1976 Book, Calculator Users Guide and Dictionary


I just got a 1976 book about calculators:
"Calculators Users Guide and Dictionary", by Charles J. Sippl. Matrix Publishers,1976.
Has descriptions of calculators manufactured by Adler, Burroughs, Canon, Casio, Biolator, Chromerics, Commodore, Compucorp, Fondilifier, Hanimex, HP, IBM, Litronix, Lloyds, Master specialties, Melcor, Monroe, Mostek, Olivetti, Olympia, Optel, National Semiconductor, Ricoh, Rockwell, Sharp, Sinclair, Tektronix, Telesensory, TI, Time computer inc, Underwood, Unitrex, Victor, Wang.
HPs described are: 65,25,21,35,45,22,80,81,

Introduction says: "Calculator industry specialists estimate that another 50 to 70 million calculators will be sold to North Americans from mid-1976 to mid-1978. The rate of sales jumped from a few million per year in the early 1970s to about 20 million in 1975. Exports of japanese calculators to the US in December 1975 alone totalled 1,550,521, according to the Japanese Finance Ministry. The japanese shipments to the US for 1975 totalled 11,074,779 (of the 32 million Japan and Far East produced). The US produces and sells about 7 to 9 million, the majority of them being the more expensive or high-end of the market. The retail prices of all units range from $5 to $10,000 - from shirt pocket simple arithmetic units to vey large calculator systems with pratically all the power, peripheral and versatility of medium-to-large computer-communications systems. Users range from 5-and-6-years-olds to atomic and space scientists and pratically everybody in between.".

My intention is to keep it - I think it is a "photograph" of 1976 situation. Anyway, if anybody is keen of books like this, I would trade it for some HP related stuff.

Renato (Brazil)



Can you check your book for a scientific calculator made by (I think !) Compucorp.

Pertinent to the discussion a few days ago by someone thinking they had used an HP 35 in 1969, I was trying to recall the scientific calculator I used when in graduate school. I borrowed it from one of the Profs - it was definitely a scientific calculator - and I think it was even programmable! When you mentioned Compucorp, a bell seemed to ring. This had to have been in 1971, 1972, or 1973, with '71 or '72 seeming most likely. I can not say for sure it preceeded the HP 35, but I had my own '35 by early 1973 (after borrowing my Father's prior to that) so I would not have borrowed this calculator after I had my own. Since I finished my thesis late in Summer 1973, my use certainly had to be earlier.

This calculator was about the size of a decent book: perhaps 9 or 10 inches tall, 6" wide, and 2" thick. I don't remember whether it had batteries or ran from a separate power supply. I also have no idea what it cost, but figured it was like the proverbial boat: if you have to ask, you can not afford it! (at least for graduate students. I got my '35 just at the time of the first price reduction, from $395 to $295. That was more than a month's salary for a student at that time.)

Thanks for any info you can find,



Dave, Compucorp 326, also sold as Monroe 326:
- over 100 preprogammed functions
- cassete tape storage for programs and data
- 160 program steps plus 12 data registers
- dimensions: 5"x2"x9", 3.5 lbs
No info on launch date, but 1976 price was $795


It might have been a Compucorp 322 or 324 'Scientist' -- AFAIK the only difference between those was that the 324 had twice as much program memory and had a switch on the keyboard to select between 2 'programs' (there was no way to have 1 large program, though).
It is programmable, but only just. It will remember a sequence of keystrokes and 'replay' them. When it gets to the end it starts again at the beginning automatically. There is a Start/Stop key (much like the R/S key on an HP) so you can enter values and display results.
The only other way to halt a program is to have an error (like dividing by 0). There are no GTOs or conditionals. And it uses infix notation, not RPN :-(.
It runs off 4 D cells (you're advised to use NiCds -- it'll drain a set of primary alkaline cells (like Duracells) in about 2 minutes). There's also a
socket for a charger/mains adapter. Inside it's 4 PCBs containing custom chips (made by TI), RAMs and a few smaller components. It's also got a pretty basic set of scientific functions (trig, logs, a^x, sqrt, 1/x, and not much more). But I guess it _is_ an early programmable calculator.
One turned up at a radio rally in the UK a couple of years back. It wasn't very expensive, so of course I bought it. But to _use_ I much prefer the HP65 or something...


