the National Calculating Service
Two services the company provided in Britain were the Sumlock Schools which provided training for operators of the calculators and the National Calculating Service which could provide calculating resources for companies.
Sumlock Schools provided training for operators of the "Comptometer" type machines. These taught the most efficient ways of using these full-keyboard adding machines, shortcut methods, and techniques for performing more complicated calculations.
An advertisement for the Sumlock School from 1941, during WWII.
SUMLOCK SCHOOL, LONDON
A photograph of the London Sumlock training school, from "Bell Punch news & views" of Spring 1949, showing people learning the techniques for using the Plus and Sumlock machines.
Photograph from a booklet from London Computator Ltd (subsidiary of the Bell Punch Company) showing a young pupil being taught to operate a machine at a Sumlock school. Notice the use of fingers of both hands to press simultaneously all of the keys of a number, as was taught.
Certificate awarded to Mena Challoner for passing the Theory and Practice examinations of the School for Arithmetical Machine Operators run by the London Computator Corporation (the calculator marketing and servicing subsidiary of the Bell Punch Co.). This was awarded in December 1941, so Mena was an early pupil of the Sumlock Schools.
Successful Sumlock School pupil Mena Challoner was also awarded the bracelet shown below:
The bracelet in its presentation box.
Close up of the bracelet which appears to depict Saint Christopher.
The rear of the bracelet showing the inscription, with the label 'SILVER' at the bottom.
The covering letter with the bracelet from the London Computator Corporation Ltd. of 39, St. James's Street, London, S.W.1., dated 29th December, 1941 says:
"Dear Miss Challoner,
I have very much pleasure in sending you your SUMLOCK bracelet, and hope you will like it and wear it always as a reminder that you are one of the pioneers of that great band of operators now beginning to be formed all over the country.
With very best wishes for your future success,
Mena worked as a secretary at ICI (Imperial Chemical Industries).
Grateful thanks to Matt Johnson, grandson of Mena Challoner, for providing the photographs of the certificate and bracelet.
The bracelet shown above from the early years of the Sumlock Schools is very unusual. Much more common is the Sumlock Diploma badge shown below, which was presumably awarded in the later days of the Sumlock Schools.
Sumlock Diploma badge, presented for successfully completing a training course on Sumlock machines.
Actual size 29x20mm (1.1x0.8").
The company also operated a National Calculating Service which could provide calculating resources for companies, as explained in an advertising feature of May 1967:
"At the Sumlock centre in Bristol there are 60 operators to calculate for clients, either on a regular basis or on special occasions when the client's own staff cannot cope.
There are about 1,000 operators nation-wide in 29 centres like this."
In 1972 "Calculating bureaux operate from our area sales offices" was still being advertised.
Text & photographs copyright © 2002 - 2023 Nigel Tout, except where noted otherwise.