1970’s Pocket Calculators

I’m not normally a covetous person, but I have to admit that in 7th grade, which would have been 1973-74, I did indeed covet.  I didn’t covet my neighbor’s house, wife, servants, or animals.  Instead, I coveted a classmate’s calculator.  Santa Claus had brought him a $79.95 electronic calculator, and I was jealous.  After all of these years, I still remember the kid’s name, but no, I’m not going to post it here.

It turns out I shouldn’t have worried, since the price of these little gadgets were just about to start plummeting.  Santa probably brought a lot more calculators the next year, since the December 1974 issue of Popular Mechanics shows this example, the Novus 650 


Mathbox with a retail price of only $16.95, “with rumors flying of $10 calculators to come.”  Those rumors proved to be true, since this same calculator was advertised on sale for $8.88 in time for Christmas 1975.

My parents wound up getting a TI-3500 desk calculator, which managed to serve my needs during junior high.  In high school, I got my own calculator, the venerable TI-30, which set me back only $29.95.  (According to Wikipedia, the price at introduction was $24.95.  I probably paid $5 extra for the rechargeable battery option.)

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