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36-year-old calculator ad - Printable Version

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36-year-old calculator ad - Don Shepherd - 06-02-2010

I was thumbing through my old Time magazines from 1974 and I came across this ad comparing Bowmar and TI calculators. Interesting what they considered important in 1974. Bowmar claims their offerings are superior to those of TI. Perhaps, but 36 years later TI is still going strong and Bowmar is just a faint memory.


funny enough - Frank Boehm (Germany) - 06-03-2010

the MX-25 uses a Texas Instruments TMS0803NC as a brain (which was then used a bit later by TI for the 2500-II)


Re: funny enough - Geoff Quickfall - 06-03-2010

not to mention most Bowmars were TIs Klixon key pads. They did make their own LEDs and these were in some cases, bigger then the TIs.




actually - Frank Boehm (Germany) - 06-03-2010

Bowmar only went into calculator business to sell their displays, this is why they started with OEM business only.
Bootnote of history: At times, Bowmar used TI displays, as well as TI used Bowmar displays - they were obviously interchangeable.


Re: actually - Joerg Woerner - 06-04-2010

At these times Bowmar couldn't pay cash for the (overpriced) TI calculator ships ;-))

Regards,
Joerg


Re: actually - Don Shepherd - 06-04-2010

"Ships" as in boats? Please explain.


Re: actually - Joerg Woerner - 06-04-2010

ships as in computer chips ;-))

Regards,
Joerg


Re: 36-year-old calculator ad - megarat - 06-04-2010

Quote:
Interesting what they considered important in 1974. Bowmar claims their offerings are superior to those of TI. Perhaps, but 36 years later TI is still going strong and Bowmar is just a faint memory.

What a lame comparison table. This looks more like an exercise to come up with any traits whatsoever that the Bowmar calculator has vs the TI. Ooh, a percent key! (At the sacrifice of the "CE" key, mind you.) And love that slimmer styling! And wow, the batteries are included, that's like so totally awesome!

They might as well have said:

-- Mostly beige
-- Vertical on-off switch
-- Smaller corporate logo
-- Easy to dust
-- Incorporates the word "brain" to sound really smart

Edited: 4 June 2010, 5:45 p.m.


Re: 36-year-old calculator ad - Don Shepherd - 06-04-2010

Those are good observations. In 1974, electronic calculators were so new that Bowmar could get away with meaningless comparison criteria; or, maybe they couldn't, because TI survived and they did not.

Which brings us to today, and if I were to make a list of criteria that a calculator had to include, to get me to buy it, it might look like this:

  1. conveniently fits in my shirt pocket
  2. solar powered so never needs batteries
  3. a large, clear display that I can read without a flashlight (TI NSpire, are you listening?)
  4. the keys always register the first time and are of sufficient size that I don't miskey entries
  5. you can figure out how it works without looking at the manual
  6. but, yes, there needs to be a printed manual with large type and no grammatical errors
  7. the calculator should look "professional", and I'll be the judge of that
  8. it must, of course, have the four basic arithmetic functions, plus typical math functions like square root, Log, etc.
  9. must support large integers; 20! should show me all the significant digits, not just 10 or 12
  10. programmable with sufficient memory and a way to backup/restore programs from a PC without a Master's degree in IT
  11. it must be a dedicated piece of hardware, not something that runs on devices that are also phones/cameras/gps recievers/voice recorders/Internet trash

I don't think my ideal calculator exists today. Hugh's Reckon probably comes closest.


Re: 36-year-old calculator ad - Martin Pinckney - 06-04-2010

Quote:
I don't think my ideal calculator exists today.

Oh, they exist, all right. Just not on the store shelves.

[O.K., maybe not ideal, but close to it]


Re: 36-year-old calculator ad - megarat - 06-05-2010

Not to ruin the "if wishes were fishes" theme, but requirements (2) and (10) don't seem mutually inclusive to me. You will need a battery of some sort for memory persistence.

One could argue that flash memory might be a solution, but I suspect that reading/writing to flash memory would take more power than a calculator-sized photovoltaic can muster.




Re: 36-year-old calculator ad - Bart (UK) - 06-05-2010

This NVSRAM might be an option. I was thinking of using this to make my own 48SX/GX RAM card.


Re: 36-year-old calculator ad - Don Shepherd - 06-05-2010

Quote:
requirements (2) and (10) don't seem mutually inclusive

I know nothing about power supplies, you may be right. But if we could put a man on the moon 41 years ago .....

: )


Re: 36-year-old calculator ad - Pierre Brial - 06-23-2010

What are automatic vs manual constants ?