Free 50 Best Homemade Tools eBook:  
Remove advertisements
Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. #1
    Jon
    Jon is offline Jon has agreed the Seller's Terms of Service
    Administrator Jon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Colorado, USA
    Posts
    12,093
    Thanks
    2,110
    Thanked 2,603 Times in 1,208 Posts

    Curta mechanical pocket calculator - photos

    The Curta is a mechanical pocket calculator that was popular before electronic pocket calculators rose to prominence in the early 1970s.

    The Curta is the brainchild of Curt Herzstark, an Austrian inventor who designed the calculator just prior to WWII. Imprisoned in Buchenwald in 1943, Herzstark received favorable treatment for his technical expertise, and was recruited by the Nazis to assist in the construction of his mechanical calculator, which they had planned to give to Hitler as a gift for winning the war.



    Hitler never did get his war victory gift. Buchenwald was liberated in 1945, and Herzstark successfully manufactured his mechanical calculator. Curtas enjoy a resurgence in popularity today, and models in good condition sell for around $1,000.



    Yes, Curtas can be 3D-printed, but they are too intricate for home 3D printers to handle at scale; 3:1 versions are more common.



    More:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curta
    Concentration Camp Inmate Invented World's First Pocket Calculator - SPIEGEL ONLINE


    Previously:

    Mechanical calculator trying to divide by zero

  2. The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to Jon For This Useful Post:

    KustomsbyKent (03-18-2018), Paul Jones (03-25-2018), PJs (03-16-2018), rgsparber (03-15-2018), Seedtick (03-15-2018), volodar (03-16-2018)

  3. #2

    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Posts
    39
    Thanks
    34
    Thanked 41 Times in 16 Posts
    Maybe Clickspring will tackle building one (from scratch, naturally :-) after he finishes the Antikythera Mechanism build... I saw one of those a very long time ago; my dad worked at Kitt Peak Observatory and while visiting one day I met one of the astronomers, who had one (well used) on his desk next to his slide rule. No, he didn't let 10yo me play with it :-(

  4. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to bruce.desertrat For This Useful Post:

    Paul Jones (03-25-2018), PJs (03-16-2018)

  5. #3
    tmoore4748's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    17
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by bruce.desertrat View Post
    Maybe Clickspring will tackle building one (from scratch, naturally :-) after he finishes the Antikythera Mechanism build... I saw one of those a very long time ago; my dad worked at Kitt Peak Observatory and while visiting one day I met one of the astronomers, who had one (well used) on his desk next to his slide rule. No, he didn't let 10yo me play with it :-(
    I think you just hit on something Chris might be interested in doing! I can't even imagine how cool it would be if he took on this one. Still desperately waiting for continuing episodes on the Antithykera Mechanism; what I like most about it, though, is his exploration of ancient tech, and how things might have been done, given materials at the time. Really cool stuff. Maybe we could encourage this mechanism for his next project.

  6. The Following User Says Thank You to tmoore4748 For This Useful Post:

    Paul Jones (03-25-2018)

  7. #4

    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Posts
    30
    Thanks
    41
    Thanked 6 Times in 5 Posts
    U of T, 1960. A prof pulled out a Curta in front of our large second-year class to do some calc to show off. It's the only time I've seen the device. Most of us had Pickett and Eckel or K & E slide rules, some in leather holsters hanging from the belt. The odd juvenile engineer with literary ambitions would stencil "Sly Drool" on it. Scientific American always carried ads for the Curtas, as well as for never seen but intriguing "super long" cylindrical slide rules.

  8. The Following User Says Thank You to volodar For This Useful Post:

    PJs (03-16-2018)

  9. #5

    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Posts
    39
    Thanks
    34
    Thanked 41 Times in 16 Posts
    I hear you about the ancient technology side videos. I think I've watched the one about making the indexing plate a half dozen times.

