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The Death of Ralph - End of an Era

The Death of Ralph - End of an Era

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When I passed my CIMA exams in 1995 the girls in the office had a whip round and bought me a fine Casio calculator. Since that day that Casio has been with me every day and never let me down. In 1997 I had to tippex Ralph on the back of it after someone pinched it from drawer whist on holiday. Ralph has been with me man and boy, its worked through 5 different jobs and now my own company.

Although the solar panel doesn't work as well as it used to and some of the numbers have worn off I still loved that calculator. Over the years I can only guess at how many numbers its added up, it always gets it right, and has seen me through many tight spots. Its Sherpa Tenzing to my Edmund Hilary. Like a royal marine who can strip is rifle down blind folded, I know every key position without looking. He was always happy to see me, his face always lit up when you pushed his on button. Over the years I have been offered newer shiny models but I have always stood by Ralph and he by me.

However today that all came crashing to an end. Whilst putting my man bag containing ralph over my shoulder today, somehow how Ralph slipped out and tumbled down the stairs landing onto a hard floor shattering into several pieces. I rushed after him to try and save him but it was no good. Ralph was damaged beyond repair. I held him in my hands one last time hoping to knock out one last sum, whilst his screen flickered and went onto standby for the last time. I tried to resuscitate him without success he had flatlined. I had lost my career long side kick. I am now going to PC World to find a new partner in crime, although I doubt even with blue tooth and Wifi he will not live up to Ralph.

I suppose it would be how he wanted to go, running late dashing to a clients to save the day, as oppose to just his battery running out and seeing the end of his days stuck in a drawer. I intend to bury Ralph with full Military honours amongst some client books. Ralph Casio 1995-2013 RIP.

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By mrme89
28th Jun 2013 12:13

R.I.P Ralph

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By Michaelaizquierdo
28th Jun 2013 12:22

R.I.P Ralph

Glennzy, I feel your pain.

 

My calculator, (nameless), purchased on my first day as an audit trainee in 1991 suffered a mental breakdown and had to be replaced by a newer model (also still a Casio), for me the good news was that after some gentle TLC and a retirement to home, my calculator made a small recovery, I never felt it was mentally strong enough for a return to work, but it is living out its days in gentle retirement, occaisionally offering its services  to maths homework reviews.

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By mrme89
28th Jun 2013 12:23

.

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The triggle is a distant cousin of the squonk (pictured)
By Triggle
28th Jun 2013 12:29

Poor old Ralph.

Same happened to me a while back - a Cassio as well. Got a new one (Cassio) that looked a lot like the old one but the buttons were slightly different and it took me a while to get used to it.

I remember I was on audit once and went out to lunch leaving the old calculator on the desk. While I was out the wags in the office of the company we were auditing unscrewed the back of the calculator and swapped the 7, 4 & 1 keys for the 9, 6 & 3 keys. It had me stumped when I got back until someone owned up. Oh, how we laughed. Not.

Best of luck with Ralph II.

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By Glenn Martin
28th Jun 2013 12:31

Ha Ha @MrME

if memory serves me right that looks like a Casio D-20ER, a prince amongst calculators.

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By Steve Holloway
28th Jun 2013 12:41

I feel like a rubbish parent ....

I just leave mine at clients willy nilly and just go out a buy a few more!

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By exceljockey
28th Jun 2013 13:08

During articles back in the early 2000's

I managed to acquire a great calculator, Sharp Elsi Mate. How I managed to finish articles without someone stealing it is one of the more significant success stories of my life. It has been with me ever since, 6 jobs, 3 countries later it is still going strong despite someone pouring Coca-cola over it. 

I wish I could thank the person I took it from but their name has long been scratched out and replaced with mine......

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Replying to Wanderer:
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By Richard Willis
28th Jun 2013 15:48

Another Sharp fan

exceljockey wrote:

I managed to acquire a great calculator, Sharp Elsi Mate. How I managed to finish articles without someone stealing it is one of the more significant success stories of my life. It has been with me ever since, 6 jobs, 3 countries later it is still going strong despite someone pouring Coca-cola over it. 

I wish I could thank the person I took it from but their name has long been scratched out and replaced with mine......

