36-year-old calculator ad


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.


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


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.


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.


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



"Ships" as in boats? Please explain.


ships as in computer chips ;-))



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.


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.


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]


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.


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


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 .....

: )


What are automatic vs manual constants ?

Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  HP35 Ad. from 1972 with calculation error reused in 2009? Michael Kathke 46 8,211 05-14-2013, 03:52 PM
Last Post: Dieter
  Another PPC DVD Update: 30th Year of Datafile + HP Conference Index Jake Schwartz 0 754 03-31-2013, 01:40 PM
Last Post: Jake Schwartz
  What didn't you do last year ? Michael de Estrada 16 3,064 01-09-2013, 01:45 PM
Last Post: Marcus von Cube, Germany
  World Wide New Year... :-) Diego Diaz 2 1,054 01-03-2013, 06:00 PM
Last Post: Diego Diaz
  Happy New Year! Eddie W. Shore 8 1,968 01-02-2013, 01:50 PM
Last Post: Chris Dreher
  Thanksgiving comes twice this year db (martinez, ca.) 25 4,461 11-26-2012, 10:49 AM
Last Post: Massimo Gnerucci (Italy)
  Happy New Year 0111.1101.1100 Marcus von Cube, Germany 10 2,183 01-02-2012, 01:58 PM
Last Post: Dave Shaffer (Arizona)
  New Year's resolutions ? Michael de Estrada 7 1,612 12-19-2011, 11:19 PM
Last Post: David Hayden
  Pictures of the HP15C LE and HP 12C 30th Year Anniversary Edition Eddie W. Shore 1 791 09-21-2011, 12:31 PM
Last Post: hpnut
  TI Minimath would be 40 this year :-( Joerg Woerner 0 597 09-05-2011, 01:35 PM
Last Post: Joerg Woerner

Forum Jump: