I just read the "Gone with the wind" message. It is sad that HPs will become a thing of the past. It made me think about something.

I have also assembled a little collection over the years. I missed the calculator revolution, but when I was in high school HP introduced the 41CX and the 71B. Powerful machines, no doubt.

I found out about the rest of the models, and watched closely as HP introduced new ones.

Later I got my 41, and eventually upgraded to the 48. My first "collectible" was a 32S I got cheap from a friend. I ended up collecting models that reminded me of that time. Models that evoke nostalgia and loyalty, I said to myself. Loyalty to fine machines from a fine manufacturer that could do every thing one expected them to do, and nostalgia for the time spent using them to solve everyday's problems.

My collection has a few "firsts," but consists mainly of models that remind me of the past: a 41C, a 41CV, a 41CX (my first), a 28S, two 71Bs, a 32S, a 48SX and a 48 GX. Now I'm looking for Voyagers.

My questions: how many of us have ended up with a sort sentimental relationship to our calculators? How many collections out there are built upon nostalgia? As Tom Drewski pointed out, we all became successful professionals with disposable income for such things. Part of which we owe to our HPs, I think.


I feel the same way.

My collection is not too big, but I'm concentrating on scientific, programmable RPN models. Although my first HP calc was the HP-28C, (I bought it in '87, which makes me a late-comer to the cult) I was always attracted to these magic little boxy, brown and sober machines. For me RPN logic was a natural thing. When you perform arithmetic operations on paper, you write down the arguments first and then work out the answer. After RPN, working with an algebraic calculator is an unnatural thing for me.

My HP-28C gave me so many hours of pleasure, I felt like a kid with a new toy. I remember going through the manuals cover-to-cover when I took the calculator home and not emerging until having finished with them. Only to go out to try to get information on a company somewhere in the West Coast, EduCalc, which carried all sorts of accessories, books and HP calculators. Once I had their address I bought from them often. I still have, and read, Bill Wickes' "Insights" book on the HP-28C. Later I upgraded to an HP-48SX and, of course, to the version of Wickes' book for that one too. They still make a great read and it's fascinating understanding the why's and how's of RPN logic.

"Nostalgia" is what makes me keep these little machines and use them to solve all sorts of problems, even the most trivial. I've just went through the code for calculating income tax in my HP-48GX, which I wrote about ten years ago. My wife laughs at the thought that this puny machine will be able to come up with a bigger income tax refund than my object-oriented, user-friendly, multi-task enabled, tax-saving suggestion-overwhelming Intuit's TurboTax Deluxe for Windows in my PC. I keep telling her that that is the case, so that next time I come home with a new HP calculator, she will understand and accept it (hmmmm, maybe the IRS should grant a deduction for expenses in old HP calculators used for calculating income taxes, huh?).


My first HP calculator was HP41CV. I had no idea what RPN but it was so intuitive I picked it up quickly. Back then I didn’t have a PC so I programmed the HP41CV for all of my day to day calculations. It became an incredible time saver and I knew I had the best calculator made.

Five years later I bought a HP42S just because I wanted something new. Not only could I reduce the number of programs I had, thanks to the Solver (MVAR), but the curve fitting function was used daily. Jump ahead another five years, I found Dave’s web site and I realize the value of my HP42S and the mistake of throwing away my perfectly good HP41. I never take the HP42S out of the draw because I fear I‘ll break it so I sold it for about what I paid for it and bought a new HP32SII for $37. The HP32SII is a nice calculator but every time I use it I am reminded how HP discontinued the better of the two and I am using the second best. Long gone is the feeling that I have the best calculator made.

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