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 Post subject: Re: Any calculator collectors out there?
PostPosted: Sep Sat 04, 2021 2:18 am 
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Location: In the village, 19115
MarkPalmer wrote:
CurtisL wrote:
The picture of the Wang calculator brings back memories. One of the math teachers at my high school had a friend that worked for a local defense contractor; he loaned one of the companies Wang calculators to the school for a week. No one had ever seen a calculator like it. As I recall, there was a display unit that connected to a small suitcase that sat on the floor. There was also what looked like an 8-track tape that plugged into the display unit, possibly used for programming. Keys felt like microswitches; definitely a "mechanical" keyboard. I think it had nixie tubes.


Your memory serves you correctly. My "SE" version has a processing unit containing 800+ mostly germanium transistors and a magnetic core memory that simultaneously operates up to 4 of the keyboard/displays in a round robin timeshare. I also have two of the punch card readers that added programmability. There were KB/displays that had magnetic tape program storage and all sorts of other peripherals including instrument controllers, printers, electronic memory, and even a hard drive. Many of these systems were used as part of the earliest CNC mills and lathes in industry.

"Electronic Package" processing unit
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Inside of electronic package with 32 circuit boards and 800+ transistors. No IC's were used in this system.
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View of one of the 320KT displays, this one has a trig sequencer that takes about 10 seconds to complete a trig function.


-Mark-


I have several of those 320KT displays. Someone on ebay was selling modules so that you can operate them as a stand alone unit.

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 Post subject: Re: Any calculator collectors out there?
PostPosted: Sep Sat 04, 2021 2:40 am 
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Joined: Nov Tue 18, 2008 8:34 am
Posts: 1583
Location: Hutchinson,Kansas
My grandma passed away several weeks ago and the family is cleaning out the house they bought new 65 years ago. I have brought home a few things. Rescued my grandpas little Unisonic 830. Been in his desk for who knows how long. He has been gone 22 years. It got throwed in the trash but I dug it out. Batteries had leaked. I been working on cleaning it up and it came on tonight. Still need a little more cleaning on one battery lead.

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 Post subject: Re: Any calculator collectors out there?
PostPosted: Sep Sat 04, 2021 2:43 am 
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Posts: 3066
Location: Erie, PA
Quote:
I have several of those 320KT displays. Someone on ebay was selling modules so that you can operate them as a stand alone unit.


Bob Alexander of Galactic Studios developed the Wang 300 electronic package simulator to allow old 300 system keyboard/displays to function without having an EP, he sold them on E-Bay for a bit. I helped him out with making the simulations authentic to an actual 300 calculator.

-Mark-

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 Post subject: Re: Any calculator collectors out there?
PostPosted: Sep Sat 04, 2021 1:04 pm 
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Joined: Feb Fri 22, 2008 3:28 am
Posts: 606
Indeed the "electronic package" in the photo looks like the one I remember seeing. This was in 1970 I believe, so the Wang calculator must have been made in that timeframe. I seem to remember there was a slight delay for a calculation result, unlike modern calculators.


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 Post subject: Re: Any calculator collectors out there?
PostPosted: Sep Sat 04, 2021 2:17 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 2643
Location: Haledon NJ USA
I used to have a Remington '99' Printing Calculator. It was an amazing electro-mechanical device. but sadly I lost it in a flood in the spring of 1984.

Here's a Remington 99 in action --

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4nuPxdDQqU


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 Post subject: Re: Any calculator collectors out there?
PostPosted: Sep Sat 04, 2021 4:58 pm 
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Joined: Jan Mon 04, 2010 2:52 am
Posts: 4828
Actually, even my Sears LC87 pocket calculator had far more computing power than the ENIAC behemoth of the forties. In fact, the ENIAC was nothing more than a glorified cash register, but hardly as reliable and versatile as the mechanical one.


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Last edited by Blustar1 on Sep Mon 06, 2021 5:06 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Any calculator collectors out there?
PostPosted: Sep Sat 04, 2021 5:02 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 4950
Location: Texas
Ken Doyle wrote:
I used to have a Remington '99' Printing Calculator. It was an amazing electro-mechanical device. but sadly I lost it in a flood in the spring of 1984.

Here's a Remington 99 in action --

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4nuPxdDQqU


Thanks for the video. I love seeing that work, and it's hard to believe that something that compact can do that kind of calculation. I have two mechanical adding machines that are that size and sound about the same but that's all they can do is add and subtract. They can kind of X but they can't do calculations like that.


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 Post subject: Re: Any calculator collectors out there?
PostPosted: Sep Sat 04, 2021 6:34 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 1314
Location: Butte, MT USA
Not a collector, but I have a Sharp solar cell Elsimate I bought from a Radio Shack in 1976 that's still working and never needed a battery.
About 20 years ago it stopped functioning and I almost threw it out, but instead opened it, cleaned the contacts and it's been fine ever since.
I just wish today's electronics lasted that long.


