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The Rapid Collapse of the Swedish Mechanical Calculator Industry
10-04-2022, 07:16 PM (This post was last modified: 10-04-2022 07:18 PM by Maximilian Hohmann.)
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RE: The Rapid Collapse of the Swedish Mechanical Calculator Industry

(10-03-2022 08:05 PM)johanw Wrote:  Funny how completely different that worked out for the watch industry. First the Swiss watch industry is almost destroyed when the quarts movements are developed (lookup "quartz crisis" for more information), and now they manage to sell mechanical watches, who are in almost al, user aspects inferior to quartz watches (quartz is far more accurate, much cheaper to produce, much less fragile), for premium prices and make huge profits.

The Swiss watch industry was saved by a single person who must have been one of the great visionary geniuses of the 20th century. He could have saved every industry, including the one making Swedish calculators, but he happended to live in Switzerland and was more interested in watches than in calculators.
I was somewhere in Italy (Bologna it was, I will never forget!) having lunch with a Swiss colleague when we saw his death announced on a TV set that was running silently in the restaurant. My colleague, a fully grown up person and at that time was working as commercial pilot, almost (or rather really) broke out in tears when he read the news. Only then I realised how much Nicolas Hayek had done for the Swiss watch industry and for the Swiss ego in general.

(10-03-2022 08:05 PM)johanw Wrote:  A vintage HP calculator is not only much nicer to use that anything built since (SwissMicros excluded), but we also have the advantage that they are generally better tools than the newer stuff.

I do not concur. A tool is something that you need at work and which you must be able to rely on to some degree. But it is not a precious sacred thing that must be made in a way to live forever. It must come with a price tag that will allow you to generate a net positive income from your work. If all your workforce is required to pay off your tools then you better stop working and collect calculators instead. Therefore for me, should I ever use a calculator to generate income (will probably not happen...) a cheap Casio or Ti from a stationary shop is a much more useful tool than one of those HPs from the 1970ies or early 1980ies that cost as much as a monthly income.

And none of those ridicuosly expensive watches can ever be a tool because people who need that kind of tool (nobody does, anyway...) will not be able to afford one. These watches are nothing but pieces of jewelry and usually spend most of, or all of, their time in a bank safe.
And the same was true for Swedish calculating machines and HP calculators throughout the 1970ies, at least in my part of the world, namley central Europe. Without Texas Instruments I would not have been able to own and use a powerful calculator at school and universitry and without Swatch I would not be able a to wear a pretty, precise and dependable Swiss watch.
Or to afford the hobby of collecting watches :-) My Swatch collection has not yet outgrown my calculator collection in numbers, but by now I must at least have more Swatches than calculatos from HP.

Who knows, maybe one day Swiss Micros will be to the (HP) calculator industry what Swatch is to the watch industry?

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RE: The Rapid Collapse of the Swedish Mechanical Calculator Industry - Maximilian Hohmann - 10-04-2022 07:16 PM

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