Highly desirable objects of technological genius! (this article is NOT about the new iPhone 5, sorry)
These days it seems like there’s another new gadget every other week, whether it’s a phone, handheld device, tablet computer, laptop or some other hi-tech innovation. We’ve certainly come a long way from the days when everyone was getting the latest pocket calculator, marveling at the technology of these machines when they came into the mainstream back in the seventies. This time at Dark Roasted Blend, we take a look at some calculators from years gone by.
We already wrote at length about beautiful and intricate Curta calculators, but here is something even more impressive - made back in 1788:
(image credit: Florian, all rights reserved)
(images via "History of Computers")
The calculating machines of Johann Helfrich Müller look more like Victorian Time Machines than calculators!
Johann Helfrich von Müller (January 16, 1746 – 1830) "was an engineer in the Hessian army who conceived the Difference Engine in 1786". He has also designed - among other things - a large and powerful burning mirror, a sun clock, an air pump, an air gun, a barometer, a range finder device, etc. Read his biography here.
Such a marvelously detailed, delicate and rare device! Read more about the machine and how it worked here:
The right image above shows a t-shirt you can order to advertise your love of vintage calculating machines, order it here.
This Soviet calculator was made by Electronika. Models similar to these were apparently the sole brand of calculators sold and used throughout the country back then (left). The Elka 103 Bulgarian calculator dates from the seventies (right):
Machines such as this full keyboard model made by Burroughs were seen in many offices and other commercial premises, until eventually replaced by electronic printing calculators in the 1970s. This one was designed for calculations in the UK’s pre-decimal sterling currency:
Here are some programmable desktop calculators, the Canon Canola 1614P (top left), the Compucorp 425G (top right), the Casio model 121-E desk calculator made in 1973 (bottom left), and the Rockwell 940 machine which was commonplace in the seventies too (bottom right):
Your own portable math expert, the Little Professor quizzing calculator was first seen in 1976 (left). On a similar theme, here’s the WIZ-A-TRON electronic teaching calculator from around the same time (right):
This boy from 1860 sells the abacus "calculators" (remember these?) in St. Petersburg. Soon electronic calculators, together with the abacus and other vintage adding device, will join a collectible (and pretty much extinct) niche of obsolete technology, so it is a good idea to hang on to a few still surviving examples -
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