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©Copyright 2011, 2014 Eric Wrobbel



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Few today can imagine the mundane calculator causing any sort of a buying frenzy. But in the early 1970s when the pocket calculator was new, they were all the rage. Bowmar was the name in those days and the model below, the 901 B, was their first. It was made in the US and introduced in 1971 at a price of, get this, $240! And those are 1971 dollars— that’s over $1300 today!

In the early 1970s when the pocket calculator was new, they were all the rage. One of the earliest players was Bowmar and this 901 B was their first. Made in the US in 1971 and priced at $240 (that's over $1300 today!) Below, Bohn Omnitrex from 1973. Right: US-made Hewlett-Packard Model 25 from 1975. Below , Commodore Minuteman-3 from Japan. From 'Pocket Calculators' at the web's largest private collection of antiques & collectibles: http://www.ericwrobbel.com/collections/calculators.htm
In the early 1970s when the pocket calculator was new, they were a huge fad. And speaking of huge, this 9-inch long green monster is the Victor Tallymate calculator made in Japan in 1973. From 'Pocket Calculators' at the web's largest private collection of antiques & collectibles: http://www.ericwrobbel.com/collections/calculators.htm
In the early 1970s, pocket calculators were all the rage, like these: The Teal 817 (Japan) featured a nice wrap-around front panel, to the right of it is the US-made RBM Scientific. The red Sharp Elsi-Mate EL-8005S is from 1975 (Japan) and the unique Summit was made by NCE Nuclear in the US in 1972-73. From 'Pocket Calculators' at the web's largest private collection of antiques & collectibles: http://www.ericwrobbel.com/collections/calculators.htm

Below the Bowmar is a Bohn Omnitrex, a “pocket- size” beast from 1973. To the right of it is one of the many popular—and expensive— US-made Hewlett-Packard models, the Model 25 from 1975. And below that a Commodore Minuteman-3 from Japan. The monster above, in green, is  the nearly 9-inch long Victor Tallymate (Japan, 1973).

At left is the Teal 817 (Japan) featuring a nice wrap-around front panel, and to the right of it the US-made RBM Scientific. The red Sharp Elsi-Mate EL-8005S is from 1975 (Japan) and the unique Summit was made by NCE Nuclear in the US in 1972-73.


To the right is the vintage, and interesting, Canon Pocketronic II which displays and prints to a cartridge roll of thin paper thermal tape. It’s from 1974. Far right is the Panasonic 850, a most stylish design from Japan (1972).

I see the calculator today as not much more than “business equipment.” Yet these old ones bring to mind that time in the early ’70s when we all had to have one. Right before we all had to have CB radios, remember?

Collectible calculators: Canon Pocketronic II which displays and prints to a cartridge roll of thin paper thermal tape, 1974. Panasonic 850, Japan (1972). We think of the calculator today as mere 'business equipment,' yet these bring to mind that time in the 1970s when we all had to have one. Right before we all had to have CB radios, remember? From 'Pocket Calculators' at the web's largest private collection of antiques & collectibles: http://www.ericwrobbel.com/collections/calculators.htm