Thursday, January 20, 2011

Evolution of Pocket Calculator Pricing

A big thanks to Pat Ballew of Pat's Blog for turning me on to Microsoft Mathematics version 4.0, which is now downloadable and free! Pat has a nice write-up about it: here.

The first 2 pictures below are of the pricey Hewlitt-Packard HP-45, which came out in 1973, and the Texas Instruments SR-50, 1974. I was a high school senior and CUA Aerospace Engineering college freshman in 1974. Being a poor college boy, the TI was much cheaper, so that's what I bought.

And now this stuff is FREE!

HP-45 (1973) $395
TI SR-50 (1974) $170
Microsoft Mathematics ver, 4.0 Jan. 2011 On-line (Free!)


Pat B said...

Not sure I remember all the details exactly, but around 1970 there was a major issue of one of the "picture" magazines, (Look, or Life or ??). The cover story was "The calculator revolution". The cheapest of the Lot was a casio (I think) four function calculator that didn't have the decimal point.... $70.00..

Steven Colyer said...

You know, I'd forgotten about that, but you just reminded me, thanks.

Sure, I guess I should rename this this the Pocket Scientific Calculator Price Evolution - that is, the first to have trigonometric functions.

I vaguely remember my Dad's insurance agent going goosey about his brand-spanking new-fangled E-LECT-TRON-IC "adding machine" around then. It was the size of an iPad and had a heavy base an a long cord that plugged into a socket, and was the same size as its replacement, the mechanical "adding machine." The big thing was that it was much quieter. And shiny lights in the display. Spacey!

Then again, I remember TELEX machines when I started in the business word, and "carbon copiers" in the school systems when I started as a kindergarten student. And Al Shepard's first suborbital flight.

Thanks for making me feel "old", Pat! lol

At least I don't remember Sputnik. I was but a wee lad of 11 months old at the time. :-)

Steven Colyer said...

Thanks for the mention, Pat.

We've Come a Long Way, Baby"