Collectors: HP Only ?



#2

Hi all,

I'm curious to know: do you people in this forum who are
collectors collect just HP machines ? Or are there other
brands or models which you also collect and appreciate ?
If yes, which ones the most and why ? I believe TI is mostly despised among hardcore HP fans like myself, but, what
about other brands ? Is HP alone on its throne ?

Also, would you say that HP models are definitely well
above every other brands in quality and performance, or
perhaps the issue isn't quite so clear, and might even
be the other way around ? Is HP past fame the result
of really superior products, or is it more a matter of
blind faith in the superiority of its machines, a kind
of chauvinism, not really justified by hard facts ?

Finally, HP machines tend to raise to stratospheric prices
in eBay, supposedly reflecting their superior quality
and/or rarity and/or desirability. That's a fact. The
question is, are there any other brands which also get
such extremely high prices as well ? Which ones ? Do they
deserve it or is it just another inflationary bubble ?


#3

I collect a wide variety of machines. The ones that I have most of are HP's, TI's and National Semiconductor/Novus.

HP's were the most expensive back in my day (the 70's), but I liked RPN logic, and they were of very high quality; most of them still work today (if you replace the battery pack).

TI's were considered "the dark side" by myself and the other HP lovers I knew. They had the same or more functionallity as HP and were less expensive, but they were poorer quality. I'll admit I bought several then, but they broke down frequently. I always regretted it. I can't resist the temptation of collecting them now since many of my friends owned them.

I also collect National Semiconductor/Novus calculators, since they offered several different models (many variations of 4-function, "Mathematician", "Scientist", "Financier", "International Computer", and "Statisitcian", both in programmable and non-programmable form) with RPN, and I frequently read their brocuhres when I was younger. Now they can be had relatively cheaply. However, I have found them to be poorer quality and less capable than the HP's.


#4

There are 3 reasons I'm so attached to HP

1. quality

2. a LOT of programmables with very good models for handheld usability

3. quality


I have a couple TI programmables, and a lot of trs-80/sharp programmables.

I'm a nut for handheld computing, I think there's serious magic in the achieving of good usability/size/extensibility/programmability ratios.

HP has a special place in my "collection" mostly because they ahve produced some of the best- if not *the* best of the handhelds.

#5

<<I'm curious to know: do you people in this forum who are collectors collect just HP machines ? Or are there other brands or models which you also collect and appreciate ? If yes, which ones the most and why ? I believe TI is mostly despised among hardcore HP fans like myself, but, what about other brands ? Is HP alone on its throne ?>>


I don't collect just HP's, not even just calculators, but HP's are a central part of my collection. For some reason I like early, portable, microchip technology. In addtion to those qualifiers, anything that is innovative, well-designed, fits its intended purpose well. There's something else, an element of effort that comes through in a design. There was an attempt to carry the technology as far as it would go, you could see that the people cared about what they were doing, made right decisions. It's a 'magical' combination that stands out through time, even though the technology is obsolete. In fact that obsolescence makes it stand out even more. I don't despise TI's. I don't despise anything. It's not like that. It's more like certain things stand out against a neutral background.

<<Also, would you say that HP models are definitely well above every other brands in quality and performance, or perhaps the issue isn't quite so clear, and might even be the other way around ? Is HP past fame the result of really superior products, or is it more a matter of blind faith in the superiority of its machines, a kind of chauvinism, not really justified by hard facts ?>>

HP seems to have taken the technology most seriously, and took it further than anyone else. TI was closest with the 59, and even surpassed HP in many respects with that model, but they didn't follow up. HP was pretty consistent for two decades with excellent designs.

<<Finally, HP machines tend to raise to stratospheric prices in eBay, supposedly reflecting their superior quality and/or rarity and/or desirability. That's a fact. The question is, are there any other brands which also get such extremely high prices as well ? Which ones ? Do they deserve it or is it just another inflationary bubble ?>>

There are few as high as HP right now, but that could change. Compucorp can get as high as some HP's. Some Sinclair models. Even some Casio and Sharp handheld computers. Inflationary bubbles on ebay are not impenetrable though. Someone could get a 15C for $23 with 'buy-it-now' even while the bubble is at $200. Whether or not something deserves the price is subjective, but it can be argued that if it got that price it deserved it, barring any kind of fraud. ebay is a wonderful resource. You could spend decades looking for something you may find on ebay in weeks or months. You may have to pay for it but hey. It's far easier to be ready to pounce on a good deal on ebay than it is to spend years searching in vain until you find it in a flea market in a town where your car happens to brake down.

