HP-31E's thin Owner's Handbook


Norm posted to the Add section:

"Hi, interested in HP-31E [ ... ] I've got an "owner's handbook" which is small and thin, but
Surely there is an "owner's manual" that is bigger and thicker ??"

Nope. The HP-31E is such a simple calculator that its "Owner's Handbook" is correspondingly small and thin, not 34C's "class".

Similarly, the HP-10C Owner's Handbook is also very small and thin, unlike the very thick HP-15C's. This is just to be expected, there's only so much you can tell the user about his 31E or 10C. You may find some relief in comparing it to the pathetic "Owner's Handbook" of HP(?, more like "KP", for "Kinpo") latest models, i.e. that regal, deluxe, folded A3-size sheet (or should it be "sh*t" ?).

Best regards from V.


Amen to that!


Thanks for the update, Valentin.

I am shocked! The almighty invincible "HP Gods of the 1970's" seem to be ever more vulnerable to criticism.

The calculators have solderless designs, don't properly accept AA batteries, and now, no decent owner's manual for a 31E ??

Ok I'm looking at it now... that owner's handbook doesn't say much about the 3 storage registers..... there are no cute little "storybook" problems, its too quick and too short.

What got into HP at this moment in time (1978), did Bill Gates work there at the time as an apprentice ? ("lets get rid of the owner's manuals, and unplug the telephones so nobody can call us, derr yuk derr yuk!")

Would we presume that the Charlie Chaplin RPN tutorial guidebook "solving problems with your hewlett packard calculator" would be included in the original box of a 31E ??

Hey I still need a furry case.... I'd even take an extra copy of this 31E manual.....

- Norm


The furry lined cases were reserved for the more expensive machines like the 38C/E... complete with belt loop so the finance guys could now look like a real engineering nerd.

The 31E came with the cloth lined case... the lining was backed with the infamous "disinegrates into black sticky dust" liner.

Some 34C's came with fur others had cloth.


Every 34C case i ever saw had nice brown fur inside.
They did not deteriorate, they are nice even today.

I guess that is the type of case I am looking for.
Would take a raincheck on cloth...... wont protect
the display as well ....... don't like that special
feature where it automatically disintegrates into
dust (probably the managers hired a polymer chemist
to formulate something that disintegrates the
day after the warranty expires).


Towards the end of the 34C production run, the bean counters got loose and switched to the cheaper cloth lined case.

If the backing to the cloth lining does turn to dust, just toss the case in the washing machine. It will come out looking good as new. Let it air dry with the zipper proped open.


always cracks me up, board of directors is sitting in their $3000 power suits, clustered around their $40,000 Mahogany boardroom table, in their $8 Million dollar building, charging a collective hourly rate of $5000 an hour to sit there, receiving perks and bonuses of $800,000 per board member per year. SO THEN WHAT...... they come up with the brilliant plan to deprive the CUSTOMER of 14 cents worth of fur fabric to be sewn into the calculator case.

Impressive psychological behavior. Very, very impressive. I bow down in admiration of these boardroom millionaires, they are so brilliant.



I have an "observed wisdom" concept which the other day I mentioned to someone, who said they thought exactly the same thing on their own.

The idea is simple: Approximately 10 years after a new "technology" or product type (e.g. VCR, CD player, handheld computer, weed wacker, plutonium beta decay powered hedge trimmer etc) has been introduced, you will reach the pinnacle of that product in terms of quality value for the dollar. The item may get less expensive from there on, but its lifespan or quality will reduce. Before 10 years, you have all sorts of problems or issues that really need to be improved.

The basic idea is that in the lifecycle of a product, you go from a rapid improvement phase, with rising sales, to a more mature phase, where the rate of increase in sales is levelling off. At this time, your corporate resouces have also been growing to meet the demands created by the development phase. So, when the sales growth rate flattens (with sales still rising of course) then the company looks to trim costs, because it is natural to think that (1) we should be able to maintain the same profit per unit, and (2) it sure would be nice to avoid laying off lots of people just yet...so we better cut costs--or, can we "minimize" or "optimise" (and they are not the same thing...).

So, that is why the 1980's HP caclulators are so valuable--and so cherished by us. Voyager, Pioneer, even the 41 (almost---someone-argue this one!) are at the pinnacle. We see the quality falling off already in the Pioneers--but higher reliability so they are "better". Look at the "classics" and "Woodstocks" and "Spices" and you find some really great early "built like a tank" features but you also find certain weaknesses....2 disease......


yup, like a tree ...

trees all grow the same, just like companies .

They go thru a rapid early growth phase and
go from sapling to big tall tree......

then they stop growing, and just sort of exist
for awhile..... while moss builds up on the
trunk and the limbs....

finally they become diseased..... and the bugs
and the worms start gnawing away at the wood....

finally it dies and falls over .

Who are the bugs and the worms ? Why, those
critters in the dark blue suits in the boardroom
of course....... and their petty little "cost
reducers" who steal 14 cents worth of cloth
out of a calculator case.

It is the same at most companies.... of course
it happens sooner at some companies than others.

Hmmmmmmm and some companies it doesn't happen at all.
Those are the truly long-lasting companies and they
are the heartbeat of America (since they don't succumb
to disease).



Crane (paper)
Revere Ware?
L.L. Bean?
M.L.Condon Lumber?
General Electric?
Ford Motor Company!?
Random House
Harper's Weekly
Wall Street Journal
New York Times
Dixon Eaton Textron Yale somethingorothercolglomerate

Now some claim to be old, or still have the same name, but aren't--they just have the name:

Ford Motor Company
Random House
Harper's Weekly
New York Times
Dixon Eaton Textron Yale somethingorothercolglomerate



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