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The Curta Mechanical Pocket Calculator

Hits: 5207 | Rating: (2.9) | Category: Technology | Added by: Squrlz4Sale
Jump to: Bottom    Last Post
Squrlz4Sale
Male, 40-49, Eastern US
 6018 Posts
Friday, February 22, 2013 11:55:34 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.

OldOllie
Male, 60-69, Midwest US
 12925 Posts
Friday, February 22, 2013 10:47:36 PM
@Squrlz4Sale We used slide rules just like that one to go to the moon.

paperduck
Male, 18-29, Midwest US
 1677 Posts
Friday, February 22, 2013 8:33:59 PM
Draculya what kind of company uses an abacus?

paperduck
Male, 18-29, Midwest US
 1677 Posts
Friday, February 22, 2013 8:32:17 PM
Wow must have sucked for inventor when the electronic calculator came out.

Draculya
Male, 40-49, Asia
 11486 Posts
Friday, February 22, 2013 8:24:46 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.

Squrlz4Sale
Male, 40-49, Eastern US
 6018 Posts
Friday, February 22, 2013 2:46:22 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.


skypirate
Male, 18-29, Southern US
 2024 Posts
Friday, February 22, 2013 2:04:13 PM
you could use the Curta in jostling environments


true, but rubber gromtes would allow that with a slide rule

piperfawn
Male, 30-39, Europe
 3752 Posts
Friday, February 22, 2013 1:46:48 PM
Just put an "Apple" brand on it and it will cost 3500 dollars.

Squrlz4Sale
Male, 40-49, Eastern US
 6018 Posts
Friday, February 22, 2013 1:41:13 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.

skypirate
Male, 18-29, Southern US
 2024 Posts
Friday, February 22, 2013 1:26:41 PM
yes yes, but will it blend?

5Cats
Male, 50-59, Canada
 24093 Posts
Friday, February 22, 2013 12:38:09 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

madduck
Female, 50-59, Europe
 5185 Posts
Friday, February 22, 2013 12:31:59 PM
I would simply love to have one of these. That is really cool!!

dm2754
Male, 40-49, Western US
 3122 Posts
Friday, February 22, 2013 12:05:08 PM
Leonardo da Vinci did in 1493

toqr
Male, 18-29, Europe
 198 Posts
Friday, February 22, 2013 11:33:45 AM
Full of win! And mechanics and stuff...

putzco
Male, 30-39, Midwest US
 205 Posts
Friday, February 22, 2013 11:19:44 AM
6:51....Ain't nobody got time fo' dat.

Gerry1of1
Male, 50-59, Western US
 33895 Posts
Friday, February 22, 2013 11:18:11 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.

mervviscious
Male, 40-49, Midwest US
 1807 Posts
Friday, February 22, 2013 11:14:27 AM
amazing...

Squrlz4Sale
Male, 40-49, Eastern US
 6018 Posts
Friday, February 22, 2013 10:37:19 AM
Link: The Curta Mechanical Pocket Calculator [Rate Link] - Before electronic calculators, the Curta was state-of-the-art. Now available on eBay for $810.


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