The Museum of HP Calculators

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$$$$$$ WOW !! $$$$$ HP-15C
Message #1 Posted by Norm on 2 June 2003, 3:33 p.m.

I was just saying I would take a 32S over a 15C, but look at these wild animals paying the moon for one, on eBay:


The auction has got 6 days to go, and the bid is already at $305 for an HP-15C that is mint. Think it will set a record ?? I encourage everybody to go over and bid. See how high it can go. Lets set a record for eBay mania here. Lucky dog, found it at a garage sale. Like a winning lotto ticket. (Well, I did the same just recently.)

Wow that Carly sure was smart to get rid of all the engineers calculators like this one. Can't have the company making sales and profits, no sirree, when it comes to making money, use stock swindles, not profits from customers. Customers are the worst way to make a buck. they are so whineeyy . They want their 15C 's, they want their 32Sii, they want their 42S, why, they can just go away, lousy old customers. Carly wants $50M right now. Give it here. Customers dont have that kind of dough, gotta find a faster way.

Those customers are so annoying, why, Carly throws the dog a bone, lets them have a 12C. Now the customers say a 12C is not the same as a 15C??? What a bunch of pests, give 'em an inch and they take a mile.

Hey, did they get rid of that HP-15C sticker on the back in the later models? The sticker that talks a little about mathematics? I mean, its probably a 30 cent sticker, I doubt they would want to spend the money on that, owing that it just goes to some stinkin' rotten paying customer. Bet they got rid of it when the production hit full stride.

Re: $$$$$$ WOW !! $$$$$ HP-15C
Message #2 Posted by Bill Platt on 2 June 2003, 4:07 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Norm

hi Norm,

That really is mint, though. Like, virtually every other listing is *missing* something--either the box, a manual, a rubber foot, has a scratch, etc.

I would say that it looks flawless and you have to remember, we are now into the collectible phase of the HP--not just the utilitarian.

It is the powerful pull of "I GOTTA HAVE IT!!!"

Also, someone else posted here with an important economics point: Yes, the prices soared when the 32sii went out of production, etc, which would lead you to believe that further manufacturing is justified. But it is not that simple, because if the distribution of potential buyers' prices is gaussian, then a relatively small number of real buyers can drive up the price to a high value. Yet, manufacturing efficiency requires volume, or a certain minimum production per shift etc, and so at some point the "curves cross" as it were and voila, no more manufacturing, yet high trade prices.

I think about this frequently, as this dynamic seems to affect almost all the products I like to use--not just collect. The same thing seems to have happened to classic Campagnolo bicycle pedals......



Re: 15C and Carly bashing (long)
Message #3 Posted by Randy Sloyer on 2 June 2003, 7:43 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Norm


While I dislike the current situation with RPN calculators as much as the next person, I just don't understand your Carly rants. What the heck does she have to do with it? I'd be willing to bet a paycheck she personally didn't make the decision to scuttle the calculator business. She was hired by Hp's board of directors to do one thing: MAKE MONEY. Calculators didn't make enough money, it was a economic decision that meshed with their reduction in manufacturing capacity, just like every other business in the world today. Outsource it if you can. Calculators became a casualty of modern business. Her job is to make money for the shareholders of HP and make it she must, based on her salary. If she didn't make it, she wouldn't be earning it. She would be gone in a flash if she didn't produce. Yes, she represents a change in corporate culture and I suspect that is what she was hired to do. If the Board of Directors and the shareholders don't like it, they have the power to change it. Buy just one share of stock so you can go to the meetings and voice your opinion.

Since this opened about a 15C at $300 at counting, a good question is why can't you buy a new 15C today? Because they didn't sell. Period. Ugly truth. Just because they would sell here, today to most of us, does not mean they sold well enough fifteen years ago. They were victims of technology. The 42S, the same thing. When the 48 series was introduced, it replaced all previous models of the same or lesser capacity. Makes sense, doesn't it? Faster, more functions, more memory, cheaper, better battery life, etc,etc. Just as you malign your 32S for collecting dust under the lens, don't forget how it came to be. It was a lower cost, aka disposable model that represented advancements from the previous ones. You know, the ones that glow red in the dark. Every calculator series had its advancements and improvements with the normal trade-offs. It's just that calculator technology advanced to the point of missing the point. It went full circle to where some people felt they were no longer needed. You can get an RPN emulator for a PDA right? Why do we need a silly little calculator. That's something you balance your checkbook with, or figure out how much a mortgage will cost. That still keeps the 12C going. Advanced calculators were far eclipsed in power by a lowly PDA. It made sense to the product and marketing people. Kill the calculator. One only needs to look to a typewriter for a similar evolution. Go try to buy one today. It is ironic that my first HP came from a company that also sold typewriters and office equipment.

