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The Rapid Collapse of the Swedish Mechanical Calculator Industry
10-05-2022, 03:49 AM (This post was last modified: 10-05-2022 03:58 AM by johnb.)
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RE: The Rapid Collapse of the Swedish Mechanical Calculator Industry
(10-04-2022 07:16 PM)Maximilian Hohmann Wrote:  
(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.

Apologies to poor Johan for being mistaken for me; the second quote was actually mine!

First off, I think you and I agree more than we disagree. The reason I collect HP calculators in the first place is that I could see they were superior to other calculators in the 1970's - 1990's, but I could not afford one until prices for the basic units dropped to about $80. Some guys get the red sports car when they finally make it; I got a collection of HPs! LOL!

But about it being a precious [but not sacred] thing. Certain works of craftmanship come along only once. Theatre Organs (another of my hobbies) were largely built only in the 1915-1929 time frame, and only in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia (& maybe New Zealand). They were an economical alternative to an orchestra to accompany silent films. Once "talkies" arrived, they were a curiosity. But they are a REMARKABLE curiosity: they're a full-blown synthesizer built from nothing more than circa-1900 electropneumatic technology.

So there are those of us who labor diligently to save the few remaining Theatre Organs in the world, preventing them from being carelessly demolished (not always successfully), and restoring them to their former glory so that future generations can enjoy them and be astonished at "what we once did with only string and baling wire."

I view restoring and preserving HP calculators (and other engineering accoutrements, such as the Curta) in the same light. "These were once so hugely expensive such that few could buy them, but they were engineered better than all the rest of the competition." It's why it upsets me to hear that someone tossed their old 42 or 32sII just because they thought it didn't work, or they didn't need it any more. It's why it angers me that some opportunists are taking hacksaws to beautiful mint-condition Curtas to produce fakes of the coveted "cutaway sales models."

Whew. But, yeah, you have to be able to afford a thing in order to have the thing to use!!


Daily drivers: 11c, 32sII, 35s, 41cx, 48g. Favorite: 16c. Current projects: WP 34s/31s.
Gateway drug: 28s found in yard sale ~2009.
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RE: The Rapid Collapse of the Swedish Mechanical Calculator Industry - johnb - 10-05-2022 03:49 AM

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