HP-26 Minimal Calculator


After reading comments in the past about minimal calculators, I though you would like to see one which I think HP should make today...


Very nice!


That's a nice job with the HP 26!

I built a wooden mock-up of a minimal RPN scientific calculator back in the 1980's. I gave it to John Ball, the author of "Algorithms for RPN Calculators." It had purple and green shift keys on it. I wonder if HP ever saw it? John wrote back that he would put in on his desk. (Of course, I didn't put Hewlett-Packard or HP anywhere on it.)


I'm afraid LEDs are out for good on calculators. Unless the organic ones that Veira mentioned become cheap somehow. Still, it won't quite be the same old-world charm. Also, I think that HP sees themselves as being too far above such a simple calculator.

There are so many vintage things coming back into style, I wonder if it will ever go back to calculators? I doubt it. There are too few people who appreciate the style and character over size, cheap price, and convenience... It's a shame too.

Now you have got me to thinking. I wonder if you could actually build a calc like that with some creative surgery...?



>There are so many vintage things coming back into style

You can say that again. Even Ford Motor Company seems to be caught in the "it's bold to be old" current -- the company is supposed to sell brand-new Model T cars to celebrate its 100 years. This piece of news was on the web a while ago, and although it wasn't posted on April 1st or December 28, it may have been an April/December Fool's Day item.

Wouldn't it be nice, though? I'd buy one Model T, no questions asked, without even glancing at the price tag. Just as long as I can hear that "chugga-chugga-chugga" and "ah-OOOOO-ah!"

-Ernie "T" Malaga


Now, THAT'S what I'm talkin' about!

A "real" car. When a good, loud "ah-OOOOO-ah" meant something!! (Like, "get out of my way, the brake's failed again...")

Actually, for me, it'd be much more fun restoring an old one with a complete set of replacement parts available...

Now, there's an idea! We've been trying to get HP to build 15C's, 42S's, and 34C's and others. We should make it MUCH easier for them:

If only they'd make available a fresh supply of cases, keys, main circuits boards and chips, LED modules, etc., I'd be happy to save them the trouble of producing an assembled unit! (What's the code for an Omaha built 29C...?)

Oh, wait a minute. I'm awake again. :(


Good idea. I wish it would happen but it seems unlikely. I remember reading somewhere (this forum?) that years ago, Educalc tried to obtain from HP the molds and tooling for the battery packs, so they could manufacture new ones. HP turned them down.

I suspect if Bill or Dave had still been running the company, things would have been different. They would have asked, "Does this provide something of value to our customers?" and proceeded accordingly. Sadly that kind of thinking is no longer in fashion.

(Anyway, circuit boards and chips are not the problem. The tough part are the cases, keys, and other mechanical items. And displays, whether LED or custom LCD.)

Nice dream, though.

- Michael


Does that mean that on the 100th Anniversity in 2072, we'll get a new HP-35? =)


Sure, and if I make it to 114, I'll be the first on line for one!

(And I suppose the Stones will still be touring, too.)

- Michael


Glad you all liked it!

Is it more useful to have a x<>y key or a Roll down??

I spent ages trying to decide and I am still not sure.


x<>y is more useful than Roll down here, IMHO.

But suppose you made it a shift key instead. Then you could add 19 functions. But that might not be in the spirit of the minimal calculator.

The 26 does seem like the smallest RPN calculator that could do useful work. But maybe it needs to be a 26C instead. Still minimal but without the amnesia.

- Michael

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