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Calculator Books

Here is a selection of books about calculators and calculator companies.

1) Origin of Modern Calculating Machines

By J.A.V. Turck, published in 1921, explains the operation of early mechanical calculator mechanisms with photographs and diagrams.   A pdf version of this book is available for viewing on line at https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc2.ark:/13960/t0tq63456&view=1up&seq=5.

2) The Calculating Machines (Die Rechenmaschinen)

Nearly every mechanical calculator manufactured to 1925 is extensively reviewed with details, drawings and diagrams.  The original is in German, but an English translation is available:

 

Die Rechenmaschinen und Ihre Entwicklungsgeschichte

Nearly every mechanical calculator to 1925, with additions to 1937, is extensively reviewed with details, drawings and diagrams in a reprint of the original book in German:

3) Antique Office Machines:
         600 Years of Calculating Devices

Antique Office Machines

Superb, profusely illustrated book featuring 500 colour photographs of calculating devices, especially American mechanical calculators, though there are also a few electronic calculators and slide rules:

  • Russo, Thomas A., "Antique Office Machines: 600 Years of Calculating Devices", Schiffer Publishing Ltd, 2001, ISBN 0-7643-1346-0 - Available from Amazon and elsewhere.

4) The Collector's Guide to Pocket Calculators

The World's Only Guide Book to Early Pocket Calculators

"The Collector's Guide to Pocket Calculators" by Guy Ball and Bruce Flamm is available!

Collectors Guide

This 204 page, softcover book is the only comprehensive guide book in the world relating to early electronic portable calculators. It contains a detailed listing of over 1,500 known portable/pocket calculators from over 240 manufacturers in 17 countries around the world who made calculators during the late 1960's and early 1970's (the Golden Age of Electronic Calculators). The book contains historical information from the dynamic beginning and growth period of electronic calculators. The book also includes a variety of ads from the 1970s and also a small section on modern "novelty" calculators.

  • Ball, Guy, & Flamm, Bruce, "The Complete Collector's Guide to Pocket Calculators", Wilson Barnett Publishing, 1997, ISBN 1-888840-14-5 - See below for ordering details.

The authors spent 3 years working on this book. They found and included calculators from lesser-known companies in England, Switzerland, Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Bulgaria, and Russia. In addition, the book features over 470 photographs of various models

"The Collector's Guide to Pocket Calculators" also includes a comprehensive "pricing" guide to help you gauge rarity and desirability of the various models -- especially as they relate to each other.

The book can be purchased for $20.00 plus $5 for USA mailing ($10 for first class mailing to Canada, and $23 to other countries).  California residents please add $1.86 state sales tax.

For payment by PayPal, or for additional details and information, contact co-author Guy Ball.  Guy is happy to sign the books if asked.

 

 

Alternative Places to Buy the Book

"Collector's Guide to Pocket Calculators" is also available through Amazon.com's book store at www.amazon.com (if outside the U.S.A. try your local Amazon site first). The book takes about 3 weeks to work through their system.

5) A Guide to HP Handheld Calculators and Computers

The third edition of Wlodek Mier-Jedrzejowicz's "A Guide to HP Handheld Calculators and Computers" has been published and is available for sale.

HP Handheld Calculators and Computers

This is the premier information source for HP calculators. The author is Wlodek Mier-jedrzejowicz, long considered THE source of information on HPs.

  • Mier-Jedrzejowicz, W.A.C., "A Guide to HP Handheld Calculators and Computers", 5th Edition, Wilson/Barnett Publishing, 2007, ISBN 978-1-888840-40-7.
    Further details and ordering information are available at http://www.hpcalculatorguide.com/.

This is his 5th edition and includes improvements such as the addition of some new reference text on existing models, information on the newest HP model, black and white photos of various HP calculators, and corrections and slight modifications to the existing text. A section on restoration has been added and the "sources of additional information" section has been enlarged.

The printing of the book is a bit different, designed to be easier to use and to read. The font size of the text has been increased and the page count has increased accordingly (now 224 pages). A spiral binding is used to bind the book, allowing it to stay flat when open. The color copies of the photos in the book were also improved and their resolution increased.

Further details and ordering information are available at http://www.hpcalculatorguide.com/.

Alternative Places to Buy the Book

"A Guide to HP Handheld Calculators and Computers" is also available through Amazon.com's book store at www.amazon.com (if outside the U.S.A. try your local Amazon site first). The book takes about 3 weeks to work through their system.

6) Total to Date:
        The Evolution of the Adding Machine:
               The Story of Burroughs

By Bryan Morgan, published in 1953 by the Burroughs Adding Machine Limited London.  Concentrates on the development of Burroughs adding machines and the company's factories in Britain, with photographs and diagrams.

 

 

7) It all adds up:
         The growth of Victor Comptometer Corporation

By Edwin Darby, published in 1968 by Victor Comptometer Corporation.  A history of the Victor Adding Machine Co. from its beginnings in 1918, to its merger with Comptometer Corporation in 1961 and its first electronic calculators in the late 1960s.

 

 

8) The Sinclair Story

By Rodney Dale, published in 1985 by Duckworth, ISBN 0-7156-1901-2.  Has a chapter on the Sinclair hand-held calculators in a history of the Sinclair companies and their innovative electronic devices and personal computers.

 

 

9) Sinclair and the 'Sunrise' Technology

By Ian Anderson and Richard Kennedy, published in 1986 by Penguin, ISBN 10: 0140087745.  A critical review of Clive Sinclair and his companies with their innovative products, including the calculators, highlighting their deficiencies.

 

 

10) Riding the Runaway Horse:
           The Rise and Decline of Wang Laboratories

By Charles C. Kenney, published in 1992 by Little, Brown and Company, ISBN 0-316-48919-0.  Tells the fascinating history of electronic calculator pioneer Wang Laboratories.

 

 

11) Commodore:
           a company on the edge

By Brian Bagnall, published in 2010 by Variant Press, ISBN 978-0-9738649-6-0.  A history of Commodore, concentrating on the the iconic personal computers, but includes some information about Commodore calculators.

12) SWISS CALCULATING MACHINES
             H.W. EGLI A.-G. - A success story

A definitive history, with many high quality colour illustrations, of the H. W. Egli company and its development of the highly successful Millionaire direct-multiplication mechanical calculators and MADAS (Multiplication, Automatic Division, Addition, and Subtraction) mechanical calculators.  By Gérald Saudan, published in 2017, ISBN 978-2-8399-2175-6.

Swiss Calculating Machines Book

Purchase information for the book can be found at Gérald Saudan's site about The Millionaire and MADAS mechanical calculators at http://www.madas.ch/

Calculators are often mentioned and illustrated in books on the history of computing. A heavyweight, profusely illustrated book is -

A lightweight introduction is -

Illustrating the development of calculators and computers and the uses made of these early machines, and full of photographs, is -

 

For calculator operating and maintenance manuals have a look in the F.A.Q. page.

Vintage Calculators

© Text & photographs copyright Nigel Tout   2000-2021  except where noted otherwise.