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 Post subject: Re: Any calculator collectors out there?
PostPosted: Sep Sat 04, 2021 8:52 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 885
Location: Westford, MA USA
I've been collecting calculators for several years now. I haven't been fortunate enough to find any early nixie/CRT desktops like Mark's Wang and Friden, but I've managed to amass a decent collection of calculators, mostly pocket types with a few small desktop/printing ones mixed in. It started with cheap LED pocket calculators like the TI-30 and TI-55, but finding a HP 11C at a swap meet kicked things to another level. I now have several dozen, including a Victor mechanical adding machine from the '40s. Here are some photos:
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File comment: Group shot of part of the collection
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File comment: One of my many TI-30s
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File comment: The aforementioned HP 11C
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File comment: One of my pride and joys, an original HP 35
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File comment: A Panasonic JE-1001 desktop from the early '70s, using individual VFD tubes
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File comment: Another group of calculators
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File comment: A Sharp EL-5500III, stretching the definition of 'calculator' a bit
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File comment: My mechanical Victor adding machine, apparently a 774
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File comment: Innards of the Victor
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File comment: A later electronic Victor adding machine from the '70s
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Collector of old computers, video game systems, radios and other electronic equipment...
Visit my page at
http://www.electronixandmore.com/adam/index.html


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 Post subject: Re: Any calculator collectors out there?
PostPosted: Sep Sat 04, 2021 10:08 pm 
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Joined: Nov Sun 29, 2020 5:59 pm
Posts: 277
Location: Northeast Illinois 60188
When I was attending DeVry back in the late 70's, the Sharp EL-5500's and similar "pocket computers" were banned from use during tests because they could be used to store formulas and complex algorithms that the rest of us (without deep pockets) were expected to memorize and compute using only our TI-30's.


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 Post subject: Re: Any calculator collectors out there?
PostPosted: Sep Sat 04, 2021 10:22 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 885
Location: Westford, MA USA
jimtech wrote:
When I was attending DeVry back in the late 70's, the Sharp EL-5500's and similar "pocket computers" were banned from use during tests because they could be used to store formulas and complex algorithms that the rest of us (without deep pockets) were expected to memorize and compute using only our TI-30's.

Yep, there are still restrictions like that in place for SAT and other standardized testing when it comes to graphing calculators (and others) which have their alpha keyboard separate from the numerical one. Graphing calculators like the TI-83 and TI-84 which have it integrated with the main keypad are allowed, though I'm not sure how instructors can prevent them from being used the way you describe. When I took my amateur radio exams, programmable calculators in general were banned, though enforcement of this rule probably depends on the VE instructors giving the test.
-Adam

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Collector of old computers, video game systems, radios and other electronic equipment...
Visit my page at
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 Post subject: Re: Any calculator collectors out there?
PostPosted: Sep Sat 04, 2021 10:59 pm 
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Joined: Feb Fri 22, 2008 3:28 am
Posts: 606
I have my Dads HP-35 as well as my own TI SR-10. In college I borrowed Dads HP a few times but hated the RPN. Dad got me the SR-10 as a birthday gift ($150 then). I think he didn't want to loan his HP out; I never told him how much I disliked it. Dad got a letter from HP saying there was an error in the calculation in some cases, and offered to replace some chip inside. He did send it back and they replaced whatever was causing the issue. It was a $400 calculatior at that time.


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 Post subject: Re: Any calculator collectors out there?
PostPosted: Sep Sun 05, 2021 1:04 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 2771
Location: Saskatoon
The father of one of my friends owned a land survey company. As soon as the first HP scientific calculators came out, they bought a bunch of them. Before that, they used Curta calculators. I'd love to get my hands on a Curta.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDn_DDsBWws
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhUfRIeRSZE


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 Post subject: Re: Any calculator collectors out there?
PostPosted: Sep Sun 05, 2021 1:39 am 
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Joined: Jun Sun 15, 2014 5:37 pm
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Location: Montreal, Quebec
The SR-10 was pretty decent on release, but as I recall, not only was my later TI-30 much cheaper, but it had more functions.

I saw an HP-35 early, maybe 1972. Someone I knew worked at RCA, broadcast division, and they did a group buy, so the price was better.

Things really did change fast. Kits for four function calculators on the cover of the magazines, then a few years later so much better, and outright cheap.


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 Post subject: Re: Any calculator collectors out there?
PostPosted: Sep Sun 05, 2021 11:14 am 
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Joined: Feb Fri 22, 2008 3:28 am
Posts: 606
Also have a Heathkit IC-2108 calculator that uses the Panaplex type display tubes. Likely 1973-74 vintage. And somewhere around here I have a TI SR-11 I was given; basically a cheaper SR-10 with smaller keys.