  I bought a new Sharp Elsimate a couple of months ago.  I, too, had a long-term friend that died, also a Sharp.  I used addlisters for years (in commerce) and so the large buttons suit my old fingers.  One reason for my choice is that it has 12 digits.
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By Rebecca Cave
28th Jun 2013 13:45

Is this a record age for a Casio calculator?

I was presented with my calculator, a Casio Hl-101 when I started training with Peat Marwick Mitchell ( soon to become KPMG) in September 1986. I still have it and use it every working day.

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Man of Kent
By Kent accountant
28th Jun 2013 13:52

Available for a price...

...original and in full working order, extricated from the offices of a previous employer.

It was my 'leaving present'.

Still going strong 16 years later.

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RLI
By lionofludesch
28th Jun 2013 13:54

I love my Casio calculator. 

I love my Casio calculator.  It's got two-way power and 100 step check and correct.  It was looking a little bit worn and I looked through a boat load of catalogues and websites for a spare one.  If they had one it was out of stock.   I finally found one last December - from a company in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.  Just like buying one from a company in the UK and possibly a little cheaper.  I got two - just in case..........

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By Glenn Martin
28th Jun 2013 14:02

CASIO Clearly the Accountants choice.

An 1986 Casio Hi-101 represents superb value for money, and that could well be a record.

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By Flash Gordon
28th Jun 2013 14:16

Texas Instruments

I've got a Texas Instruments TI-30 SLR that I've had since I was 12 (or maybe even before). My first proper calculator and its still going strong. Admittedly, being solar-powered, there are times when it's not as useful but I cope. It needs a bit of a clean as its distinctly grubby between the keys but I love it anyway. 

I've never needed the sin, cos and tan buttons, and have no idea what the DRG button is for (or the EE, log or Inx ones for that matter) but it's done me proud. Its even been on many holidays with me :)

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By tonycourt
28th Jun 2013 14:27

Not sure about Casios....

... they are Jonny-come-latelys in my view, some kind of fanciful modern device. I'll stick with my fully functional Decimo Vatman circa 1973. I'm sure there's someone out there who can top that, but I reckon my machine still has plenty of life in it yet - so it ain't over 'til the fat lady sings

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By mrme89
28th Jun 2013 14:33

.

This thread just makes you realise that it really is worth paying a little bit more for a quality calculator. I've had my casio from my GCSE years, 8 years ago.

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David Winch
By David Winch
28th Jun 2013 14:40

Texas Instruments - size of a house brick

When I was in 'articles' I bought a Texas Instruments calculator which came in a shoebox sized box and had a screen of tiny red LED dots.  It had a four-button memory and everything!

I well remember getting a letter from HM Inspector of Taxes disallowing my claim for the £35 purchase cost under PAYE since is was not "necessary" for an accountant to have an electronic calculator (lots of accountants do their jobs perfectly well without one, opined the Inspector).

However for a while I looked very flash on audits toting this house-brick sized technological marvel!  I think the comptometer girl was jealous.

Them were t'days, eh . . .

David

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By Old Greying Accountant
28th Jun 2013 15:01

Young whipper-snappers ...

... this oldtimer, circa 1980 has been with me since my O levels, I never once blamed him for my A Level maths debacle - that was down to me, I'm a numerist, not a mathematician! He is in semi-retirement now, and many of the numbers have worn off, but I can touch calculate on him so no worries there.

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Replying to DMGbus:
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By tonycourt
28th Jun 2013 15:24

Who...

...are you calling whipper-snapper sonny. 1980 pha! Kids of today - LCD screens - luxury. We had it tough - a pathetic green glowing LED, if we were lucky, mind you none of your fancy modern back-lit shiny LEDs - more of a sort sort of Bob-Cratchit's-candle dull glow. Blah Blah Blah

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By [email protected]
04th Jul 2013 11:26

Snap

I use my Casio every day and have done for years.  Its predecessor was the same and only expired after about 20 years of good use. I haven't used the functions since University days - but it's good to know I could if I ever needed to!

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By duncanphilpstate
04th Jul 2013 11:50

Old Greying's calc looks like one of my old Casios...

... which I bought during articles because I needed 10 digits to cope with bigger numbers - millions with pence (God knows why - maybe materiality hadn't been invented back then). Sadly it died years ago and was replaced with something not as thin and jacket pocket friendly - but still a Casio.