I have come to feel the reason for the rarity of new RPN calculators is because HP missed the boat. Not the boat of new, better and lower cost models, but because of the belief that RPN is better. You can't argue the differences in color with a blind man, the same way you can't argue RPN is better when the person only understands what an equals key does. All they want is an answer. Where is the key for that? It's the adding machine mentality. If they had built a dual mode unit years ago, and they could easily have done so, they would have been, in many cases, selected for their higher quality. I'll bet with a good manual, many people with a dual-mode unit would have explored RPN, had the eureka and never looked back. RPN could have been an extra credit course in schools.

I've really gone off topic here with the calculator history as seen by me. I guess all I wanted to say was, enough of the Carly bashing, alright? Sure, you're entitled to your opinion, but I for one, grow tired of the same mantra post after post. Sure, vent it a couple of times, it's good for the soul. But after that, what purpose does it serve?

I enjoyed the adventures of Captain Zener and would prefer it over this kind of stuff.

Re: 15C and Carly bashing (long)
Message #4 Posted by bill platt on 2 June 2003, 9:16 p.m.,
in response to message #3 by Randy Sloyer


Good point, and also: if only Apple Computer had marketed their Macintosh GUI dually onto their own hardware, and onto 8086 platforms......

Carly Bashing: Justified
Message #5 Posted by J.C. Randerson on 3 June 2003, 12:20 a.m.,
in response to message #3 by Randy Sloyer

Whether in the military, royalty or a large corporation, the chief sets the tone. Here, the bean counting of Her Majesty Queen Carly was excessive, in order to pay for the acquistion of Compaq. Most HP old timers, along with the relatives of Bill and Dave, were vehemently opposed to the buying of Compaq. Many old HP traditions and departments, including calculators, were sacrificed to do this. She has started a new bad tradition: an art history major mismanaging a technology based company. She doesn't have the slightest notion of gadgetry, probably uses a Casio to balance her checkbook, sigh...

J.C. Randerson

Re: Carly Bashing: Justified "I second it"
Message #6 Posted by Ron Ross on 3 June 2003, 8:24 a.m.,
in response to message #5 by J.C. Randerson

It is indeed justified! If you had any dealings with Hp Corporate today vs ten years ago, you would definitely notice a different philosphy now compared to the past. While many may say Hp had to evolve to continue to be profitable (and no company can stand still), it SHOULD NOT have stepped into a 5& 10 direction.

Hp's calculators were more than a profit vehicle. The Hp calculator introduced me to their whole company on a positive note. When I went into the real world (I worked in R&D and process controls for much of my career), I favored HP instruments, because I KNEW they were the BEST.

Now all Hp really sells (they buy clones) is PC's and printers (yeah, they do make those, yet). And, oh, I forgot, Kingpo calculators! And they sell services (software and support).

Back to my point. Is CARLY wholy responsible? No, But she is a major reason why.

I agree with Randy
Message #7 Posted by Larry Corrado, USA (WI) on 4 June 2003, 10:52 a.m.,
in response to message #3 by Randy Sloyer

I think the Carly bashing is undeserved, and detracts from the Forum.


Why bash Carly if we can sink her
Message #8 Posted by Norm on 4 June 2003, 9:58 p.m.,
in response to message #7 by Larry Corrado, USA (WI)

i was just watching Das Boot for my 5th time

(cool movie. Do not make the mistake of watching the German U-boat speaking in a dubbed English. Watch it with subtitles (!) while they speak in natural German. This is one movie where the subtitles do NOT detract from the experience, they contribute to it. 'Das Boot' with subtitles is awesome. 'Das Boot' with dubbed English is a total bore.

So, Carly is a big lumbering fat rusty old tanker. "HP Museum" is a German U2 boat........ We don't 'bash' things, we sink them !!!


