who remembers this old calculator?
08-30-2014, 02:54 PM
Post: #1
 Don Shepherd Senior Member Posts: 745 Joined: Dec 2013
who remembers this old calculator?
The Victor MEC/2 (Miniature Electronic Calculator), from 1972 or 1973, my first electronic calculator. Not programmable, and pretty expensive, but boy was it beautiful. Alas, my original one bit the dust somewhere along the line, so I got this one courtesy Ebay.

A beauty.
08-30-2014, 06:15 PM
Post: #2
 jebem Senior Member Posts: 1,342 Joined: Feb 2014
RE: who remembers this old calculator?
(08-30-2014 02:54 PM)Don Shepherd Wrote:  The Victor MEC/2 (Miniature Electronic Calculator), from 1972 or 1973, my first electronic calculator.

I remember Victor as a popular business calculator brand in the 70's in Mozambique, distributed and maintained at Minerva Central.
I had friends working there at the time, and I used to help on the calculator repairing just for the fun of it.
Victor is gone as a brand distributed in Mozambique, as far as I can tell.

Jose Mesquita

08-31-2014, 05:54 PM
Post: #3
 Thomas Klemm Senior Member Posts: 1,447 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: who remembers this old calculator?
I've never heard of this calculator, so thank you for introducing it to us. In an issue of "Kiplinger's Personal Finance" from July 1973 I could find a price of $279.00 for the VICTOR MEC/1. Thus I assume the price for the VICTOR MEC/2 was similar. On most actual 4-bangers you don't have to press the [=] key prior to [M+]. Thus to calculate the total of your example you could just enter: 4 [×] 12 [M+] 2 [×] 9 [M+] 3 [×] 5 [M+] [MR] Would that work with the VICTOR MEC/2 as well? Two things that I find remarkable are: • The position of the [=] key between [÷] [] and [+] [×]. • Calculating the discount or taxes uses RPN. Cheers Thomas PS: Your other videos about the Enigma Mark 4 Replica were interesting as well. 08-31-2014, 07:04 PM Post: #4  Don Shepherd Senior Member Posts: 745 Joined: Dec 2013 RE: who remembers this old calculator? (08-31-2014 05:54 PM)Thomas Klemm Wrote: I've never heard of this calculator, so thank you for introducing it to us. In an issue of "Kiplinger's Personal Finance" from July 1973 I could find a price of$279.00 for the VICTOR MEC/1. Thus I assume the price for the VICTOR MEC/2 was similar.

On most actual 4-bangers you don't have to press the [=] key prior to [M+]. Thus to calculate the total of your example you could just enter:

4 [×] 12 [M+]
2 [×] 9 [M+]
3 [×] 5 [M+]
[MR]

Would that work with the VICTOR MEC/2 as well?

Two things that I find remarkable are:
• The position of the [=] key between [÷] [] and [+] [×].
• Calculating the discount or taxes uses RPN.

Cheers
Thomas

PS: Your other videos about the Enigma Mark 4 Replica were interesting as well.

Thanks Thomas.

The MEC/1 was just like the MEC/2, but lacking a memory register, so I imagine the MEC/2 was a bit more expensive. I think I read somewhere that the price dropped rapidly, which was probably typical in those days.

I immediately tried your example out on the MEC/2 (4 [x] 12 [M+]), and memory then contains 12, so you apparently have to press the equals key to get the right value added to memory.

The equals key is interesting in that it is used ONLY for multiplication and division, not for addition and subtraction. But its position between the plus and minus key probably caused confusion among users, at least until they figured out it was used only for multiplication and division.

You could use a constant in multiplication and division, as long as you remembered that the first number in a multiplication problem is the constant, while the second number in a division problem is the constant. I suspect this caused confusion to users as well, and I believe a succeeding product, the MEC/225, included a key for entering a constant (per Katie).

It is interesting that MEC stood for "miniature electronic calculator", given the size of 4 by 8 by 2 inches. Not exactly credit-card size! My original unit eventually died, I think because I didn't heed the warning in the manual to not leave it sitting in the charging cradle unless the cradle is plugged in. Another reason for having good manuals!

Thanks for your comment about the Enigma Mark 4 Replica video, that was the first video I ever did. It is a remarkable little box, and the guy who makes it has now added support for the actual physical plugboard at the front of the machine, so you can set the plug settings either using the physical plugs or (as before), in software. The guy sent me an acrylic unit to test the plugboard update, and it is really beautiful.
08-31-2014, 07:43 PM
Post: #5
 Don Shepherd Senior Member Posts: 745 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: who remembers this old calculator?
Here is a little display table my wife's father built so I could show off some of my treasures. On the top shelf are the Enigma replica and a little wooden model I built showing how the four rotors work. The middle shelf contains the Victor MEC/2 and my HP-65, and the bottom shelf contains all of the cryptography books I own.
09-01-2014, 05:03 AM
Post: #6
 Les Bell Member Posts: 188 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: who remembers this old calculator?
(08-31-2014 07:43 PM)Don Shepherd Wrote:  ... and the bottom shelf contains all of the cryptography books I own.

Don, you need more crypto books. One recent release that I've found particularly interesting - and useful - is Bauer, Craig P., "Secret History - The Story of Cryptography". Bauer was a Scholar-in-Residence at the NSA Center for Cryptologic History, and has a very detailed knowledge of the subject. More info at http://www.amazon.com/Secret-History-Cry...466561866/.

--- Les
[http://www.lesbell.com.au]
09-01-2014, 08:45 AM
Post: #7
 Don Shepherd Senior Member Posts: 745 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: who remembers this old calculator?
(09-01-2014 05:03 AM)Les Bell Wrote:
(08-31-2014 07:43 PM)Don Shepherd Wrote:  ... and the bottom shelf contains all of the cryptography books I own.

Don, you need more crypto books. One recent release that I've found particularly interesting - and useful - is Bauer, Craig P., "Secret History - The Story of Cryptography". Bauer was a Scholar-in-Residence at the NSA Center for Cryptologic History, and has a very detailed knowledge of the subject. More info at http://www.amazon.com/Secret-History-Cry...466561866/.

Thanks Les, that looks like a very good book on the subject. While pricey, it is obviously comprehensive, and I like the fact that it lists the author's email address if you want to contact him, I wish all books would do that.

Don
09-07-2014, 11:21 PM
Post: #8
 Don Shepherd Senior Member Posts: 745 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: who remembers this old calculator?
(09-01-2014 05:03 AM)Les Bell Wrote:
(08-31-2014 07:43 PM)Don Shepherd Wrote:  ... and the bottom shelf contains all of the cryptography books I own.

Don, you need more crypto books. One recent release that I've found particularly interesting - and useful - is Bauer, Craig P., "Secret History - The Story of Cryptography". Bauer was a Scholar-in-Residence at the NSA Center for Cryptologic History, and has a very detailed knowledge of the subject. More info at http://www.amazon.com/Secret-History-Cry...466561866/.

Hey Les, I just got this book on Ebay for significantly less than the list price on Amazon. Sometimes Ebay works very well!

Thanks for the recommendation.

Don
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