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By zarathustra
28th Jun 2013 15:21

How dare you call yourself a northerner...

...if you have a man-bag !

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The triggle is a distant cousin of the squonk (pictured)
By Triggle
28th Jun 2013 15:51

The first calculator I had was an Addiator. Anyone remember these?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Addiator

It was OK until you lost the stylus.

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By Democratus
01st Jul 2013 09:22

Only had 3 calculators since my A levels...

... all Casio

1st a Casio FX 80 must have been 1979/80 . Something horrible happened (Don't want to talk about it) and it had to be replaced with an FX 100. This was eventually replaced about 15 years ago with an FX115s which still remains loyal and faithful.

For the record we were not allowed calculators during O'Level but i was allowed a slide rule and log tables.

 

Ahh! the slide rule,  

 

My deepest condolences to Glennzy on his sad loss. The memories never fade and will give you something to smile about when you need a bit of a pick me up.

 

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Quack
By Constantly Confused
28th Jun 2013 16:36

Luxury

Oop North we can't afford calculators, so I have to use this.

 

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The triggle is a distant cousin of the squonk (pictured)
By Triggle
28th Jun 2013 16:50

I once worked with a bloke who had ten fingers on one hand and eight fingers on the other.

He wasn't much good as an accountant but at least you could always count on him.

[Sorry, slow day in the office today]

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By Ding Dong
28th Jun 2013 18:05

controversially......

when I left school in 1993 and had used Casio scientific calculators for years I opted for a Sharp ElsiMate EL-361H for a change of brand!

Still going strong 19years and 10 months after I bought it (he says stroking it!)

(I also own 2 Casio MS-80ERs which I bought in 1997 so I could have one for the briefcase, one for the office and one for home.)

So I am a three calculator Beancounter! (posh)

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RLI
By lionofludesch
29th Jun 2013 07:48

@FlashGordon

DRG - Degrees, Radians and Grads. A grad is one hundredth of a right angle. You learn something every day.

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By MarionMorrison
29th Jun 2013 09:11

Hand made

I still possess the first calculator I ever owned which was a Sinclair Scientific.  This arrived in 1974 in time to help with my A levels and came in a kit that you had to put together yourself, dodgy dry-joint soldering connections and all.  It was bizarre, ran under reverse Polish notation (you put the number in and then the operator you want it to apply - no equals sign), so 3+4+2* and it would give you 14).  But it was blessed with trig functions, logs, arctans, all sorts.  However it struggled with them and for some functions (esp the trig ones) it could take as much as 30 seconds to work out a cosin.

It's in a cupboard in my office and I often plan to get some AAA's, scrape off the corroded contacts and see if I can still make it run.  

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By King_Maker
29th Jun 2013 12:25

A sad day......................

RIP

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bike
By FirstTab
30th Jun 2013 09:27

Calculator still used?

I hardly use a separate calculator. It tends to be one on Windows 7. If I am out then the one on my mobile or ipad. 

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RLI
By lionofludesch
30th Jun 2013 14:19

iPad ?

Always thought it was spelt Aye-Pad..........

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The triggle is a distant cousin of the squonk (pictured)
By Triggle
30th Jun 2013 14:37

Or, in the case of Glenzy, a Why Aye Pad.

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By Old Greying Accountant
30th Jun 2013 15:08

In the navy ...

... they use the Aye Aye Pad

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By ShirleyM
30th Jun 2013 14:56

.. and an aye-aye ...

... has one extra long finger ... specially for the calculator :)

http://www.arkive.org/aye-aye/daubentonia-madagascariensis/?gclid=CNHFm5L3i7gCFYXMtAodjlUAgQ

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By gsgordon
04th Jul 2013 11:32

RPN, not RIP!

Still using my trusty HP-41CV, which was liberated from a former employer. It uses the wonderful Reverse Polish Notation (RPN), which avoids the need for parentheses in complex calculations.

No signs of wear after about 30 years!

I've always been puzzled why RPN is not more popular - even amongst accountants, it would appear from the previous posts. Even for adding and subtracting, it has always seemed more natural to me.

PS: I also managed to find RPN calculator Apps for my smart phone!

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Replying to doorsteps:
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By peteri
04th Jul 2013 11:49

Rumours of RPN death exaggerated

Ah the 41CV a true classic, I'm sure one of the big UK accountancy firms issued HP12c financial calculators to trainee accountants when they joined in the mid eighties so you're not alone.