#6

i'm a slut. i like any old rpn. i have a privileg, a microcifra and an electronika that are as cool as a lot of hp's. i hate using aos calcers but you have to admit that the ti 58/59 series was a fine instrument; a more robust design than the hp spice series and more accurate than any hp before the saturns. i have one of each collecting dust.

everything that we like in hp units can be found -piece meal- in other rpn machines. a couple of russians were very versatile as programables, like i said once-the privileg is very accurate, some national semi's have a tactile feedback keyboard and the garrett's keyboard feels like a 91/97.

having said that: i use my 41 one or two dozen times a day and will carry nothing less. most of what i do does not require it but it doesn't feel right to get paid and use anything else.


#7

Hi db,

the Privileg could be a relabelled Commodore;-)

Regards,

Raymond


#8

it may be. mine is an sr 54 and thats all i know about it. it does have nicer keys than the other 4 commodores that i've seen. they are not as snappy as an hp but as good as an old ti or navtronic.

#9

Thought my interest is totally devoted to HP (I have about 50 calculators), I have recently bought a TI 59...


#10

Shame on you!! :)

#11

HP only (>100, about 20 FSOT, 23 to be complete [from my point of view]). I got some others, but they had been a "foreign body" in my show case.

Ciao.....Mike

BTW, I used intensively the HP-41, now the 200LX exactly fits my needs, but currently I'm looking for a adequate replacement. Probably I have to wate the same developement cycle as from 41 to 200. M.

#12

I don't want to raise ill will, but I have to ask the following question: Why collect calculators at all?

I'm asking out of personal experience -- I'm a collector too, of sorts at least. I have a 41CX, 32S, and a 28C. I'd be hard pressed to state that I use any of them on a daily basis.

What's that itch to possess calculators? Wouldn't it be enough to have one or two, and go to web sites such as this one to look at other machines?

Comments, please?


#13

You could ask the same question about collecting *anything*
:-)

Why buy yet another stamp or coin when you could easily
and cheaply look them up in some catalog ?

Several reasons:

- To make a profit. You buy at one price, then sell (much)
later at another. This is done all the time with
stamp collections, as an investment.

- Because you want to physically own the items. It's not
the same feeling looking at some gold coin in a paper catalog or on a screen than having it actually in your
hand, feeling its weight, its texture. It's not the same
seeing some vintage car in a display or catalog as
compared with actually driving it.

- plus there's the intimate satisfaction of knowing that
that thing you like it's actually yours, you own it.

Get the point ? Same with calculators ... and women.

#14

I don't consider myself a "collector" --- more of an interested hobbyist. I "collect" whatever scientifics the local Goodwill or Salvation Army (or other) thrift store happens to have when I drop in.

I'm still interested, I think, for two reasons. First, I "grew up" programming in constrained environments, and so like to play around with portable, limited, easy-to-learn programmable things. Second, calculator use is nostalgic: reminding me of my undergraduate days, when I would carry on my belt the answer to most any (it seemed) technical question that was likely to arise on a given day -- it was a real feeling of confidence and power.

And make no mistake, I think HP had 'em all beat from the quality, ease-of-use, rational design, and utility standpoints.

#15

From my (not yet published update of my) site: "I once had a vision. Then I bought an HP-41C and this vision became reality."

That's it.
No, not realy: Since the relation to my wife went from nice to not-so-nice I have the time for a hobby of my own ;)

Ciao.....Mike

A bit dated, but I will do the update ASAP:
http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/nutem/

#16

All during high school, I read the brochures and fantasized about owning these calculators. Now that I'm older, have a job, and through the miracle of the internet and eBay, I can make this fantasy a reality!

Weird? Yes, I agree.

#17

not sure when i became a collector. the only calcs i've ever had until recently were HP (a friend gave me her Novus because it was RPN). so for me, nostalgia is a big part of it...the recollection of being able to run a program on my 25 rather than sloshing through the Corvallis rain to receive yet another core dump from the computer center.

i moved on to a 34C, 15C in college, and a 41CV at work. i eventually sold the 25 and 34C, with little regret. i'll never part with my 15C, and bought a 12C to keep in my car instead. i traded a NIB 32Sii for a 41CX, and pick up 41 accessories as opportunity, time, and budget allow, just because i always wanted them. other than 41 series, the palmtops are the only remaining items i must have (so far only 100lx, 200lx are mine, still looking for a deal on a 95lx and 1000cx).

guess you could say i'm a collector of limited interest.

