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... oh, and we had a few of these in a cupboard at school in the late 60s:

We could play with them at the end of maths class, if we completed our exercises early and had them checked by the teacher as being all correct. Sadly, I rarely got to play with them :-(
(11-20-2015 06:15 PM)TASP Wrote: [ -> ]We had one of these bad boys before the TI.

That's an Olivetti Summa Prima 20. I have a similar motorized version, the Summa Quanta 20. It omits the odd joystick input however.

[Image: summaquanta20.jpg]
Hmmm, this is complicated...

First calculator ever: No idea who made it, but it was a little kid's calculator which my parents gave me in the early '90s. Best I can recall, it had a light blue plastic case, and a flap over the LCD which looked like a cartoon cat or something. Moving the flap up turned on the calculator. The keys were in the shape of their number/function.

First scientific calculator: A TI-30Xa Solar, which I was given while in middle school in the mid '90s. Sadly, it took a tumble off of my desk when I was in high school, and the LCD shattered. It was replaced with a standard TI-30Xa (no solar, more rounded-shape case/buttons than the Solar version), which I still have somewhere.

First LED calculator: An original TI-30, which I bought at a radio swapmeet in the early 2000s for $5 or so. The seller had several of them, along with other vintage calculators. I went through several of them to figure out which one had the least amount of key-bounce.

First programmable calculator: A TI-55, which I found at a yard sale for $3. Came with a power supply and a battery pack, which was toast. I replaced the oddball connector going to the BP-7 battery pack with a standard 9V snap connector so I could use a regular 9V battery, then eventually rebuilt said BP-7, retrofitting it with a 9V snap connector (which the molded case had provisions for) so it would still work with the TI-55.

First HP calculator: A HP-11C, which I found at a radio swapmeet (from the same vendor I'd gotten the TI-30s from!) for $35. A bit of background: until I started working at Staples in late 2007, I had no idea that HP even made calculators until I spotted the 12C they had on display (the lone HP calculator they carried in-store, AFAIK). At first I noticed that the chunky little piece of plastic/metal looked rather out-of-place with the cheesy TI handhelds they carried, and cost nearly as much as the graphing calculators! Little did I know that, a few years later, I would pay a bit more than that for one of the limited edition HP-15Cs... Big Grin

Anyway, I spotted the HP-11C on the vendor's table a few months after I started working at Staples, and didn't know quite what to make of it. I knew nothing about HP's overall calculator line, noticed that the 11C looked similar to the 12C, and had no idea whether or not it was any different. In spite of this (and the fact that the battery cover was missing), I plunked down $35, and it was mine. At either the same show or a different one, I spotted a HP-41C which I could've had for a similar price, but again had no idea exactly what it was, and didn't know how to deal with the rechargeable pack included with it, so I passed. As you can imagine, I'm kicking myself about that now... Sad
Had generic calculators growing up as a kid. The first one where I specifically recall the brand was one of the TI 30 models when I was in high school in the early to mid 80s. If my memory is correct, it was the TI-30 solar; I remember the key colors and configuration. Other students in high school had similar models I think. TI was generally the brand for students. I don't remember anybody with an HP, but there may have been a few with Casio. Some of the students at my school discovered a weird thing you could do with one of those early TI's. I don't remember the exact model, but I remember for sure it was one of the models with an LCD display; if you pushed 3 buttons simultaneously, the upper left, lower left, and lower right keys (not sure of the exact keys though) and it wasn't the off button, it put the calculator into this weird mode where nothing worked at all, the screen just went blank. You had to turn the calculator off and then back on again to resume using it. I don't know which one of my friends discovered this, but during lunch period we would show other kids the trick. OK, now time for all of you to try this with all the early 80's TI's and see which one it was; who knows, maybe others did this.
My first calculator was a Toshiba HB-101 that my parents bought when I entered highschool in 1983. I still have it, but it does not work any more.

