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Category: Tech
Date: 02/22/13 10:55 AM

18 Responses to The Curta Mechanical Pocket Calculator

  1. Profile photo of Squrlz4Sale
    Squrlz4Sale Male 40-49
    6230 posts
    February 22, 2013 at 10:37 am
    Link: The Curta Mechanical Pocket Calculator - Before electronic calculators, the Curta was state-of-the-art. Now available on eBay for $810.
  2. Profile photo of mervviscious
    mervviscious Male 40-49
    1794 posts
    February 22, 2013 at 11:14 am
    amazing...
  3. Profile photo of Gerry1of1
    Gerry1of1 Male 50-59
    36208 posts
    February 22, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Nice, but wouldn`t a slide rule have been easier/cheaper?
    If you`re too young to know what a slide rule is, google it and learn something.
  4. Profile photo of putzco
    putzco Male 30-39
    213 posts
    February 22, 2013 at 11:19 am
    6:51....Ain`t nobody got time fo` dat.
  5. Profile photo of toqr
    toqr Male 18-29
    199 posts
    February 22, 2013 at 11:33 am
    Full of win! And mechanics and stuff...
  6. Profile photo of dm2754
    dm2754 Male 40-49
    3284 posts
    February 22, 2013 at 12:05 pm
    Leonardo da Vinci did in 1493
  7. Profile photo of madduck
    madduck Female 50-59
    7421 posts
    February 22, 2013 at 12:31 pm
    I would simply love to have one of these. That is really cool!!
  8. Profile photo of 5Cats
    5Cats Male 50-59
    31783 posts
    February 22, 2013 at 12:38 pm
    3:00 It counts up to TEN MILLION TURNS!??!
    That would take 1,000 years of cranking!

    ooo, ic! It`s for multiplication :-)

    I remember when my Dad (who was an accountant) brought home an electronic calculator. He checked the multiplication tables to make sure it was accurate...



    Burroughs Adding Machine: Class 1 Style 5, apx 1900. It cost about $400, that`s about 10K in modern terms.

    Interesting History Of Them
  9. Profile photo of skypirate
    skypirate Male 18-29
    2347 posts
    February 22, 2013 at 1:26 pm
    yes yes, but will it blend?
  10. Profile photo of Squrlz4Sale
    Squrlz4Sale Male 40-49
    6230 posts
    February 22, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    @Gerry: I agree that a slide rule, for most purposes, was a lot more cost effective. The special niche of the Curta, however, was that it gave exact (i.e., digital) results of large calculations and not the approximations of a slide rule. Another advantage (as pointed out in the video) was that you could use the Curta in jostling environments, such as the passenger seat of a rally car, where using a slide rule would be all but impossible.

    Personally, I find the design of the Curta incredibly elegant--a zenith of form-follows-function design. I have no idea how some parts of it were accomplished mechanically. For example: the readout of the numbers in the windows at the top of the device. The numbers are so close together, I don`t think there`s enough room for numbered gears turning on a vertical axis. So how do they work? I`d love to see the inside of the device.
  11. Profile photo of piperfawn
    piperfawn Male 30-39
    4888 posts
    February 22, 2013 at 1:46 pm
    Just put an "Apple" brand on it and it will cost 3500 dollars.
  12. Profile photo of skypirate
    skypirate Male 18-29
    2347 posts
    February 22, 2013 at 2:04 pm
    you could use the Curta in jostling environments

    true, but rubber gromtes would allow that with a slide rule
  13. Profile photo of Squrlz4Sale
    Squrlz4Sale Male 40-49
    6230 posts
    February 22, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    @Skypirate: "True, but rubber grommets would allow that with a slide rule."

    It`s not so much an issue of the slide rule sliding inadvertently (they tended to hold their positions well and required some real pushing to slide), but an issue of reading the tiny increments you find on a slide rule. Imagine trying to make sense of the below if it was bouncing around in your lap.

  14. Profile photo of Draculya
    Draculya Male 40-49
    14544 posts
    February 22, 2013 at 8:24 pm
    Ultimate? Friden SRW is far more advanced.

    My maths teacher used an Odhner and was faster than students using an electronic calculator. I used slide rules for fuel consumption and cross wind calculations. My company still uses abacuses.

    Mechanical calculation works.
  15. Profile photo of paperduck
    paperduck Male 18-29
    1745 posts
    February 22, 2013 at 8:32 pm
    Wow must have sucked for inventor when the electronic calculator came out.
  16. Profile photo of paperduck
    paperduck Male 18-29
    1745 posts
    February 22, 2013 at 8:33 pm
    Draculya what kind of company uses an abacus?
  17. Profile photo of OldOllie
    OldOllie Male 60-69
    15844 posts
    February 22, 2013 at 10:47 pm
    @Squrlz4Sale We used slide rules just like that one to go to the moon.
  18. Profile photo of Squrlz4Sale
    Squrlz4Sale Male 40-49
    6230 posts
    February 22, 2013 at 11:55 pm

    @OldOllie: "We used slide rules just like that one to go to the moon."

    Yes, I know, Ollie. The point I`m echoing from the video is that it`s easier to read the digits off a Curta when you`re bouncing around in a rally car than it is to read the increments off a slide rule. If you dispute that, I`d like to see you solve 26,648 * 439,417 with a slide rule while jogging on a treadmill @ 6 mph. You *could* do exactly that with a Curta--and get an exact answer, not a slide rule`s approximation.

    @Draculya: "Ultimate? Friden SRW is far more advanced."

    Draculya, the whole point of this post is that the Curta was state-of-the-art in POCKET calculators (see the title of this post). At over 40 pounds, the Friden SRW was hardly pocketable.

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