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HP-41CV WOW factor

Posted by Ted Pantenberg on 16 May 2004, 5:44 p.m.

About 25 years ago, I was a new electronic technician at a large aerospace company in California. We did failure diagnosis in our lab and it had lots of very expensive test equipment; much of it did some very interesting things. Also, the product we made - there was always a lot of it in the lab - was 'classy' and expensive. In short, our lab had quite a 'Wow!' factor.

For my work as a technician, I had purchased an HP-41CV, put one of the keyboard covers on it, and used it regularly at my tech. bench.

One day, a group of advanced engineering students was touring through our lab. We had prepared some special things to show off our products and our test equipment. The engineer in charge was showing the students around the lab and, although they seemed interested in everything, they didn't seem to be really impressed.

During the tour, I had to leave my tech. bench for a few minutes.

Suddenly, I was aware that the entire group of students was hovering at my tech. bench and were obviously very impressed by something. I thought, "What I was working on, wasn't that exciting. What's going on?" Going over to my bench, I was surprised to see that they were all agog at my HP-41CV! They had picked it up and were passing it around, making 'Oohs' and 'Aahs' as if they had just spied the neatest thing in the lab. They apologized for picking up my calculator without permission, but they said they were very impressed by it and couldn't help themselves. I was gracious and let them handle it some more. I also explained some things about it. They left saying it was the neatest thing they had seen in the lab!

I, too, was always impressed with HP calculators. Nonetheless, I was surprised at the engineering students' reaction to my HP-41CV. I wonder if I caused a few more sales of the HP-41CV?


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