Re: an RPN might-have-been
Message #9 Posted by Paul Brogger on 5 June 2003, 11:32 a.m.,
in response to message #3 by Randy Sloyer

On the subject of where HP might have gone "right" with RPN, imagine if they'd put TWO LED sticks in their early models, including a lower-cost (and hence, lower quality) entry-level unit.

Two lines of display would have gone a long way toward simplifying entry-level use of RPN -- the behavior of the stack would have been substantially demystified. Two displays would have been perfectly adapted to RPN, but wouldn't have added as much to an Algebraic interface. (So the competition wouldn't have been able to match the increased value by simply duplicating the hardware.) (To minimize battery consumption, perhaps the "y" display could have been switched off by experienced users.)

And (irrespective of the two-display idea) an inexpensive entry-level model would have enabled head-to-head competition on price in the educational market.

. . . ahhh, if they'd only asked me. (As if I could/would have recommended such in the 1970's . . . )

??? Already at $305 ???
Message #10 Posted by Mike on 2 June 2003, 9:12 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Norm

You say already at $305, as if there are 40 people bidding it up.

The first bid (minimum bid) was $299.99 so $305 is nothing but two minimum bids. But I can tell you one thing. An HP-15C that is mint with a mint manual, will get $300 by itself, even without a box.

You can take a 15C and hit it with a hammer and it'll still get $100.

This is not a big deal bid.

Edited: 2 June 2003, 9:13 p.m.

Why not sit back and enjoy this?
Message #11 Posted by Ted on 3 June 2003, 2:00 a.m.,
in response to message #10 by Mike

Guys, I know, I know. We can all get heated up about this. But it would be much more fun to take bets on the fianl price. We all know how it works. Maybe one of you can donate some unusual or interesting file or pic that could go to the winner:) I'll go first: my guess is $560.00 Don't forget, this won't be used, but kept as a showpiece. Which ain't so bad- means there'll be more working machines left in the world of 2100 to show the great great grandchildren someday. Who's next?

Randy----don't agree
Message #12 Posted by Norm on 3 June 2003, 2:20 a.m.,
in response to message #11 by Ted

Hi Randy,

Dont' agree. There is little justification to discontinue the product AFTER it is already designed, built, being manufactured, and selling if only modestly, to create profits. 12C and 15C could co-exist on the same production line. I can tolerate deleting some of the engineer's calculators, but not ALL of them. Keeping an old design like 12C running for the MBA's, to me, is the smoking gun of proof, that the boardroom can build anything but has disdain for the engineering department.

Saying Carly should just 'make money' as you say, is true, but she should do it by continuing to ship products people are buying. "People" by definition includes engineers. We were buying those items such as engineering calculators. If 15C was discontinued, 42S (or 32Sii) should not have been. The larger issue here is a malicious attitude to force 'graphing calculators' onto all the kids in high school / college. They come home saying 'daddy daddy buy me this TI (HP) graphing calculator, teacher said so'. Daddy ponies over the money, Carly gets rich, kid learns nada zero zilch, genuine and functional calculators aren't available, only graphing monstrosities. They are pursuing a corrupt agenda. Just like when the boardroom annihilated Heathkit in the blink of an eye, this quest to take money from children is wrong, and they are side-swiping the mature adult engineering community at the same time as they make their quest to get the money from the parents of schoolkids.

You mentioned that HP's error is maybe they should not have stuck by RPN for so long. Don't agree, don't follow.

I know a kid who is going to be learning his algebra and trigonometry soon. I intend to introduce him to the 32Sii . Not that it was the best (it wasn't) but in the next 30 years, he'll have best odds of his own unit(s) still working, also eing able to find used items to keep himself supplied. Not that 32Sii was best, it wasn't but it does embody the spirit of the genuine HP calculator (it is a clear descendent of 34C actually... but I prefer the real McCoy).

You mentioned that we can substitute an 'emulator' on a PDA for a genuine calculator. You mean, emulate a 32S, a 34C ?? on a PDA? Man, I'm convinced, send it over (not) !

Randy you are keeping better track of my viewpoints than I am, dude, I mean, you even remembered I got dust underneath the lenses of my 32S, and you remembered the posts of Captain Zener. I am flattered you keep track, sorry, I can't shut off the symphony of noise I make, just because you asked. But I'll try a little bit. If I post too much be assured it bothers me too. I'm a little on the loud side.

