Evolution of the Electronic Calculator

Saturday, May 14, 2016 posted by Martin
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For about five bucks, anyone can own their own four function calculator. They make great holiday gifts for businesses. Today, messages of encouragement are not needed before doing math problems. However, during the 1960s, that was not true. Today, the electronic calculator computes a math problem in a small fraction of a second. In the 60s, a calculator was about the size of a typewriter (if you know what that is) and had a moving carriage. Suppose you wanted to multiply 24 x 856. You entered the entry and the calculator went spin, spin, spin spin, shift, spin, spin and so forth. It might take about 30 seconds to complete the task. Other calculating devices were the abacus, slide rules and comptometers.

However, during the late 60s, Texas instruments developed the first hand held electronic calculator. It cost a few thousand dollars to buy and was worth it. It used a microprocessor to do the work. It was a four function device, weighed about a half pound and was much larger than today’s calculators. HP improved on it with their HP-35, the first pocket calculator with scientific functions.

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