Worksheets and No Prep Teaching Resources
Worksheets and No Prep Teaching Resources
Reading Comprehension Worksheets
Inventors and Inventions
William Seward Burroughs

Inventors and Inventions
Inventors and Inventions

William Seward Burroughs
Print William Seward Burroughs Reading Comprehension

Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.45

     challenging words:    duplex, wristwatch-size, subtraction, greatly, better, bankers, instant, communication, patent, death, original, improvement, position, banks, produce, operate
     content words:    William Seward, Burroughs Adding Machine Company, Burroughs Portable, Ford Motor Company, Burroughs Special

William Seward Burroughs
By Sharon Fabian

1     At one time or another, most everyone has thought, "Wouldn't it be nice if there was a machine to do this boring work for me." Students imagine machines that would do their homework or pick up the stuff on their bedroom floor. Parents wish for a machine that would clean the house or cook dinners. Workers wish for a machine that would do the most tedious parts of their jobs for them.
2     It was this kind of thinking that led to William Seward Burroughs's invention. Burroughs was a bank clerk in the 1880's. This was before the invention of the computer, of course. It was also before the invention of the calculator. In fact, it was during a time when nearly all calculations were done by hand. For a clerk who worked in a bank, this meant a lot of boring math. It meant lots and lots of addition and subtraction problems each and every day!
3     Burroughs decided to create a machine to do his math for him. He invented the adding machine, for which he received the patent in 1888. One of his early models weighed 63 pounds! It sat on the floor and had glass sides so that people could see the gears at work inside. Early adding machines didn't have just the numbers 0 through 9 like our calculators do. They had the numbers 1 through 9 in each row. There was a row for the ones place, another row for the tens place, another for the hundreds, and so on. Burroughs's adding machines had no zeroes. When no number was pushed in any row, that was recorded as zero for that row. To operate the machine, someone would punch in the first number, and then pull a heavy handle on the side of the machine. Pulling the handle forward entered the number. Releasing the handle back to its original position printed the number on a tape like today's cash register tape.

Paragraphs 4 to 10:
For the complete story with questions: click here for printable

Weekly Reading Books

          Create Weekly Reading Books

Prepare for an entire week at once!

Feedback on William Seward Burroughs
Leave your feedback on William Seward Burroughs   (use this link if you found an error in the story)

Inventors and Inventions
             Inventors and Inventions

Social Studies
             Social Studies

    United States History and Theme Units  
    American Government  
    Ancient America  
    Ancient China  
    Ancient Egypt  
    Ancient Greece  
    Ancient India  
    Ancient Mesopotamia  
    Ancient Rome  
    Canadian Theme Unit  
    Country Theme Units  
    Crime and Terrorism  
    European History: 1600s-1800s  
    Famous Educators  
    Grades 2-3 Social Studies Wendy's World Series  
    History of Books and Writing  
    History of Mathematics  
    How Can I Help?  
    Inventors and Inventions  
    Middle Ages  
    World Religion  
    World War I  
    World War II  
    World Wonders  

Copyright © 2018 edHelper