Apparently they are still make them (introduced in 1981) and used in banking as a old timer status symbol according to Wikipedia (see the WSJ link at the bottom of the HP12C article).

I fancied a HP16C since I'm a programmer but they're long out of production, a company called swiss micro do a credit card size clone but the price is a bit much.

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By KateR
04th Jul 2013 11:35

The Death of Ralph

I too have a very ancient Casio - but this is a desk 'Printing Calculator' HR-110T. Had it since early 90's, printing function defunct and the 9 key sticks - so you have to keep any eye on the display to make sure the 9 registers. What I will do when/if this dies!

 Have also got a Decimo Vatman 1212 DPX goodness knows how old that is - still used to add up the odd column when I get hand written cash books in.

These modern pocket sized things are Ok, but as the eyesight goes a large clear display is so much easier....

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By duncanphilpstate
04th Jul 2013 12:01

Oldest calculator bid

Ok if we are drifting into outrageous claims to be "first" I will put my stake in the ground with the slide rule I had at school. That was before calculators existed - well, they existed but the price was in 3 figures and the size was a choice between brick or shoebox. And they didn't do anything other than basic 4-function arithmetic plus square roots. While my slide rule can multiply, divide (addition is for wimps), do trig and stuff involving pi, various conversions and by a quirk of the universe, calculate the mass of iron for a given volume (I think by weird coincidence the density is similar numerically to some commonly used multiple or divisor of pi or something).

I reckon that is getting us back to about 1970. Any advance?

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By Tomazaan
04th Jul 2013 12:10

Another Casio fan

...likewise my calculator looks like Old Greying's Casio and much loved it is too.  I think I got it for A levels as it is a scientific one and - to my joy- will calculate 2 + 3 x 6 correctly (=20) whereas most modern calculators give you 30 as their pathetic reply.  I dread the day that it dies as surely it will.

I read maths at university and we were not allowed (or needed) calculators.

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By jonsa
04th Jul 2013 12:32

Just Old

So I used a slide rule - still in my desk draw.  Then calculators started and I had my first brick about 1972.  When I started my own business in 1980, I bought a Casio LC-316 to keep in my briefcase.  It is still there - I have just checked and yes it does still work, on only its second battery.  Amazing that it still works and when it does go to the Great Calculator in the Cloud - will I mourn?  I doubt it - just bin it.

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By Hayter
04th Jul 2013 12:58

Ralph's Granddad

I'm struggling to take a picture of my brain. But if you would like to attend my autopsy - hopefully some considerable time in the future - you will see the oldest calculator.

I remember comptometer's in £sd complete with ha'penny and farthing buttons. .The £ side consisted of numbers 1-5 so you had to enter 9 as 5 & 4. There were 2 columns for shillings alhtough the left hand column only had the number 1 On the introduction of decimalisation we all had to be retrained and the machine was much bigger. It was all too much for us and we ended up employing Margaret who was much in demand on audits.

Then we had Accodata add listing before Ralph's grandad became the new technology - unless you were a geek, in which case it was Texas Instruments.

Now we have returned to our roots and use quill pen and shouting. Hopefully this will do away with telephones..

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RLI
By lionofludesch
04th Jul 2013 14:07

I can remember ...

..... adding things up in my head because it was quicker than queuing to use one of the two adding machines in the office. Multiplying meant adding the same number a lot of times. Dividing was guessing and saying "Oh that's near enough".

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By bradchick2000
04th Jul 2013 14:39

In the mid 1970's as a young TO(HG) working on the PAYE section of an Inland Revenue district office I remember an official instruction being sent round that under no circumstances were calculators to be used when performing tax calculations.  At the time we had three Clerical Assistants whose main duties were to perform "arith checking" on all calculations in the office.

I spent £10 (from an annual salary of about £3,000) on a calculator and smuggled it in. Two years later, calculators were being issued in the office. 

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By Brend201
04th Jul 2013 16:56

Ahhh, the nostalgia.  First,

Ahhh, the nostalgia.  First, condolences to Glennzy on the expiration of Ralph.  I too fear the demise of my trusty calculator.