Actually the 322?, 324, and 326 were identical inside. The only difference was the switche TOPS to enter program mode and select programs were not installed (the switches themsleves were). Compucorp charged an arm and a leg for different machines that only had 10 cent key tops installed on the slide switches as their only difference.


The 322 and 324 were basically the same machine, but the 326 was totally different in function (not form). It was a "real" programmable machine with branching, subroutines and even (optional) tape storage. Alex Knight has an excellent write up on this series:



I discovered that on mine! I thought it might have been a fluke.


No, I don't think Fluke made calculators, just Test Equipment. Maybe it is easy to confuse HP and Fluke as they both made good Test Equipment.



No, I knew it was a Compucorp, I just thought it was a fluke (a mistake that slipped through) that under the keyboard cover, I found all the switches from the higher model.

BTW, Fluke made some very computer-like dataloggers, I found a couple on Ebay and had to have them. They have CRT displays with touch screen input and 40 MB SCSI hard drives. These, and the Xerox Versatec electrostatic plotter that I bought in the only real face-to-face auction I ever attended, are the only products I've ever seen based on the TI 9900 microprocessor.

One other Fluke fact - I recently bought some Fluke mini data cassettes because they looked just like HP tapes for the HPIL tape drive in the photo on Ebay. They are just like the HP tapes except they have less tape (based on the number of turns of the hub to move all the tape). This is a warning to others but also a request: does anyone know if these tapes will work in the HP HPIL tape drive? I haven't tried them yet, I assume they will fail initialization unless maybe there is an undocumented command to alter the initialization, like the one that makes a 9114B format a single sided, 630K diskette.


Most of the Compucorp/Monroe/Sumlock etc machines can be found on Ebay for (usually) pretty reasonable prices... like less than $100.


Tony et al.,

The real question is "When did this/these machines appear?"

In other words, again a propos the discussion a few days ago about who was first, did these predate the HP35? I have a suspicion that they did. If that is the case, are there any other contenders for the first scientific calculator.

As I remember, I used it for trig and log/exp functions.



Just to say I had almost surely seen such Compucorp calculators in Buenos Aires around 1972-1973; but never from close enough to learn features nor use. The more detailed messages that followed in the thread will help you more than this vague memory...


Does your book have anything to say about an Olivetti Programma 101?


You can find quite a lot of info about it searching through the web:










Thanks, Massimo! I'd never tried a general search for this one, my mistake. Your links look like all I could want on the Programma 101.

Do you know of any links for the Western Digital Pascal Microengine? This is from the late 1970's. I've searched and searched for this one, found a couple of mentions but nothing that ever panned out.


You have new mail.




Olivetti P 101 function summary: base price:$1,695.00 language used: keyboard full instruction, number of storage registers: 10, storage capacity: 11 digits, program memory: shared, 120 instructions, type of display: impact printer.

Could not find anything about programming.


Especially Massimo! I so glad the original post made me think to ask about these machines. My Programma 101 is in good shape except the two belts on the printer are worn out and one of the mating nylon gears is split. I put on heavy rubber bands and the system worked a little before the rubber bands gave up. The system is so mechanical, every keypress must ultimately be acknowledged by a "print complete" signal or it just lights the error light - as I recall - it's been a couple of years since I fooled with it. At the time, I had plans to emulate the printer mechanics with a spare computer. Now that I have programming information, I will be more motivated to get back to it.

When you hit a key - or maybe just the function keys - the machine initiates a print operation by releasing a stop, allowing the print hammer to start moving across the paper using rotary motion from one of the two belts. In the meantime, the other belt is turning the print drum which includes a toothed magnet which induces timing pulses in a coil which are sensed by the electronics. The timing pulses tell the electronics when to activate the print hammer solenoid to print the right character. The series of pulses is repeated for each character location across the paper. When the print hammer gets to the far side of the paper it activates a switch (I think the switch might have been reversed at the start of the print operation) and this switch triggers the electronics to do something mechanical that returns the print hammer to its starting location. As is often the case, one big stumbling block is coming up with mating connectors for the original cable harnesses, because I don't want to cut any wires, so when one day I manage to fix the printer, I can put it all back as it started.

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