Incidentally, I remember a girl at highschool who kept borrowing my calculator almost everyday. I was shocked the day we took the first exam, when she showed up carrying a bulky LED display scientific (probably some TI model)

At the time neither my parents nor me were aware of trigonometric functions or logarithms. So next year back we went to the shop to buy a Texas Instruments 30 Galaxy, wich I chose mainly because I though the landscape layout was cool Smile

A few years later I needed to do linear regresions, so I swapped my TI for a Casio fx100c from a relative of mine.

Finally, the following year I had to buy a Casio fx850p. I had to buy it because everybody in the class seemed to have one, and because apparently professors felt it was okay to cheat in exams using data stored in the calculator memory. So you had to buy it if you did not want to find you in a dissadvantage.
1983: Texas TI-57 (LED)
A used K&E Decilon sliderule bought from another college student when he upgraded to a TI-10.

Calculator wise, a used HP-45. Bought it from another college student whose mother worked for HP. He upgraded to the HP-65. I still have the HP-45, although the battery pack is long dead. I can power it up using the AC adapter however. I also have a few solution books from that era.

Along the way, I can also recall (somewhat fuzzy though), an HP-19C, HP-27C, HP-32ii, HP-34C, HP-12c, and my original HP-41C. Also, some knock off of the TI-55 or so, a Sinclair I believe?

Last, I have obtained several HP-12s, through TAS, some to give away, and one for myself (old school ones, not latest generations). Also through TAS at great expense an HP-41CX, math/stats module, financial module, Advantage module, and the PPC ROM. The modules I had previously with my original HP-41C for nostalgia's sake. Back then I also had the Stress and Mechanics modules as well. Sadly, all were lost when I junked the calculator due to the corrosion on the connectors.
My first calculator was the TI-108 in elementary school, then the Math Explorer in junior high. When everyone else got their TI-83/84+'s, I got a TI-89 Titanium and used that throughout high school and freshman year of college.

Got my first HP calculator in 2012 - the HP35s, since I was planning on taking the FE exam during my senior year, and this is the best calculator allowed (and the only programmable). Thus, I've been using this as my daily driver, relegating the overkill TI-89 to my desk drawer to be used when checking MATLAB results or solving systems of equations.

My dad is a huge fan of HP calculators, though, and I heard about them through him first (12C diehard). I also got a 15C LE in 2012.

First LED calculator was the HP 32E, in not-so-great condition...a friend repaired it for me somewhat but it's still not too reliable. Recently I got a 32S off TAS for about $50, but I still am more used to the 35s and so I'm sticking to that for now, until I finally take the FE.
(11-21-2015 12:49 AM)Accutron Wrote: [ -> ]
(11-20-2015 06:15 PM)TASP Wrote: [ -> ]We had one of these bad boys before the TI.

That's an Olivetti Summa Prima 20. I have a similar motorized version, the Summa Quanta 20. It omits the odd joystick input however.

[Image: summaquanta20.jpg]

Imagine the HP41 battery pack wired to a motor geared down enough to operate that beast!

IOW, I'm noting the improvement in efficiency from Babbage's Differential Engine which, I believe, was steam powered, (LOL!) to today's pocket miracles that run on button cells, and a single button cell would have insufficient power to do even one addition on a mechanical 1960s adding machine.

Imagine the power requirements of a WP34s simulacrum implemented with gears and sprockets and cogs and cams and clutches!

(05-07-2014 06:34 PM)John W Kercheval Wrote: [ -> ]What was it? Mine was a TI-59.

I see this thread is still active, so let me add my 2 cents – and a calculator that most of the users of this forum probably have never heard of. ;-)

In 1977 my school decided to order a substantical quantity of calculators so that students could buy these for very a good price. As far as I remember it came down to the choice between a TI-30 and another calculator sold by Quelle, a large German mail order store, under their "Privileg" brand. Finally the latter was chosen, so I got one of these. Recently I found it on the net, and so I think it must have been a model 585 D-E-NC as shown on thimet.de.