Mine is a Sharp ElsiMate EL-308.  Back in 1983, when I was about to sit PE1, the second last exam in the Irish institute, I needed a new calculator and wanted reasonably big buttons.  The institute issued an edict that calculators being brought into exams must not be more than 6" x 4" so I brought a ruler with me when shopping for my new calculator.  (I heard that the new rule was prompted by complaints about people using noisy bricks with handles.)  It cost £30 in November 1983.  

The 308 measures 6.3" x 4" so I brought a separate cheap calculator in my pocket, just in case someone came around in the exam to measure the calculators.  

It has a feature called "playback" - where you can see a series of entries and amend them if you wish.  A huge time-saver and not readily available as I found when I tried to buy something similar for someone else years later.  

Mine has had a serious fall and is fractured across the top, just above the display, but never missed a beat.  

Nostalgia about calculators is a funny thing, isn't it?  I bet this thread goes viral - but I don't care.  Incidentally is uses two AA batteries and I know that I acquired the current batteries in Canada in 1998 when I visited - details are in English and French.  

And completely off-topic, I was recruiting for a trainee recently and had a short phone call with applicants as screening, all of them claiming to have a facility with numbers.  "If you were asked what is 12.5% of 240, would you reach for a calculator or would you try to do it in your head?  And how would you go about doing it in your head?"  Most admitted that they would reach for the calculator.  I was hoping to hear that they spotted that 12.5% is 1/8 and therefore that is easy to work out as 30.  Only a very small number used that very obvious (to me anyway) technique.  So even though I (and many posters here) used calculators when required, we still used/use our heads, despite being much older than our calculators!

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By davidlchapman
04th Jul 2013 17:14

Casios rule!

Still using my April 1984 Casio JL120. Detest using anything else. I remember my first week in articles 40 years ago this month- on Friday the partner came out to review the job, but really to show us his new calculator. It cost £65- £1 more than they were paying me per month. Don't think it even had a memory function- but that might be mine malfunctioning.

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By Shirley Martin
04th Jul 2013 17:40

My oldest tool

I still have my Log book aka Four-Figure Tables from 1971.  My first calculator was a Casio and I still have it somewhere but can't lay my hands on it at the moment - odd that, perhaps it's because I never seem to throw anything away.

For some reason I still have my Seek and Find Arithmetic book from my primary school days (so before 1968).  It includes useful short cuts such as "to multiply by 25 add two 0's and divide by 4" and "to multiply by 125 add three 0's and divide by 8".

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By pawncob
04th Jul 2013 18:45

Whippersnappers

I still have the first calculator I bought (a Rapidman 800) which I bought in 1972 and cost £32.

(A large fortune for me when I was on £14 pw)

 

http://www.vintagecalculators.com/html/rapidman_800.html 

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By pawncob
04th Jul 2013 19:01

AND THE PRIZE GOES TO

I've also got a Canon LC 33 (a gift from a client in 1982?) which is still using the original battery!

AMAZING.

 

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By nogammonsinanundoubledgame
04th Jul 2013 19:04

This has prompted me to dig out my old ...

... Texas Instruments TI-57.

Never used it for accountancy work, but was cutting edge when I was at college.

It was one of the earliest hybrid scientific/programmable calculators (TI and HP being in perpetual battle, with HP's "Reverse Polish" notation being the preferred choice amongst geeks.  Personally I always liked having an "=" key as provided by TI and Commodore).

It came with a facility to back up your programs to a magnetic strip, and I still have one that I used to calculate all of the numbers that were equal to the sum of the fourth power of their component digits.  Took an age to run.  Brute force approach, and it would stop whenever it encounted a valid number, which I would then have to write down separately before setting it going again.

Ah, happy days.

With kind regards

Clint Westwood

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By kookies1ot
05th Jul 2013 09:01

Old adding machines

Ok all you young uns!  If any one comes across an Olivetti Summa Prima 20 which no one wants then please drop me a line to [email protected] these were what we used purely to add up the £.s.d. - they were at the tail end of slide rules and Sumlock comptometers and just before the first electric calculators - these new battery things did not come on the market until the 1970's.  I had one which travelled on the back seat of my car with me and many a time I have worked through the night trying to reconcile ledgers with it.  They were not all that expensive in their day but God were they good workhorses - I would love to get my hands on one just to put on my desk to remind me of the good old days before computers. 

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