IN SUMMARY, I am more with "JC" ------- Carly bashing is justified. Or more generally, a real mean and non-engineering spirit (non technically competent spirit) emanates from many boardrooms so it should be stated as such. You dont need to stick up for Carly. That sour attitude in the boardroom is doing a lot of damage (Enron, Ford/Firestone, NASA) its burnt up 2 of our 5 space shuttles, and its not getting better because its getting worse. All they care about is getting that 15,000 square foot beachfront-home with the showers that have got 6 showerheads. I think that's pretty darn selfish of these MBA's in comparison to the people who gave us the moonshot in '69 (there was a lot of humble living, but a lot of national pride and spirit). This selfishness in the boardroom needs to be challenged. I will challenge it, with the only weapons I have got: my spending money, and my mouth. I wont buy their stuff I dont want, and will say what I think about these bad decisions.

I know I have to keep it down to a dull roar. I can't shut up completely though. Mr. Hicks has final control over acceptable message content...... the posts are within the passband of the bandpass filter for HP Museum, and I will try to stay in band.

Thanks for chatting, suggest anything further go direct?

Click on blue above to get email address.

Re: Randy----don't agree
Message #13 Posted by Randy Sloyer on 3 June 2003, 9:30 a.m.,
in response to message #12 by Norm


Thank you for thoughtful response. It's nice to have some dialog, that's what keeps all this interesting. It's not just about calculators.

A couple of points. One, you say

The larger issue here is a malicious attitude to force 'graphing calculators' onto all the kids in high school / college. They come home saying 'daddy daddy buy me this TI (HP) graphing calculator, teacher said so'. Daddy ponies over the money, Carly gets rich, kid learns nada zero zilch, genuine and functional calculators aren't available, only graphing monstrosities.

While I donít care for the form factor of, nor do I need a graphing calculator, I donít think there was anything at all malicious about this. It was a natural evolution in calculators that began in the early nineties, long before Carly was on the scene. One fact that should be considered is that HP currently has no graphing calculator in the product line. Nobody gets rich that way.

I do agree with you and JC that the person at the top sets the tone. I donít think HP is an engineering based company any longer, nor do they want to be. Just look at what has been going on in the last three years or so. Perhaps living off previous engineering efforts like ink-jet and laser printing technologies, yes, but where is anything new? What is the R&D budget compared to ten years ago? Just like the AT&T split, some good things happened for a while, but the end result was anything but good. Know anybody working for Lucent today? Why doesnít anyone ever mention the management team at Agilent Technologies? They seem to be doing okay. If they had gotten the calculator lines, Iím sure we would not be having these discussions. We would all be happy with calculators for engineers designed by engineers. Thatís what made them so good.

I liked your mention of the situation with Heathkit; I think a lot of similar things went on in their evolution, same as HP. I would be interested to hear what you think caused the demise of Heathkit, other than just an executive decision to kill off a 40+ year old company with a great legacy.

Did it have more to do with boardroom shenanigans or just plain old good business smarts? Donít you think the progress in electronics packaging and manufacturing technology left them building buggy whips when the horses were in the barn and cars were everywhere?

100% Correct!
Message #14 Posted by J.C. Randerson on 3 June 2003, 9:45 a.m.,
in response to message #13 by Randy Sloyer

"I donít think HP is an engineering based company any longer, nor do they want to be."

This one sentence correctly sums it all up. HP has abandoned what made it a success. As far as being a service company, you've hit another nail on the head. Their extended service contracts for pcs are outrageous, $100 a year!

Who knows, maybe HP will be buying old McDonald's franchises. Imagine the scenario: "Hey guy, you want some fries while you're reading the quickstart manual?"

J.C. Randerson

Hi again, Randy, Heathkit,
Message #15 Posted by Norm on 3 June 2003, 12:44 p.m.,
in response to message #13 by Randy Sloyer

Randy wrote:

> While I donít care for the form factor of, nor do I need a graphing calculator, One fact that should be considered is that HP currently has no graphing calculator in the product line. Nobody gets rich that way.