Please note the dedicated ARC key for the inverse trig functions – just like the HP35. ;-)

This calculator had two special, err... "features". The first one was its characteristic key click. Which actually was much more than a "click" – I remember that during math tests the room was filled with this loud clicking sound. The other feature may shed some light on the processor used in this device: Although the calculator usually worked with 8 significant digits, most transcendental functions (log, exp, trig) returned only 5-digit results. So lg 2 was simply 0,30103 – how needed more digits anyway ?-)

But there also was an advantage over the TI-30 (which might have been a major reason for choosing this model): the Privileg had a rechargeable battery pack (3x AA) which was more convenient (and also much cheaper) than the 9V Alkaline battery used by the TI-30. The charger actually was a simple AC-adapter with a standard 3,5 mm jack plug.

Three years later I acquired my first HP, a 34C. It was like entering a completely different world. Not just because of RPN.

Sharp 506D Scientific
- in grade school... it is/was awesome little calc.

Casio fx-7000G
- in high school... A TI-81 graphing calc had just landed and was 'required'.
- I was the only one in my class that did not purchase that model... since the Casio was available at a deep discount, and I rather preferred the look and brand, from having a calculator watch.
- No classroom support meant I had to learned everything on my own time, which I pretty much did within the first couple of weeks.

My first HP was a used 15c followed up quickly by a new 48G.
Sharp PC1211, briefly an Casio FX-601P and then HP-41C.
After that been HP all the way )))

Mind you just been using an FX-602P recently (RAM upgraded FX-601P) and it is a pretty decent calculator, despite the fact that when I recall M 22 (I think) it comes out incorrect )))) The Calculators RAM is beginning to fail (1980 Calculator though) an apparent common fault with this model. Have not heard of 41C's with this issue (think launched somewhat less than a year apart, Mid 79 the 41C and Mid 80 the FX601/2P).
My first handheld calculator was a TI-85 which I got in 5th or 6th grade. I remember programming in TI-BASIC during lunch and creating graphics, fractals etc. When I was in in 6th grade, my parents bought me an HP48GX. It got stolen once in gym class, but the police found the culprit and got my calculator back ( which had a password protection program on it ). It then got stolen again and this time I never got it back. My parents then had to buy me a replacement, but, I accidentally left it in the car in the hot Texas sun and the beeper went wonky. So, I needed yet another replacement which I got in around 1995 Smile We told the store that it was defective Smile I know, not quite ethical, but my parents didn't want to pay for another calculator. Smile

Hi, all:

John W Kercheval Wrote:Your First Handheld?

In chronological order starting from 1975 or so:
  • Sears 4-function (not even square root !): very expensive, algebraic, did a lot of ersatz programming with it, electrically broke two times, expensive to repair.
  • HP-25: very expensive, did tons of programming with it, learned to love and worship classic RPN, incredibly powerful little machine for its time, ran rings around the impressive-looking HP-55. Never gave any problems but had to sell it to buy the HP-67:
  • HP-67: very very expensive, more than double the price of the HP-25, did even more tons of much more complex programming with it, the physical machine I've loved the most. Never gave any problems but had to sell it to buy the HP-41C (I regret it to this day but there was nothing else I could do at the time).
  • HP-41C: very very expensive, about the price of the HP-67 but you also needed to buy a very expensive card reader and at least one RAM module to just be able to run your HP-67 programs. First alphanumeric, heart of a system with many peripherals. Did even more tons of much more complex programming (synthetics included, I did a lot of research on my own) but never liked it as much as my beloved HP-67, matter of fact sold it twice and never got another till 20 years later exclusively for collecting purposes. Physically it didn't hold a candle to an HP-67 but never broke on me.
  • HP-11C: Given to me as a present (Hi, Fernando !), I loved it, its form factor, its capabilities, its 10+ years running on a single set of batteries. Wrote a number of programs for it but mainly used it for manual calculations. Carried it with me to scorching and dusty climates and never broke on me, I still have it and it still looks mint and works like a charm.
  • SHARP PC-1211: amazing affordable little machine, first model programmable in BASIC, I loved it, physically much more attractive and sturdy than the HP-41C, much better LCD (much longer, dot matrix instead of segments, much more readable) but worse (though still acceptable) keyboard. Excellent documentation including lots of full programs. Did a lot of programming with it (about 100 programs) and found it extremely easy to program and use. Never broke on me, sold it to an enthusiastic pal but regretted it.
  • HP-71B: extremely expensive and powerful handheld, programmable in a tremendously powerful version of BASIC, tons of peripherals, ROMs, RAM (up to 512 Kb addressable), lots of extra possibilities (FORTH, Saturn assembler, FOCAL). Did a lot of programming with it and I still use it all the time, in emulated form. Never broke on me, never sold it and matter of fact acquired many copies for collecting and presenting it to friends.