/bs


#18

Hi All,

I collect many brands. HP has some great calcs, but there were others. I have a rather complete collection of the comupucorp 300 series machines and I also have plenty of monroe machines. Commodore made a number of machines that were pretty good from the standpoint of functionality but very short on quality. I also collect Russian Scientifics. They are interesting for their quirkyness...some of them are just plain inaccurate! An interesting series of machines was made by Aristo in Germany. Very unique looking and well built...not to technially advanced however. Over all, it's just a great hobby and I've met a number of great people as well....

#19

I'm not a collector.

Why ? Because, to be a collector is to be alienated to something. And my way of life (it may be considerated as an alienation) is to clear my life of alienations !!!!

Thanks to everybody.


#20

Anonymous wrote:

<<to be a collector is to be alienated to something. And my way of life (it may be considerated as an alienation) is to clear my life of alienations !!!!>>

Could you explain this? How is being a collector being alienated from something? You mean from the thing you're collecting?


#21

Being a collector will lead you to desire. You will want to own new items, new collectables. To be in the possession will lead you to the desire of possession.

I prefer to be in love. In love of everything I meet in my life.

We are our own jail.

Many thanks to everybody.


#22

Like Gollum and The Ring?

#23

Anonymous wrote:

<<Being a collector will lead you to desire. You will want to own new items, new collectables. To be in the possession will lead you to the desire of possession.

I prefer to be in love. In love of everything I meet in my life.

We are our own jail.

Many thanks to everybody.>>


Oh, so you mean alienation from a desire-free state, a state that allows one to love everything impartially without preference or predjudice. A noble goal, but perhaps the repression of the less noble, more mundane elements in our nature is not the best way to achieve it. Doesn't self-acceptance go hand in hand with other-acceptance? The exclusive emphasis on either may be the real problem.

#24

Thanks to all of you who commented on my original questions. Now that it seems the thread is more or less over, I think it's proper
to briefly give my own opinions as well. All that follows
is IMO, of course:

> do you people in this forum who are collectors collect just HP machines ?

Though I do have a large number of HP machines, even as
many as three or four for some models, most mint or new,
I also collect other brands, mainly SHARP, with the
occasional CASIO and TI thrown in for good measure.


> would you say that HP models are definitely well above every other brands in quality and performance, or perhaps the issue isn't quite so clear


It isn't quite so clear. There are contemporary models
by other brands that are superior to HP's in a number of
ways.


> Is HP past fame the result of really superior products, or is it more a matter of blind faith ?


50/50


> are there any other brands which also get such extremely high prices as well ?

Yes, there are. Some have already been mentioned in this
thread, and I've seen several SHARP machines getting
well over $200 and, in one case, $375 in eBay. Same for
some CASIOs.

So it seems we collectors won't be out of business any
time soon. If our HP collections are complete (95C and all)
and/or most HP machines are way too expensive, there are other
brands that may keep us enjoying that hunting feeling
again.


#25

John Smith weote:

<<Though I do have a large number of HP machines, even as many as three or four for some models, most mint or new, I also collect other brands, mainly SHARP, with the occasional CASIO and TI thrown in for good measure>>


Ahh! A Sharp collector! (I have some too). Maybe you could explain to me the high prices a few models get while others do not. I'm thinking of the 5100 series and/or the 5500 series I think. Is it just that these are the most rare or the coolest or...?


#26

Steve wrote:

> Maybe you could explain to me the high prices a few models get while others do not. I'm thinking of the 5100 series
and/or the 5500 series I think. Is it just that these are the most rare or the coolest or...?


That's right. The EL-5100 series are among the oldest (circa
1980, i.e: almost 23 years old ) really advanced scientific calculators, and arguably the most
beatiful calculators ever made
, and incredibly solidly
built. The two units I own are absolutely mint, silvery
and smooth, and working perfectly after all those years.
For their time, they were incredibly advanced calculators and a real
pleasure to use, being extremely slim and lightweight.

