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!
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 in the photo with the gold background is the nearly 9-inch long Victor Tallymate (Japan, 1973).
The Canon Pocketronic II seen here displays and prints to a cartridge roll of thin paper thermal tape. It’s from 1974. To the right of it is the Panasonic 850, a most stylish design from Japan (1972).
And on the yellow background 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.
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 in our cars, remember?
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