Hi Randy, I dont understand, There is a 48G+ a 48GX and also something called a "49" . I dont think they were discontinued. I think HP therefore has several models of HP graphing calculator.

Randy wrote:

> I would be interested to hear what you think caused the demise of Heathkit, other than just an executive decision to kill off a 40+ year old company with a great legacy.

Hi Randy, I dont have all the facts, except that Heathkit was built by hard work of decent people going back into the 50's and 60's, it was completely and totally profitable. Then some kind of space aliens sat down in the boardroom, and within a space of about 3 years they destroyed the company, leaving a great gaping hole in a key part of the 1969 'moonshot America' national-cultural landscape.

That's all I really know, so anything else i say is a speculation:

They sat down in the boardroom, said, "here we are, the MBA monstrosities, the takeover kings of a 30 year legacy of people's hard work, hopes and dreams. We have taken over what other people built, consuming their entire lives to build this company, its profits, and its bank account, and we took it over and own it and it cost us not a dime. Thanks to our clever boardroom stock swindles. So now we are millionaires countless times over. We have plenty of profits and plenty of customers and a balance sheet in the black, SO, GENTLEMEN, what do you say we see how quickly we can incinerate this thing.

They did this in three quick ways:

(a) They decided they would compete against the already dominant Microsoft Intel PC consortium, with their "Heath Zenith" computers,and they blew a ton of money on computers, for the laughable intention to dominate over Microsoft.

(b) With the company pretty well ruined by that decision, they decided to completely and totally eliminate the sale of all kits (apparently, a simple hatred of those types of people who buy them..... like when Carly eliminates all classic engineers' calculators, but retains the 12C for MBA's, this is just stereotypical hate-bias of MBA against engineer) so apparently the management didn't like people who build kits.

(c) With the kits eliminated, the retirement account raided, the customers scattered to the 4 winds (F U all you stinking rotten customers) they morphed the company into something entirely unrecognizable,where it exists to this day. Kind of like when in "X-men" they turned the Senator into a mutant? You start out with a Senator, you finish with nothing but a sploosh of water. Similarly, the MBA mutants mutated Heathkit into something completely unrecognizable to the customers and employees who built it. They set it up to milk community college funds (gov't public school funds) to sell their ho-hum little 3-ring binder educational books.

Similar to TI and HP trying to milk students with their useless graphing calculators. Well, I think those courses might be tolerable or adequate. Even those are goint to be somewhat dated. I saw a community college student using one very recently, in a course. The material is a little dated..... they were explaining how to use glue logic, like 8-bit shift registers. That's cute but the only problem is, who is going to do that anymore. So I think they are just milking whatever remains from the least interesting of an old ancient product line that profitable when it was destroyed, and could have continued to be profitable.

In all my years of enjoying Heathkit (70s, 80s) the 3-ring binder courses were the LAST THING I would ever look at. Hey, I wanted to build a giant clock, or build my own calculator, or my own stereo receiver, etc etc. They got rid of that stuff because it was fun. They kept the 3-ring binder stuff because it was stupid and dull and boring. Classic MBA stuff... MBA's are stupid and dull and boring so their decisions reflect this (they are also very very very selfish, very very very greedy, "gimme my 25,000 square foot home with showers that have 8 showerheads") so that gives you 4 major adjectives for MBA's.

So all that customer goodwill earned over 30 years was incinerated in an instant. Tektronix did the same thing by annihilating all their analog scopes w/o exception, apparently in a simple stereotype-based dislike of the people who used them. HP now does the same thing with engineer's calculators. The country is in a recession and it does not surprise me. This is not an "Osama recession" this is an "MBA Recession". The MBA drunkards scr*wed anybody who invested into stocks, they eliminate products we want to buy, they bring in cheap chinese throwaway trash by the boatload and stock the shelves with it, and charge us like it was made of solid gold. If I want something as simple as the preferred Japanese built calculator watch, I have to import it directly thru eBay, because the merchants wont sell what I want to buy. Helllo recession !

People are now 'hunkered in their bunker' and the economy stinks, but with the foul stink from the boardroom, does it really surprise anybody. Thank you MBA's.

You asked, Randy, so I have answered. This is my opinion about Heathkit (and Tektronix and HP) all destroying some of the most charming products I have ever seen in my life to this day. If my opinion is wrong you are welcome to correct me.

