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Old mechanical calculator
Old hand-held calculator
Old electronic calculator

A celebration of old calculators showing the evolution from mechanical calculator to pocket electronic calculator

Featuring  -

  • Mechanical & early electronic desk calculators.
  • Strange hand-held calculators.
  • Articles, photographs, and databases from the archives of the International Association of Calculator Collectors.
  • Information and photographs for those interested in the history of technology.
  • British and sterling currency calculators.

A revolution in calculating machines took place between the early 1960s and the late 1970s. It was during this vintage period that the electronics for calculators was at the cutting edge of electronics research. Calculators evolved from large, expensive, mechanical machines to cheap, electronic, credit card sized devices. The development of micro-electronics for calculators was an important phase in the history of technology, which included the development of the microprocessor.

This fascinating story is illustrated here with -

  • Mechanical calculators - both electrically driven and hand operated.
  • Early electronic calculators - using vacuum tubes (cold-cathode tubes/valves), discrete transistors, cathode ray tube displays, delay-line memories, small- & medium-scale integrated circuits.
  • Early hand-held calculators with LED, fluorescent, and early LCD displays.

The increasing capability of the electronic integrated circuits can be seen, which led to the microprocessor and the personal computer.

This site is dedicated to those who had to use slide-rules and mechanical calculators at school, university, and at work, back when the idea of a pocket electronic calculator was just a dream, and when they were eventually developed and went on sale having one was still a dream since at that time they were unaffordable for most people.

The objective of this site is not to simply show large numbers of calculators but to feature representative examples of the various types, and highlight the main steps in the evolution from mechanical to cheap hand-held electronic calculators.

A separate section deals with British calculators, including models for the old British sterling (pounds, shillings and pence - £sd) money system before decimalisation, and other non-decimal calculators.

Minor updates to this site are constantly being made.
Last significant update 25th August 2014                 Update Information

 

Latest Vintage Calculator News

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Presentation
HP-35

HP-35 calculator

If you have news of any calculator event please get in touch so that details can be displayed here.

 

Site Overview

1) Featured Mechanical Calculators

Big mechanical calculator

A selection of hand-operated and electro-mechanical calculators, both desktop and hand-held.

2) Featured Vintage Electronic Desktop Calculators

Big electronic calculator

Strange and interesting early electronic desk calculators, including details of the world's first electronic calculators and prototypes that never made it into production.

3) Featured Vintage Electronic Hand-held Calculators

Vintage Hand-held Calculator

Early electronic hand-held calculators, including details of the world's first hand-held and pocket calculators, and the hand-held mechanical calculators they competed against.

4) Featured Vintage Non-Decimal & Sterling Currency Calculators

Sterling Comptometer

Non-decimal mechanical, and electronic, calculators, including Feet and Inch calculators; a Tons, Hundredweights, Quarters and Pounds calculator; Sterling Currency calculators.

5) The Pocket Calculator Race

Sharp QT-8B
UIT 85X

The story of the development of calculator electronics and the race to make the pocket calculators that we are familiar with today.

6) Calculator Companies

Calculator business

Notable Calculator Companies and Calculator Integrated Circuit Manufacturers, with emphasis on those which were significant in the development of electronic calculators.

7) Vintage Calculator Photo Library & Calculator Book Addendum

Photo Library

Photographs of Vintage Calculators:

  • Over 1000 photographs of hand-held calculators (arranged alphabetically)

0-9 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Updated frequently.

Collectors Guide to Pocket Calculators

Addendum to the book "The Complete Collector's Guide to Pocket Calculators":

Updated frequently.

8) Calculator Articles

ICC

A collection of articles originating from the International Association of Calculator Collectors (sadly, now no longer in operation), together with new articles specially written for the Vintage Calculators Site.

9) Vintage British Desk and Hand-held Calculators

Sinclair hand held calculator

Calculators from British companies, including:

Anita desk calculator

Click here to go to a new site giving the story of the Bell Punch Company and the Anita Calculator: the World's First Desktop Electronic Calculator.

10) Puzzle Corner

Lecom 12

Can you help with information about these calculators ?

11) Calculator Time-line

Time-line

Chronology of calculator developments.

12) Calculator Technology

Nixie Tubes

An insight into the technology used by mechanical and early electronic calculators.

13) Index to the Calculators Featured on this Site

A - Z

This is an index to the calculators featured in detail on this site as representative of calculator development.

If you are looking for a specific calculator have a look in section 5) Vintage Calculator Photo Library.

Search This Site
Use this search engine to search everything on this site.

14) Calculator Resources

Calculator Resources

15) Frequently Asked Questions

F.A.Q.

New Articles

The latest articles added to the "Collecting Calculators" section:

"The calculator that spawned the microprocessor" - The Busicom 141-PF (aka NCR 18-36) calculator and the Intel 4004 microprocessor. April 2009.

Twin Marchant

"The Twin Marchant and its place in history" - A calculator born out of wartime necessity. July 2010.

Bletchley Park & National Museum of Computing

Colossus computer

On display at Bletchley Park, in England, is the reconstructed pioneering Colossus computer, as well as 50 vintage calculators in the National Museum of Computing which has opened there.

Search This Site
Use this search engine to search everything on this site.

The first electronic Desktop calculators

Anita Mk8

An associated site with a detailed history of the development of the Anita calculators, the first electronic desktop calculators is at "Bell Punch Company and the Anita Calculators".

Please note that this is a virtual calculator museum which only exists as photographs and text on this website, not as a physical display of calculators anywhere.
None of the calculators displayed is for sale.

The Vintage Calculator Web Museum is interested in acquiring early electronic calculators, and also calculator operating manuals, service manuals, teaching manuals, books, catalogs, and brochures.
If you have anything that you are willing to donate please contact me.

Your comments, information, corrections, photographs of vintage calculators for the photo library, etc., will be gratefully received and used to enhance the site. - Please leave a message.

Hints on navigating the site -

The navigation bars, in general, are at the bottom of each page - Press the "End" key on your keyboard to go to there.

Each of the sections shown above is separate.

Some pages occur more than once, in different sections. For example, the Anita Mk VII occurs in the "Desk Electronic" section and the "Anita" section.

A "~" character before a year indicates "about that year".

 

The site is updated as new information and photographs become available.

Videogame & Homecomputer History Award

About this site.

Disclaimer: the information on this site is presented in good faith. While we make great efforts to list accurate details we take no responsibility for any errors that may unintentionally be present. Note that even over the few decades since the calculators shown here were new it can be very difficult to judge the accuracy of information provided by the various sources that have been used.

 

This site is member of the Calculator Collecting Ring.

 This Calculator Collecting site owned by Nigel Tout.

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Interested in 1940s computers, WWII coding machines & code-breaking, old computers and military communications - Try the Bletchley Park museum at www.bletchleypark.org.uk and their Vintage Computers and Calculators at www.retrobeep.com .

Also interested in preserved steam railways ? - Try the Great Central Railway at www.gcrailway.co.uk - the world's only double track preserved steam railway.
I also have a site showing the remains of the old Great Central Railway through Leicester at www.gcrleicester.info.

Vintage Calculators

© Text & photographs copyright Nigel Tout   2000-2014 except where noted otherwise.