Historical treasure of the month

Published 5:21 pm Friday, February 16, 2018

When Mrs. Calvin Coolidge was living on White Oak Mountain, Ted Ballinger delivered fuel oil to her.  On one delivery, Mrs. Coolidge offered him this protectograph (pictured right) saying that the President had used it in the White House and kept it on his desk.  Ted accepted the gift but decided to give it to Howard Greene, who donated it to the museum.

So what is a “Protectograph”?  A device that uses words rather than numbers to print cash amounts on checks.  The check is inserted onto the chrome tray, the check amount is selected on the wheel, and the chrome round handle is depressed.

President Coolidge used this Protectograph in the White House from 1923 to 1929; it is part of a special display in honor of Presidents Day on Feb. 19. Our one-time exhibit includes items concerning Presidents Jackson, Coolidge, Hoover, Franklin Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and George H W Bush (as Vice President).

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Additional information concerning Polk County, pictures, family histories, and artifacts are waiting to be enjoyed at the PCHA Museum. The Museum at 60 Walker Street in Columbus is open on Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Individual tours of the Museum can easily be arranged.

– Submitted by George Comparetto