HP-41 Beer Brewing Computer


Recently I got an HP-41CX which most probably was used in the beer brewing process. Sure one of the most serious and beneficial application you can ever think of ;-) It has an overlay (glued onto the keyboard) which is labelled 'Courage Lager Computer'. Courage is a beer brewing company in the UK (now owned by Heineken). Unfortunately, I have got no software (module or magnetic cards, I don't know) with it. Does anybody know anything about this custom HP-41 version? Any hints, thoughts, etc. highly appreciated!


I saw the auction as well, passed on it since no module was included - but I certainly like the overlay. Unfortunately I have no information at all on source/purpose, there goes another undocumented jewel to the pile... thanks for sharing the pic.


There was a 42S version as well. I think both were produced by Zengrange.

(Edited to fix the image link)

Edited: 28 Aug 2011, 5:45 p.m.


Hi Bruce,

That a pretty neat overlay for the Hp-42S. I didn't realize that overlays were even made for the 42s.

Does anyone know of any other 42S overlays?

Also, do you have the 42s Code, or just the overlay? It'd be interesting to see what the programs look like.



I have a feeling that these calculators would have come on to the market via a disposal sale as the Courage brewery closed last year. I would imagine any software would have been removed as this would contain details of ingredient ratios and timings which would be trade secrets. The overlays look pretty neat though and they are probably a decent investment if bought for the right price as breweriana collectors would probably be very interested.


I would imagine any software would have been removed as this would contain details of ingredient ratios and timings which would be trade secrets.

You would think so. But.... If the calculator was being disposed of by an employee, then the code "might" still be there. We could only hope.

It is amazing how much stuff gets sold with data still intact. I have bought used cell phones from a supplier in Hong Kong where the phones came with all the phone numbers, phone call history, etc, still intact. No attempt was made to erase or reset the phones.

A few years ago, I picked up a tablet computer that still had the database code for a hospital system. And also picked up a tablet computer that had the programs for crash reporting for a police department. While the programs were there, neither had stored data on them. The actual data would have been transmitted to a central computer for storage.

So it would not surprise me if a calculator gets sold with the code still intact.


Edited: 29 Aug 2011, 10:26 a.m.


What kind of code could a 42S have had? I imagine they would have used a ROM module for the HP-41, but a 42S? I doubt they had HP program custom code into them, so I guess that leaves IR or some guy keying in a keystroke program.


Probably, there was no 41C ROM module either. There were many application packages that only exist on magnetic cards. On the other hand, if this custom version was produced by Zengrange as BruceH supposed, I would assume they put the software into a ROM module.

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