In Praise of Dirty Calculators


I'm not sure I've seen anyone post this, but I am a fan of dirty calculators.

I just bought a "heavily used" HP-35 for $32 USD. It turned out not to be heavily used, just heavily dirty. It cleaned up to one of the nicest in my collection.

It's been my experience that some of the dirtiest calculators were also the least used, so the key action is still excellent. The corrosion damage is a gamble on any machine, even ones that look clean in the pictures. I, personally, would rather take my chances on 3 unknowns for the same price as 1 advertised as working. Especially if they're dirty.


Definitely. A cosmetically flawed calculator can be a great advantage for the buyer (within reason, of course). My 17bii was an excellent deal, as it was missing the case, and had some minor paint flaking on the face plate. It works just as good as new, though. The 48SX I keep on my desk at work has a couple minor scuffs on the screen, but everything else cleaned up great with a little alcohol, and it feels sturdier than any 48G/GX I own. Recently, I bought a heavily discounted 12c from a local office supply store that was closing down. All they had left was the display model (manufactured some 7 years ago), but with a few minutes' cleaning, it looked - and worked - like it had just come out of the box.

Now I just need to score a similar deal on a 32sii!


Hi, Doc;

I bought a Commodore N60 clone a few months ago. Check this out:

Click to enlarge

Now it looks like this (did not complete the electronics so far):

Click to enlarge

Yep, the [x2] key is sideways... and there are two [DIR1] keys, no [SPD1]. Some of the keys were retouched with fine-tip pen marker (will provide a better finishing later).

I also like the 'heavy duty' appearance, but not always I see 'good guts'...


Luiz (Brazil)

Edited: 1 Dec 2009, 6:56 a.m.

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