Monday, February 21, 2011

Calculators - 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History -Week 8

With the rapid technological advances in personal computing and the popularity of the World Wide Web over the last couple of decades, it’s hard to believe a handheld calculator was ever considered revolutionary. This baby was a huge deal in our family. Not only would it perform the basic functions of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, it had a memory, would calculate square root, sine, cosine, tangent and all kinds of other functions that a high school student would need (and that I can no longer remember)!

Consider this: in just a few short years we went from the stone age tools of the slide rule

And the adding machine that had been around for decades,

to a hand held calculator that would add, subtract, multiply, divide, and store the results

To the TI 30. And so on...

It really is similar to the rapid increases in power we have seen in personal computers in the last several years. Actually it is the early stages.

I am just happy that I never had to learn how to use a slide rule!

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History by Amy Coffin, of The We Tree Genealogy Blog, is a series of weekly blogging prompts in 2011to encourage you to record memories and insights about your life.

Slide rule photo by Tsuyoshi Adachi as thin-p

All other photos by Michelle Goodrum

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum


  1. The slide rule was a lot of fun, so you don't know what you missed.

  2. You really don't know how welcome the calculator was after using a slide rule! I used it for one semester in college until I was given a calculator for Christmas.

  3. These are like milestones in my life. I used the slide rule in college, and I found it frustrating. In my first job, as a claims adjuster,I used the adding machine to add up body shop estimates. At later job in a retail store, I witnessed the sale of the first calculators, which were the size of a good-sized book and had to be plugged into the wall. Later, I used a hand held financial calculator, which was smaller, more accurate and easier to use than all of the others.