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Nathan Pritikin's Diet and HP Calculators

Posted by Happy Holden on 22 May 2003, 12:20 p.m.

Most of you have probable heard of the Pritikin Diet-but I bet you didn't know Nates critical role in the second generation HP claculators.Calculators like the HP21 & 22 series had a 12 digit display build as chip-on-board (COB) instead of the 15 digits (3x5 digits)on a DIP package. These displays were gold-wire thermocompression bonded (at high temperatures) to a new high-temp laminate. The laminate, Howe-3000, was made by a unique guy, Art Howe, and was the only laminate that could take the temp. and TC bonding process. Nate Pritikin owned a pcb shop in Galena, CA (next to Santa Barbara) and was the only one that plated pure silver on pcbs. Silver worked as well as gold but was a lot cheaper. We teamed the two up and had Nate make the small pc boards (~0.5" x 2.5")with Howe's laminate. We eventually moved the process into HP facilities because we discovered that we wanted to do A LOT OF COB work for calculators. We also filled a warehouse with HOWE-3000 because we found it to be the only laminate that would work this way. All laminate went to the warehouse, on a first-in-first-out basis "Just-In-Case". In my trips to work with Nate, over lunch, he would drag me to these resturants that he had convinced should serve food to his "Diet Theory". He was always preaching about the "Miraculous Cures" of his diet. He developed these diet theories after WWII, while working for the OSS (fore-runner of the CIA) when assigned to discover why the general population in Germany, at the height of Allied bombing, had the lowest death rate from "Natural Causes" (cancer, strokes, diabetice). {But this is another story}. I told him he should "Write-a-book". Anyway,he did! Nate got on the Johnny Carson Show to talk about his new book "The Pritikin Diet"-got rich and famous, started the "Longevity Institute" and sold the pcb shop. We lost a unique fabricator- but gained a very popular and controversial diet.

Edited: 4 June 2003, 1:57 p.m.


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