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My calculator is older than I am?

Posted by Neil Fraser on 8 June 2001, 10:48 p.m.

About seven years ago I was browsing through a garage sale, and spotted a rather old but interesting calculator for $5. A glance at the keypad was enough to get my attention. It was obviously RPN. I'd heard about RPN, but didn't know how it worked. $5 seemed like a good price for finding out.

After a few minutes of fiddling I got the hang of it, and after a few more minutes of fiddling I was left wondering why all calculators weren't RPN. This new calculator soon found itself on my desk and in use every day. The label on the back said "HP-35", but there was no date so I didn't have a clue how old it was. It had everything I needed so I was happy.

It wasn't until last year that I spotted an identical calculator in a display at a science museum. It was dated 1972: two years before I was born!

The HP-35 is still my favourite calculator. Since it doesn't have working batteries I always know where is, right at the end of the power lead. Since it doesn't have an equal key, my coworkers never borrow it. Since it has an LED display, I can use it in dim light. What more could I want?


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