To reduce chat board clutter suggest direct e-mail.

Heathkits and Calculators?? (long)
Message #16 Posted by Randy Sloyer on 3 June 2003, 6:24 p.m.,
in response to message #15 by Norm

You're right, sort of, as only the 48GX is available through The G+ and 49 have been gone for some time. My mistake.

Well, it's clear we agree to disagree. Good fun actually. IMO, I see the demise of the calculator market having several parallels to Heathkit. In the end, it wasn't marketing, or some evil MBA's trashing the hard work of the generations before them. No, not the way I see it. It was technology. It never stops advancing which means things have to change. Sometimes not always for the good from where we stand.

It is very ironic that Zenith was one of the last owners of Heathkit. The last company in the United States that built television set with hand wiring. Remember "Works in a drawer"? But, just like through-hole technology build-it-yourself kits, hand built proved to be loser in the days of mass-produced electronic products. Do you really think the computer kits they sold with increasing complexity could be built by Joe Six Pack with a $5 el-cheap-o soldering iron? It was tough enough to get people to build kits loaded with 0.1" center dips, it was a just matter of time until they had to start including pre-built logic boards due to the density and let Mr. JoeSP put it in the case and build the power supply. This was back in the days before FCC regs. Where would they be today with the required EMI testing? Packaging technology made the kit concept an impossibility.

By 1985 or so, nobody wanted to build their own color TV or stereo when they could buy it cheaper, pre-built. Their audio equipment by 1980 was very limited by what people could build. Nobody wanted a nifty digital clock or thermometer anymore for $100. Sure, a few of us hams would build our own rig, but even that was not enough to keep them in business. They had hurt their ham reputation with the SB-104 and the HW-2026 in the seventies. More birdies in those rigs than a pet shop. How many lamp dimmers did they need to sell to keep hundreds of people working in Benton Harbor? In the end, it was like so many Internet business plans of the nineties, it just didn't work.

Near the end, the three-ring binder kits you refer to made more money being sold into the educational markets than all the kits. It was an 80-20 deal with new kits costing 80% of the budget and generating 20% of the revenue. It didn't take an MBA to make a decision on that one. Enough about Heathkit. Yes, it was fun while it lasted, but now it's over. Time to move on.

My way of simple thinking does not find fault with the MBA's, they were hired by management teams to help companies make money. Not always the old fashioned way through hard work and good business practices, I agree there. They do make an easy target, on that I agree. I also 110% on the boardroom deception, greed and general ugliness with the likes of Enron. Not the kind of companies that we need to build a strong economy. How that gets turned around I'm afraid is in the hands of the lawmakers which is complete topic unto itself. Don't want to go there for now.

Mass marketed consumer products is what HP is about today, our segment of the specialty calculator market is just about off their radar screens. I just see it in simple terms and sum up all the technological advances and what happened to our scientific calculators this way:

As early automotive engineering advanced, the demise of the harness makers followed, the aeronautical engineers while perfecting civil air transport, pretty much decimated the railroads and passenger ship lines. The computers on our desktops that enable us to post these messages from far-far away places make advanced calculators seem unnecessary. Heck, I even have a cheesy calculator in my cell phone, the junkie ones are everywhere.

Just as there are still a few harness makers that survive, there is an opportunity for some company out there to give the customers what they want in the way of a next generation hand-held calculating device. What it is and who makes it remains to be seen.

Heathkit (long)
Message #17 Posted by Michael F. Coyle on 3 June 2003, 5:00 p.m.,
in response to message #13 by Randy Sloyer

I remember Heathkit's demise very well. It was even reported in the Wall Street Journal and/or the Times.

Heath based their pitch on two claims: 1. You'll learn more about your equipment if you Do It Yourself, and 2. You'll save money if you Do It Yourself. I never bought into the "learn electronics" claim -- all building Heathkits ever taught me was electronic construction technique. (How to solder, how to identify components, etc.) I had to learn my electronics elsewhere. As for saving money, that may have true in the early days, back in the 50's and 60's when manufactoring was labor-intensive but not later, when IC's and automated manufacturing reduced the labor content of consumer electronics.

