This is a check writing machine manufactured by the G. W. Todd Company of Rochester, N.Y.; it is known as a Todd Protectograph Personal Check Writer. There is a considerable amount of damage to this piece, as it is missing several key components: the cover, or lid, as well as the ink reservoir and the numerical dial, all of which are essential for the printing of checks. In essence, the piece in the Anacostia Museum collection is lacking the heart of the device which would make it both functional and identifiable. In its original state, the Personal Check Writer came in a wooden box, with complete usage instructions printed on the lid of the machine; photographs of complete models of this model bear patents dating from 1908 to 1923.
The Todd Company began patenting check writers in 1896, and by 1910 over 85,000 various models of Protectographs had been sold. Check writing machines provide security and clarity in the issuance of checks by businesses and individuals.
It is unknown when Dr. Turner acquired this machine, or when it became damamged and unusable.