In the 1970s, calculators weren't just for calculating. They were luxury items. In a world before iPods and iPhones, calculators were the first aspirational personal electronics.
Calculators 1968-1983 showcases these remarkable design objects, along with stories behind why they look and operate the way they do. And how, in just a few decades, one of the world's most important products went from indispensable to irrelevant.
The exhibit highlights more than 100 calculators, all beautiful examples of late 20th Century design.
The Oregonian did an deep dive on Calculators 1968-1983 via a video and write-up.
Our last pop-up event was August 18-20, 2023. Nothing else is scheduled at the moment, but that will change. Please write me at email@example.com and I'll add you to our mailing list.
I've had a fascination with calculators since the 70s, when the specimens my dad brought home from the office were the only computer-like things I could get my tiny hands on.
Then it all happened so quickly.
In 2015 — during a fit of nostalgia — I ordered a beautiful earth-toned 1976 Texas Instruments 5100. It looked so great on my desk that I started craving more. And to my surprise, there were plenty more calculators to be found online. The collection started.
I now have more than 250 calculators from the era 1968-1983, each chosen for its beauty and design more than any particular technical attribute. It's an incredible thrill to show them off, inviting visitors into a world filled with colors and shapes and design considerations that you simply don't find today, made for people and needs that no longer exist.
And my childhood obsession still resonates: when I'm not collecting old handheld electronics, I work on new handheld electronics in the form of Playdate, a fun and charming handheld video game system that exhibits some echoes of those very first calculators.
— Greg Maletic
A photo gallery of some of the collection.
The Calculators 1968-1983 Twitter account, including lots of photos of the collection. (coming soon: a Mastodon account)
A promotional illustration for the show:
Designer Michael DiTullo posted on Instagram a video of his favorite moments from the collection:
Jonah Edwards' charming thread covering some of the most arcane and beautiful details of the collection.
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