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HP-45 calculator

Posted by Harry A. Madden on 20 Nov 2006, 1:15 p.m.

I purchased my first calculator, an HP-45, in December, 1973 when I was employed by Lockheed as a new baby engineer just out of college. The calculator cost me $315 with the company discount.

It almost got me arrested once when I was boarding a plane in 1975. I was wearing the calculator in an HP hard-leather case on my belt, and the security guard asked me what it was. I said, "It's a 45." Needless to say, that remark caused some commotion, including a drawn gun on the part of the guard. It took me a while to explain that a)I was an engineer, b) It was a calculator, c) That we engineers commonly referred to it as a "45", and d) No joke was intended. They finally let me on the plane...

That calculator, obsolete as it is, is still on my desktop at home, plugged into the wall (I haven't seen any rechargeable battery packs for it in decades), and still working. I use it quite often.

HP built it to last, and longer than I expect they thought it would.


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