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Author Topic: 19th century portable 4 function calculator  (Read 775 times)
Peter Brassbeard
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« on: November 12, 2016, 09:54:33 pm »

The Millionaire Machine - Numberphile
« Last Edit: November 13, 2016, 01:11:03 am by von Corax » Logged
Atterton
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« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2016, 10:12:26 pm »

No explanatory text?
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2016, 11:22:59 am »

Awesome machine. But somehow I think the old slide rule wins the portability contest  Grin
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« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2016, 07:47:17 pm »

Awesome machine. But somehow I think the old slide rule wins the portability contest  Grin

Yes, but Cliff said these came out of a bank, and you can't do financials  on a slide rule - you only get three or four significant digits. That's good enough for engineering, but the Inland Revenue would be unimpressed.
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« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2016, 09:17:22 pm »

Awesome machine. But somehow I think the old slide rule wins the portability contest  Grin

Yes, but Cliff said these came out of a bank, and you can't do financials  on a slide rule - you only get three or four significant digits. That's good enough for engineering, but the Inland Revenue would be unimpressed.

Those damn penny pichers! Somebody still sneaks some money away anyway!  Grin
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Atterton
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« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2016, 10:39:28 pm »

My dad has a 4 function digital calculator from the 70s or so. It's about the size of a laptop.
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2016, 12:38:58 am »

My dad has a 4 function digital calculator from the 70s or so. It's about the size of a laptop.

I had one in 1977 or so, but it was much smaller. It was made by Tandy (Radio Shack) and already had a red Led display, powered by AA size batteries. Like the size of a Galaxy Note just much thicker (actually similar to an 8-track cartridge for those of you old enough to know what  I'm talking about).
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pakled
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« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2016, 03:47:38 am »

I had a TI-30 (40?) in the mid-70s...size of a smartphone, but 3 times as thick...Wink
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RJBowman
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« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2016, 06:29:03 am »

If you want that calculator to be pocket sized, you are going to need a very large and very heavily reinforced pocket.

The first real pocket-sized units appeared in 1971 when integrated circuits finally became advanced enough to put the entire calculator on one chip; these were also the first calculators to use LED displays; earlier desktop models had used something called a vacuum fluorescent display. My father had an early Commodore pocket-sized model, which cost about $500. By around 1980, the LED displays were replaced with more energy efficient LCD displays.

There isn't really a direct lineage from machines like the Millionaire Machine and modern digital calculators. Calculators are the descendent of early electromechanical computers built to perform algorithmic functions.
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« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2016, 06:38:37 am »

I had a TI-30 (40?) in the mid-70s...size of a smartphone, but 3 times as thick...Wink

I loved Texas Instruments. You know, it was precisely the fact that Texas Instruments was in Austin that when the Texas economy recovered in the 1990s the computer industry began to arrive searching for low taxes and an educated workforce... that was the environment that produced Micheal Dell's success in Austin (Dell computers started in Austin).

I don't remember what model my Radio Shack unit was. It was gray plastic split in two shells with rounded top and bottom.

The technology was changing really fast in those years. By the early 80's calculators were small enough to be put inside wristwatches, I owned several Casio wristwatches both plastic and metal. The all-metal one was my favourite. I may still have it, buried somewhere in a box.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2016, 06:40:11 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged
Peter Brassbeard
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« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2016, 12:40:52 am »

And the ultimate mechanical computer, had it even been built:
Babbage's Analytical Engine - Computerphile
Quote
Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine was designed as the first Turing complete computer - before Turing was even born. Sadly it was never built. Professor Brailsford explains with the help of Sydney Padua's illustrations.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rtKoKFGFSM
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RJBowman
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« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2016, 06:52:11 am »

And the ultimate mechanical computer, had it even been built:
Babbage's Analytical Engine - Computerphile
Quote
Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine was designed as the first Turing complete computer - before Turing was even born. Sadly it was never built. Professor Brailsford explains with the help of Sydney Padua's illustrations.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rtKoKFGFSM

The technology of the time just couldn't make hundreds of gears with perfect enough precision for the engine to work.

On the other hand, early electric computers built in the 1930's were based on electromagnetic relays; a device invented in the 1830's. If someone back then had just had the insight; if they adopted Ada Lovelace's suggestion that a binary-based machine would be easier to build, it could have happened.
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