Curta Calculator

CurtaThe Curta is an incredible mechanical calculator. You crank it like it is a pepper mill but instead of grinding peppercorns, it grinds through mathematical operations. You can add, subtract, multiply and divide. But you have to know how to use it. It isn’t immediately obvious when you pick it up how to use it.

CurtaThis was my dad’s calculator but with my interest in old computers and calculators, he offered it to me. You can specify an 11 digit number using a set of sliders. Then, you can multiply that number by a 8 digit number which you enter with a series of cranks. The output is displayed on a set of 15 dials.

Specs:

Input Digits 11
Cranked Digits 8
Output Digits 15
Operations Per Second How quickly can you crank?

What Do I Do With It:

CurtaMostly, I use the Curta as a show piece. When someone stops by the house, I will often get it and ask them if they know what it is. Other than at KansasFest, no one has ever had any idea. When I show them what it can do, they always ask to try it themselves.

Also, I wrote a simulator of the Curta as my HackFest entry at KansasFest 2012. Other than that, it has a special spot on my shelf. I should reach for it more often when I have a bit of math to do.

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