The plain fact of the matter is that while Heath made good audio equipment (to pick one example), by the late 1970's better, cheaper gear was available from Sony, Panasonic, and other Japanese suppliers. The stuff from Heath was behind the times because they had to limit themselves to designs and components that could be assembled by the average person with simple tools and little skill. Witness the pre-built and pre-aligned fromt ends for the "kit" TV sets -- "building" a Heathkit had become an exercise in final assembly of pre-built pieces.

In the end, the only people likely to buy Heathkits were those who got satisfaction from building them. But this has been a diminishing customer base. No one seems to be interested in tinkering with electronics anymore. The reduction in shelf space for components at Radio Shack and the demise of Heathkit are symptoms of this -- not the cause. There's probably a good long discussion to be had concerning the younger generation's tendancy to buy stuff and be passively entertained rather than open up the boxes and learn.

In one of the news stories back in 1992, a Heath Company executive said that their old customers, who had built kits when they were younger, weren't coming back and buying new kits. I recognized myself in that statement -- for whatever reason, uninspired kits or more competition for my leisure time, I had not built a Heathkit in a long time.

I somehow wish that Heath could have found a way to stay in the kit business, but given changes in technology and the marketplace, I guess it wasn't to be. Tradition is nice, but the marketplace is unkind to companies who stick with tradition to the point where sales suffer.

- Michael

Re: Why not sit back and enjoy this?
Message #18 Posted by james (UK) on 3 June 2003, 8:37 a.m.,
in response to message #11 by Ted

If Therwil is around I reckon, oh say, $910.

If anyone pays $900
Message #19 Posted by Mike on 3 June 2003, 2:13 p.m.,
in response to message #18 by james (UK)

They are are way overpaying, by double, what eBay normally brings. There is absolutely nothing special about this 15C. Nothing special about having an average box.

I have seen bazillions (ok, a few less than a bazillion) that are in just as nice. I doubt a week can go by without 2 or 3 mint 15C on ebay (without box). Think the box is worth $700? Hardly!

This, with box, shouldn't fetch more than $400, but you never know.

A mint or near mint 15C by itself can be had for less than $300, even on eBay.

Here's one that seems just as nice ($335)


Just missing box, papers and manuals (Think those are worth $900?)

Re: Why not sit back and enjoy this?
Message #20 Posted by David Smith on 3 June 2003, 3:59 p.m.,
in response to message #18 by james (UK)

It takes a minimum of two people who really want an item (and who probably don't know what it is really worth) to generate those astronomical bids.

Really nice and complete 15C's (and all the other voyagers for that matter)are rather common. A 15C that passes for mint-in-box probably shows up every couple of weeks. They almost always fetch in the $300-$400 range... not much more than the $250-$300 dollars that a typical used one brings. A 15C that has been eaten by a dog/goat/troll/yeti/etc does indeed bring at least $100... probably to scrap for parts to fix one or more nice looking corpses.

Re: ??? Already at $305 ???
Message #21 Posted by R Lion on 3 June 2003, 2:54 a.m.,
in response to message #10 by Mike

You can take a 15C and hit it with a hammer and it'll still get $100.

See this


Re: $$$$$$ WOW !! $$$$$ HP-15C
Message #22 Posted by hugh on 3 June 2003, 7:14 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Norm

hmm. back in '82 i paid over $150 for mine (europe costs more) and thats gotta be over $400 in today's money. it was worth it. the machine is on my desk even today and works fine.

however, i expected it to last. which, if they had it remade by kinpo nowdays, it might pop after 18 months. and it probably wouldnt even have that lemony new hp smell. you know the one :-)

Re: $$$$$$ HP-15C
Message #23 Posted by Paul Brogger on 6 June 2003, 2:16 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Norm

Well, it seems it's going for a bit more than $300.00 . ..

Re: $$$$$$ HP-15C
Message #24 Posted by David Smith on 6 June 2003, 3:49 p.m.,
in response to message #23 by Paul Brogger

By the way, it does not appear to be truly a complete set. It needs that little pink electostatic protection foam bag that the calculator was packed in.

Re: $$$$$$ WOW !! $$$$$ HP-15C
Message #25 Posted by R Lion on 6 June 2003, 2:40 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Norm

did they get rid of that HP-15C sticker on the back in the later models?

What sticker? Do later models have a sticker instead a metal back?


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