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Videos of Calculators on YouTube

There are some interesting and educational videos on the YouTube site showingf old calculators in use. These can give a good understanding of how these machines actually operate.


General Calculator Videos

Two videos from Paul R. Schmidt:
"Vintage Calculator Tour":
A video that comprehensively explains the characteristics and use of 26 calculating devices in Paul's collection, "from ancient history until the present".  This especially shows the development of hand-held electronic calculators from the early 1970s to the present, with Paul giving us the benefit of his personal experiences in using them.

"Vintage Calculator Tour, Part 2":
Covers Corvus models 310 & 311, Hewlett Packard HP-35, and especially the Canon Canola 161S desktop calculator with Nixie tube display.


"The History Of Calculators Documentary" (from a Japanese perspective):


"The Calculator Wars: A video history of Japan's electronic industry":


"The Pocket Calculator Wars": 



Videos of Mechanical Calculator Models

On Youtube, a search for "Mechanical Calculator" will reveal many more videos, some much better than others.  Here are some of the better ones:

"How the Arithmometer Works" (stepped-drum mechanism):


"Ingenious Pocket Mechanical Calculator" (using an Addiator):


"How Pinwheel Calculators Work":


"The Original Odhner (Vintage Calculator)" (using a pinwheel calculator, includes finding a square root):


"Hot to use and operate an antique mechanical calculator" (a pinwheel calculator):


"Inside a mechanical calculator" (a pinwheel mechanism):


"How the Comptometer Works":


"How the CURTA Works":


"Square root of 2 on the pepper grinder" (i.e. on a Curta):


"1956 Friden STW 10 Electro-Mechanical Calculator Restoration":


"1956 Friden STW 10 Mechanical Calculator Demo":


"Facit TK Mechanical Calculator Demo":


"The FACIT CA1-13 Calculator":
Shows the incredibly complicated mechanism, crammed into such a small space of this type of machine, at work.


"The Rapid Collapse of the Swedish Mechanical Calculator Industry":
The story of Facit mechanical calculators and their demise.  Sep. 22.


"How 10-key Adding Machines Work":
An animation which explains how the Remington-Rand Model 73A adding machine works.  The design of the Model 73A is similar that of most 10-key mechanical calculators produced in the 1940's and 50's.


Videos about the Comptometer on Youtube include:


The Millionaire calculator has several videos:


MADAS calculator videos: Gérald Saudan has a site on The Millionaire and MADAS calculators at which has videos of parts of the mechanism operating.  Especially interesting is a video of opening a machine in order to repair or clean the various parts.  Although these are YouTube videos they are embedded in the pages where, if necessary, there are descriptions of the operations being performed.


"The Unitas Calculator":
"The Unitas is a mechanical calculator based on the Arithmometer of Thomas de Colmar. Its unique feature is that it has two output registers, each on its own movable carriage. It was made by Ludwig Spitz & Co in around 1912."


"The British Calculator - BriCal":
"The British Calculator, or BriCal, is a simple adding machine for British currency. It was invented by Herbert and Mabel Dickinson in 1905. This one was made in about 1907 by T.J. Marshall & Co."


The Youtube channel "ID of ED" at features a series of videos showing Ed investigating the causes of problems with various mechanical calculators, and working to get them operational again.
In the case of a jammed electrically-driven Monroe CST-8 calculator he takes the novel approach of substituting a stepper motor for the original AC motor to help the investigation by allowing the operation of the mechanism to be observed when controlled at low speed.


"Race of 9 mechanical calculators":
After a short description about the basics of mechanical calculators Sirous Nekooei's video shows a race among 9 mechanical calculators performing automatic multiplication and division.  It is very interesting to see which turns out to be the fastest.


"Brooke Boering demonstrates Comptometers": Is a video from the Digibarn Computer Museum featuring Brooke Boering discussing and demonstrating Comptometers at  On the Digibarn site this is described "Digibarn visitor and contributor Brooke Boering does a presentation on an assorted set of comptometers, mechanical calculators made from the late 19th to the mid 20th Centuries.  Brooke is an expert on the comptometer and even worked servicing them in the 1940s. Recorded: July 11, 2006."


For a film which shows the speed at which a trained operator could use an electric model 'K' Comptometer for adding up an invoice see "SERVICE TO THE PUBLIC - BARNSLEY BRITISH CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY" for a short time from 5 min 40 sec.  This film from 1951 also shows an interesting selection of other mechanical accounting machines.


"Burroughs Adding Machine History": A film which shows Burroughs adding and accounting machines, and computers being manufactured and used at



Videos of Electronic Calculator Models


"Old Sharp Calculator Commercial check out how big they are". Very interesting old advertisements for calculators have started to appear on the YouTube site as video clips. For instance there are videos of the Sharp EL-8 (there called the Sharp LC-8) at and, where it is "the world's smallest electronic calculator".


"ANITA Mk8 vintage electronic desktop calculator demonstration" (operating with covers removed):


"An astonishing old calculator":
Shows the internals and operation of the Friden EC-132.


"Vintage Friden EC-132 Calculator from 1965":
Shows the operation of the Friden EC-132.


"42 year old 1967 vintage Casio calculator still working" (shows some of the problems when trying to use a very old Casio AL1000 electronic calculator) :


"Compucorp 322G Calculator Teardown":


"TSI Speech+" (Dale Hill's video of the first speaking calculator in operation):


Excellent videos produced by Michiel de Boer that graphically explain Liquid Crystal Displays are:


Troubleshooting, repair and use of a 'Dictaphone' labelled version of the Sanyo ICC-82D calculator at  Oct. 22.


"Vintage Retro Commodore Calculator Restoration - PR-100 LED display - Battery Corrosion" at  Sep. 23.


Replacing the LCD screen of the Radio Shack TRS-80 or Sharp PC-1211 Pocket Computer.   The early LCD screens on these models are very prone to degrading, typically showing black areas.  Robert Baruch has worked out the specification for the screen and has sourced a supply of new replacement screens.  Nov. 23.


Vintage Calculators

Text & photographs copyright, except where stated otherwise, © Nigel Tout 2000-2024.