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 Post subject: Re: Any calculator collectors out there?
PostPosted: Sep Sun 05, 2021 1:42 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 1152
Location: dayton oh usa
maybe this winter i will fix up my ec130.
that was a really lucky find.
on the curb trash day a block ahead of the truck.


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 Post subject: Re: Any calculator collectors out there?
PostPosted: Sep Sun 05, 2021 7:41 pm 
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Joined: Aug Tue 31, 2021 5:50 pm
Posts: 23
Well hello,

Actually writing a book about the restoration of the 13 families of the HP calculators. From 1971 thru 2000, or another way, HP35 thru the HP48.

There are more!


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 Post subject: Re: Any calculator collectors out there?
PostPosted: Sep Sun 05, 2021 7:47 pm 
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Joined: Aug Tue 31, 2021 5:50 pm
Posts: 23
Some more:

But one of my favourites is the Casio PRO fx1 with card reader!


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File comment: The famous red dot HP 35
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 Post subject: Re: Any calculator collectors out there?
PostPosted: Sep Sun 05, 2021 10:01 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 885
Location: Westford, MA USA
CurtisL wrote:
I have my Dads HP-35 as well as my own TI SR-10. In college I borrowed Dads HP a few times but hated the RPN. Dad got me the SR-10 as a birthday gift ($150 then). I think he didn't want to loan his HP out; I never told him how much I disliked it. Dad got a letter from HP saying there was an error in the calculation in some cases, and offered to replace some chip inside. He did send it back and they replaced whatever was causing the issue. It was a $400 calculatior at that time.

Yeah, that story is famous in the annals of HP history. Said bug causes certain calcuations to return incorrect results; the most famous is entering 2.02 [ln] [e] and getting 2 instead of 2.02. When 'The Bug' was discovered, David Packard called a meeting on what to do next. When someone suggested that they do nothing, David said something like "Who said that?! We are going to tell everyone and offer them a replacement. It would be better to never make a dime of profit than have a product out there with a problem!" If only the company currently calling itself Hewlett-Packard lived up to the standards of its founders........... :roll:

mblack wrote:
The SR-10 was pretty decent on release, but as I recall, not only was my later TI-30 much cheaper, but it had more functions.

I saw an HP-35 early, maybe 1972. Someone I knew worked at RCA, broadcast division, and they did a group buy, so the price was better.

Things really did change fast. Kits for four function calculators on the cover of the magazines, then a few years later so much better, and outright cheap.

The SR-10 offered basic 'slide rule' functions, but the first TI calculator with trigonometric and logarithmic functions was the SR-50, launched over a year later, and the TI-30 appeared a couple of years after that for a fraction of the price of either.

RCA wasn't the only one to do a bulk purchase of HP-35s. General Electric is said to have purchased 20,000 of them for their engineers; given that HP had expected to sell 50,000 of them total, it was one of their first indications that they had a major hit on their hands.

The prices of calculators indeed dropped steeply, and with wide-ranging consequences. In the early days of pocket calculators, Texas Instruments supplied chips, keyboards and LED arrays to other manufacturers, but soon realized that they could make more money by cutting out the middleman and making their own calculators which could be sold more cheaply. The TI-2500 and other models were the result.

This undercutting caused the market to collapse nearly overnight, with several companies suffering financial difficulties or outright going bankrupt. One of the companies which nearly went under was Commodore Business Machines; its founder, Jack Tramiel, swore revenge against Texas Instruments. Seeing that computers would be the next big thing, he bought a semiconductor manufacturer (MOS Technologies), started producing computers, and waited for TI to start producing their own home computers.

Once they did, he started introducing computers to compete with theirs, lowering the price numerous times as TI was forced to lower theirs. Before too long, TI threw in the towel, clearancing out their computer for $50, with several other companies' models suffering similar fates. However, it turned out to be a pyrrhic victory for Tramiel, as Commodore's board of directors voted to oust him from the company he'd founded. This prompted him to vow revenge against his old company, though that's a whole 'nother story...

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Adam Vaughn
Collector of old computers, video game systems, radios and other electronic equipment...
Visit my page at
http://www.electronixandmore.com/adam/index.html


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 Post subject: Re: Any calculator collectors out there?
PostPosted: Sep Sun 05, 2021 11:56 pm 
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Joined: Aug Mon 30, 2021 2:54 pm
Posts: 31
Location: Clearwater, FL
This Singer unit is for sale locally for $35. I'll hopefully own it within the next 12 hours. I thought the nixie tubes alone where worth the cost.
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Update: Someone got there before I could, so I missed out on it :-(

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Clearwater, FL


Last edited by Pixelhead on Sep Mon 06, 2021 10:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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