Though they
aren't really comparable, as they aren't programmable,
placing an HP-41C next to a Sharp EL-5100 will easily
remind you of "Beauty and the Beast", really ! :-) Poor
41C's chunky black plastic body seems nearly preposterous
when compared to the extremely slim, all-metallic, silvery
SHARP. And the segmented, 12-char grey LCD display is also
no match for the Sharp's 24-char, dot matrix yellow LCD display. Same for the colour-coded keyboard, where
each and every key has a metallic ring surrounding it,
also color-coded (gold, silver). A truly jewel of a machine.

If you want to see info and images of this superbly
beautiful calculator, click these links below, though be warned
that the images don't do it justice, at all ! The actual, machine,
when in your hand, is much, much prettier, really awesome
if in mint condition.


Sharp EL-5100's info & pic from Viktor T. Toth's superb site


Good EL-5100 image from The Pocket Computer Museum


Sharp EL-5100's info & pic from Michael Briley's "Too many calculators" site


#27

For the programmables, the cost goes up with the mode4ls that fit in the cassette/printer cradle. (which is a fantastic system, and very expensive. Something as unified for the 71b would have been nice)

Also, the models with the largest displays and best graphics handling are also very pricey.


but these aren't, strictly speaking, calcs. As pocket computers, though, they are superb machines with a constant developmetal history to the present. And as Sharp didn't (entirely) cave into the abortion that is CE, your biorythm program from 1979 on the first sharp will run without much modification on your newest wizard.

Pretty cool, eh?

#28

Steve wrote:

John Smith wrote:

<<> Maybe you could explain to me the high prices a few models get while others do not. I'm thinking of the 5100 series and/or the 5500 series I think. Is it just that these are the most rare or the coolest or...?

That's right. The EL-5100 series are among the oldest (circa 1980, i.e: almost 23 years old ) really advanced scientific calculators, and arguably the most beatiful calculators ever made, and incredibly solidly built. The two units I own are absolutely mint, silvery and smooth, and working perfectly after all those years. For their time, they were incredibly advanced calculators and a real pleasure to use, being extremely slim and lightweight.>>


Oh I see. So there was a lot that was new in the 5100; a lot of new concepts and new functionality. With nonvolatile ram and advances in LCD's came formula storage and an editable command line. The latter was a real revolution though not at all friendly to the survival of RPN, at least not to most people,(but who cares about them?). Sharp did a nice job of packaging these features, particularly in size.
All this new capability in a package that was significantly smaller than most calcs of the day would have been very impressive, and rightly so.

#29

I'm a confirmed HP/RPN bigot, and I really like the looks of the HP-41. However, I have to confess that the Sharp EL-5100 looks really... ummm... "sharp!" It looks a bit like an upscale version of an HP-71 or one of the Voyager calcs.

#30

Mine is an EL-5100S -- in only "good" condition.

It worked only sporadically when I got it, but I found that the clear plastic insulator inside the back cover had worn through, and as a result the batteries gounded against the case. I stuck part of a post-it in there (non-permanent but effective) and it now works fine!

I note in the third of your links that the 5100S is supposed to have an "improved" display. Mine is the typical blue-gray color (and so not as distinctive as the yellow), but is indeed a very clear and readable display.

Thanks for the information and links!


#31

Hi, Paul, you wrote:

> Mine is an EL-5100S [ ... ] I note in the third of your
links that the 5100S is supposed to have an "improved"
display. Mine is the typical blue-gray color (and so
not as distinctive as the yellow), but is indeed a very clear and readable display.


Your gray display is the improved version, indeed.
SHARP was the leader in LCD research, and their first
yellow version included a special filter to block out
ultraviolet radiation, which would create black stains
and otherwise damage the display, hence the yellow color.
The gray version is more resilient to UV, so no extra
filter needed.

As long as you avoid UV (i.e: sunlight) on your
5100 display (or TRS-80 PC-1/Sharp PC-1210, 1211, etc),
there's nothing to worry about. All my many yellow LCD
Sharps have extremely clear and clean displays though
they are 20+ years old.

As far as I know, there are no HP yellow-LCD
displays, but perhaps there's some large HP desktop
calculator/computer which uses one ? By the way, it would
be nice to have a yellow-LCD HP-41C, right ? :-)


> Thanks for the information and links!

You're welcome, glad you liked it, and again, thanks
to everyone who posted to this thread, your comments have
been most interesting.


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