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Calculating Instruments > Calculating devices

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Custom assembled calculator, 1970
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Object statement
Calculator and processor chips (3), custom assembled, acrylic / metal / plastic / electronic components, made by Texas Instruments / Professor John Billingsley, Dallas, Texas, United States of America / Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia, c. 1970
John Billingsley is Professor of Robotics at the University of Southern Queensland. This calculator was made by Professor Billingsley using solid state and integrated circuits and a predecessor of the TMS 1000 chip, a LED display chip, and a keypad supplied by Texas Instruments for a client attempting to win a contract with Texas Instruments to design a circuit that would power the calculator using a single source so it could be used as a demonstrator model . Professor Billingsley successfully achieved this, although the contract went to another group. This calculator predates commercial hand-held calculators, and was being developed to be marketed to banks. Texas Instruments did not see a market for the calculator in the domestic market at that time; however, the hand held calculator soon became a common household object after it was successfully marketed in Japan in the early 1970s and then soon after in the rest of the developed world. Texas Instruments then joined companies such as Sanyo, Canon and Sharp and many others in marketing compact calculating devices to the general population.

Mechanical mathematical aids such as abaci, comptometers, books of mathematical tables, slide rules, or mechanical adding machines are all calculators. The word calculator actually once meant a person who did calculations using such aids. The advent of the electronic calculator has made once sophisticated mathematical computation accessible to the vast majority of people in the Western world. The first mechanised calculators were mechanical desktop devices, which were then superseded by electromechanical desktop calculators, and then by electronic devices using thermionic valves, then transistors, then hard-wired integrated circuits. Today, most calculators are hand held devices, not so dissimilar to Professor Billingsly's prototype calculator.

Damian McDonald
May 2007
Professor John Billingsley, Professor of Robotics at the University of South Queensland designed and built the calculator for a client who was attempting to win a contract with Texas Instruments - who had supplied a chip, LED display chip and keypad and wanted a circuit designed that would enable them to run it from a single power supply so it could be used as a demonstrator to potential customers. To power it, the calculator needed +9V and -5V. Professor Billingsley contributed a 'pumped diode' to the circuit to enable the calculator to get this from a single battery.
Professor Billingsley was given a chip, LED display chip and keypad made by Texas Instruments by a client who was attempting to win a contract with Texas Instruments for the design of a circuit that would power the prototype calculator so they could use it as a demonstrator to potential clients. Professor Billingsley designed the circuit so it would run off a single 9V battery. Texas Instruments were developing the calculator for use in banks, and had no plans of marketing the device to the domestic market - where hand held calculators eventfully became ubiquitous.

Professor Billingsley's calculator did not win the contract despite being an impressive instrument.

 This text content licensed under CC BY-NC.

Description
Calculator and processor chips (3), custom assembled, acrylic / metal / plastic / electronic components, made by Texas Instruments / Professor John Billingsley, Dallas, Texas, United States of America / Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia, c. 1970

This custom assembled calculator consists of solid state components mounted on a brown plastic matrix board; the whole construction is mounted on an amber-coloured Perspex board. The calculator is battery operated and has a finger pad, of which the numbers are totally worn off, for keying in data behind which the components are mounted - including a very early 28 pin processor chip which was a predecessor of the Texas Instruments TMS 1000 type developed in the early 1970s; and above the finger pad is an LED display . On the left side of the Perspex mount is a toggle switch for engaging the current. It uses early integrated circuits. Below the finger pad is an array of transistors, resistors and capacitors and green, red and blue insulated electrical wiring.

There are three extra chips.

Made: Texas Instruments Inc; ; 1970

2007/105/1
Production date
1970
Height
70 mm
Width
250 mm
Depth
110 mm

 This text content licensed under CC BY-SA.
Acquisition credit line
Gift of Professor John Billingsley, University of Southern Queensland, 2007
Subjects
+ Measurement
+ Mathematics
+ Banking
Short persistent URL
Concise link back to this object: http://from.ph/365127
Cite this object in Wikipedia
Copy and paste this wiki-markup:

{{cite web |url=http://from.ph/365127 |title=Custom assembled calculator |author=Powerhouse Museum |accessdate=29 July 2014 |publisher=Powerhouse Museum, Australia}}


Copyright
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