merged with other companies to become Remington Rand in 1927.

1918 ad stated "2000 Daltons serving the Government in times of peace." 1919 ad stated that the US government had over 3,000 Daltons. A later ad stated "The United States Government uses over 4000 Daltons" and indicated that "Tens of Thousands" were in use. An undated ad stated "Choice of 50,000 users."


The 1928 Remington Rand catalog offered Dalton adding-listing machines ranging from models similar to the one pictured here (but without glass sides) to bookkeeping machines and a bookkeeping cash register.



Misc. Photos of the Dalton Adding Machine













The James L. Dalton home in Poplar Bluff, MO.