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Hewlett Packard

The HP-65 is arguably the most elegant and classic pocket calculator ever built.

Boasting many firsts, including being the first fully programmable hand-held calculator with built-in magnetic card reader, it was used for course corrections on Apollo, and was introduced as "The Personal Computer" when keypunch machines were still the most common input device for mainframes.

While pricey, nearly $800 back in 1974, its quality and innovations garnered many enthusiasts, spawning clubs like the HP-65 Users Club and triggering medical recoveries (but that's another story!).

Thanks to Mike Dutch - Picture from

Gary Clouse reports:
The early HP calculators were legendary for their durability. there were stories of them surviving 40 ft drops onto concrete, exposure to the weather for several months, and being run over by heavy eauipment on construction sites. The circuit board and battery contacts were gold-plated to prevent corrosion. There was a joke among engineering students that if there was a nuclear war, the survivors would be HP calculators and cockroaches.

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Wow. I''ve actually seen one of these things, absolutely hated it and had no idea it was this old. I was a kid in Barrhead (not my current location) in the early 1990s and one of my math teachers had one. I''ll share what I can remember:

- It used reverse Polish notation (for sure)
- It needed two AAA batteries (not so sure$ if I''m remembering this correctly, I might have encountered a later model that looked a lot like this one)
- The display contained ten tiny seven-segment LED chips magnified by big plastic elliptical $s, making it easy to read as long as you were looking fairly close to straight down into it.

I think the surname of the owner (one of my teachers) was either Kinnaird or Cantwell, but I can''t remember which one. They were on in years at the time, and I wouldn''t be surprised if they''ve passed on (or at least retired) since then.

Thursday 6th February 2014
featherwinglove (Barrhead, Alberta, Canada)


MANUFACTURER  Hewlett Packard
TYPE  Professional Computer
YEAR  1974
BUILT IN LANGUAGE  Reverse Polish Notation (RPN)
KEYBOARD  35 multi-function keys
CPU  HP CPU (several chips)
SPEED  Unknown
RAM  100 steps, 9 registers
ROM  Unknown
TEXT MODES  1 line, 10+2 chars LED display
SIZE / WEIGHT  8.15 (W) x 15.25 (L) x 3.55 (H) cm
BUILT IN MEDIA  Built-in magnetic card reader/writer
POWER SUPPLY  Battery pack containing 3x AA rechargeable cells
PRICE  $795

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