After these, 20 years passed by and I went into modest collecting so right now I own 100+ machines including HPs (all Voyagers, 41C, 42S, 71B and many more), SHARPs (about as many) and assorted (some CASIO, TI, etc) but I do not use them in physical form anymore except for the HP-15C and the SHARP PC-1350 which I use for manual calculations or simple on-the-go programming.

Thank you for sharing that, Valentin. Amazing path taken by us all.
Just realized that I never posted in this thread, so here goes, starting in the early 70's:

Universal Data Machines 4-function calc, Don't remember if it had square root but I don't think so.

No-name scientific with log and trig functions, don't remember any other details.

A couple of TI calcs, don't remember model numbers but one of them had statistical functions. I do remember very short run time on 9V batteries. Sad

HP-15C and 16C. The first HP calculators that I could afford. I regrettably sold the 15C at some point but I still have the 16C.

HP-71B with card reader, FORTH/Assembly ROM and Math ROM. Later added a CMT 32K RAM module. The most I ever spent on a "calculator" but really a pocket computer. Still in perfect working order.

HP-28C Neat technology but uselessly small amount of RAM. Sold it the day the
HP-28S came out.

HP-48SX. Also a 128K RAM card and the Equation Library card, as well as most of Joe Horn's Goodies disks.

HP-48GX. I was disappointed that cards for the 48SX were not compatible with the GX so I never bought any cards for it. Still well worth buying for the larger built-in RAM and many more functions.

HP 49G+. Powerful but ugly color scheme and lousy keyboard.

HP 50g. Bought to replace the 49G+ when its keyboard finally died. My favorite programmable calculator despite the unfortunate keyboard layout. Still use it every day.

HP Prime. Fast and powerful but not that great for quick-and-dirty programming IMHO.

Those are just the ones I bought new. Smile I also acquired an HP-11C, a 42S, a 32S II, and a second HP 50g along the way.
I got a Bowmar four-function calculator (must have been a 901?) as a college graduation present in 1972. I got a TI-35-Plus in the mid-1980's because it could do HEX and OCT calculations and used it until I got similar functionality in a phone app. I just (blush) got my first HP handheld - an early HP 35 - to keep my HP desktop calcs company. The desktop machines run from a 9100 through 9845.
Mine was the Magic Brain hand held mechanical adding machine. I don't remember my first electronic calculator, but I clearly remember my first HP hand held; HP25 my freshman year of college.
First calculator? HP-25 at its introduction, July 1975, shortly after graduating as the only member of my university class without a calculator (I was waiting for an affordable *programmable* one).

A year later, got an HP-67 at its introduction; the '25 went to my younger brother who studied the living daylights out of it (hello, Joe!). Then the '41 at its introduction, August 1979. Lots of different machines since. Now use '50g at work, WP 34S at home, Free42 on my S8 and Surface Pro 3 (along with Mathematica 10 on the latter). All have been my favorites - great systems! The '25 is in storage but I hope to dig it out and add the Bernhard's magnificent chip to get it running again. It's clicky keys, LEDs and today's batteries will make it a fine everyday machine!
Middle School: TI Galaxy 40
High School: HP 48G and HP 11C when graphing calculator were not allowed in some exams in high school
Engineering college: HP 48GX with cynox ram card

I am currently mostly using my HP 50G and my HP 15C LE. My HP 200LX is also on my desk to track my hours at work.
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