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A 1982 HP 12c and it's story - Printable Version

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A 1982 HP 12c and it's story - Zac Bruce - 07-27-2017 05:08 AM

Bright and early this morning a 1982 HP 12c arrived in my letterbox. It's nothing spectacular in and of itself, but I thought you guys might be able to understand a little of my excitement, and perhaps will be interested to hear it's story.

I'm an Australian, and often check in on eBay and Gumtree (an Australian buy/sell site) for HP calculators, among other things. I had been wanting an original USA 12c and was happy when I saw one come up for sale. The calculator is a little beat up; I messaged the seller and he said it was all in good working order, except it was pretty worn because it was the calculator he "carried in the field."

He was also currently selling a 19bii (which I've since bought) and his recent feedback showed him as having sold a 28c, a 620LX and an omnigo 100. Curious, I thought I would ask some questions about where this stuff was coming from.

Turns out he (Les) worked for Sample Electronics as a service tech under John Warmington. Sample distributed HP products, and when HP wanted to set up an Australian operation they took over the distributorship and John Warmington became the first Managing Director of HP Australia, a position he held from 1967-1981.

http://www.hpmuseum.net/upload_htmlFile/HPAOrgChart1968Dec.pdf (Les is on third page, right at the bottom)

So Les tells me that he stayed on with HP for quite some time, moving on to the start up medical electronics business which he managed (and managed quite well, it seems!)

http://www.hpmuseum.net/upload_htmlFile/Depth1978Jun-16pages.pdf (Fifth page, receiving award for exceeding sales quota 5th year in a row with over 500k in sales in 1978)

Eventually he left HP for a time, coming back in the late 1990's to start a computer service/sales operation, then eventually retired in 2000.


He tells me that HP were a fantastic company to work for in the early years, and that they were like a big family. He also said he was fortunate enough to meet all the CEO's from Bill and Dave through to Carly.

Being generally interested in the history of HP's calculators it was fascinating for me to hear the story of one of HP's "people", and explore the history of HP Australia, which is something I had not looked at before.

Les is currently selling off quite a number of his HP collection. He said he had 8 of the clamshell models (I was asking about the 19bii at the time), two of which have broken battery doors. He wants to sell the calculators one at a time, more or less, rather than flood the limited Australian market. He's currently selling a very nice looking 28s, which doesn't interest me personally, but I'm excited to see what else he will post in the coming months. Also a little afraid, as my bank balance declines.

I'm not sure whether Les has ever been or is a member of these forums; if he is, hello Les and thankyou! I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to have had him share his story of his life working for HP.

So, although my little 12c is not in perfect condition, I got what I wanted from buying one; a little piece of the history of HP.

Many thanks,


P.S. I tend to carry around a (new) 12c platinum, that I play around with when waiting for appointments etc., like many people would muck around on their phones. The receptionist at one of my appointments I have talked to before; she was in investment banking in Singapore. I'd never pulled out a 12c in her waiting room before, but today I thought I'd ask whether she had ever come across one. Before I'd even fully pulled it out of my pocket she exclaimed, "It's a 12c!", and went on to tell me that the bank she worked for had given her one (in 1985, I believe) when she started work for them, and how she had done special training to learn bond valuations. She says that she still has the calculator somewhere, and that she might try to find it. It was just another interesting story of the impact the calculator has had, and she was very happy and surprised to see one turn up in her waiting room. I got to speak with her for quite some time afterwards about the technology they were using back then in investment banking. Very interesting stuff.[/php]

RE: A 1982 HP 12c and it's story - bshoring - 07-30-2017 09:13 PM

Zac, thanks for telling us the story. We all feel a certain attachment to our HP calculators, and can all identify with the excitement you are feeling.

I don't know if you have explored the Statistical functions of the 12C and linear estimate, but a while back there was a thread on this forum on the subject that just blew my mind.

Starting around post 17 on:

there are some alternate ways of calculating Linear Regression that are most interesting. I never knew you could use the correlation coefficient and standard deviation to calculate the angular coefficient.

Might be of interest to you.

RE: A 1982 HP 12c and it's story - Zac Bruce - 08-02-2017 09:22 PM

Thanks Bob,

It made for an interesting read. There is a wealth of knowledge out there about the 12C, and I can only hope to obtain some small fraction of it.