  10. #6
    Paul Jones's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Yorba Linda, California
    Posts
    1,121
    Thanks
    4,580
    Thanked 1,167 Times in 581 Posts
    Vololdar,

    Your comment brings back fond memories.

    From being in junior high through high school and then four years in college (10 years total) I used a yellow-colored aluminum Pickett slide rule with a leather holster (not on my belt but as as a protective case held under my arm while carrying books and a three ring notebook). It wasn't until my second year in graduate school in 1974 for a MS and PhD in geophysics that I finally used an electronic calculator. In 1974, the geophysics dept. shared an HP-35 and HP-45 for the grad students to share and my use of the slide rule diminished. However, using a slide rule required keeping track of the order of magnitude and dimensions to make sure the answer really made sense. I still keep that discipline.

    By then almost all of my research calculations were performed for "free". We no longer used the more costly central campus data center consuming my ONR (Office of Naval Research) grant money because we were using a 16-bit Data General Nova 1200 minicomputer that several of us set up in a spare lab. Within a few months we added disk drives and a pen-plotter. Getting the DG Nova 1200 to boot-up wasn't easy in the beginning but we eventually overcame the crude manual start-ups by adding an EPROM BIOS. Before the EPROM, we would use the front panel toggle switches to direct the Nova to read a mylar tape reader protocol containing a simple boot-up BIOS to read a BASIC interpreter.

    Within two months we had a FORTRAN compiler and link-editor running. I received my PhD in geophysics by 1978 but by then I was also an expert and an investor in computer technology and using slide rules was history. An interesting book in the early 1980's about a Data General 32-bit computer is entitled "The Soul of a New Machine" at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Soul_of_a_New_Machine land long after my experince on the obsolete 16-bit Nova 1200.

    Regards

    Paul Jones
    Last edited by Paul Jones; 03-25-2018 at 10:02 PM.

  11. #7

    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Posts
    39
    Thanks
    34
    Thanked 41 Times in 16 Posts
    I came of age just as the slide rule was relegated to history; never did learn how to use it effectively. Still have my dad's 8" K&E tucked away somewhere...

    I was a HS junior when the first affordable calculators hit. HP and TI had these insanely expensive ones, then National Semi (IIRC, this was ca 1974-ish) came out with their calculator-on-a-chip; 4 functions, fixed 2 decimals, 9 places, LED numbers. My electronics teacher at the time announced in class that he'd seen them at Walgreens for $19.99. (about $100 or so today, I just looked it up!). It was amazing. I used the heck out of that thing and it firmly fixed how to keep track of the decimal point in my head.

    ON my desk at work I have the display and keypad of a Wang calculator given to me by a friend, no idea where the rest of it went... http://www.oldcalculatormuseum.com/wang360e.jpg

    I'm sometimes tempted to clean it up, and toss in a RasPi into it to resurrect it as a calculator...just to show how far we've come.

  12. #8
    mklotz mklotz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    LA, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,314
    Thanks
    84
    Thanked 2,358 Times in 844 Posts
    For folks too young to remember "slip sticks", there are numerous emulators on the interweb, such as this simple one...

    http://nsg.upor.net/slide/

    or you can build your own, or choose from a list of old-time favorites like the K&E log-log, deci-trig, my old pal...

    http://nsg.upor.net/slide/sryae.htm

    This one looks like the Pickett, and has a movable cursor...

    Virtual Pickett N909-ES SIMPLEX TRIG RULE with METRIC CONVERSION Slide Rule

    Detailed instructions on how to use one...

    http://www.sliderulemuseum.com/SR_Course.htm

    I took a physical chemistry course that involved endless problems with variables that ranged over ten or twenty orders of magnitude. I would have killed for a digital calculator.


    Post your reply!
    Join 33,912 of us and get our 50 Must Read Homemade Tools eBook free.



    50 Must Read Homemade Tools
    ---
    Regards, Marv


    Home Shop Freeware
    http://www.myvirtualnetwork.com/mklotz

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •