In the 1970s the cost -- and size -- of calculators tumbled. Business tools became toys; as a result prestige tech companies had to rapidly diversify into other products -- or die! This is the story of the 1970s great calculator race... Compact electronic calculators had been around since the mid-1960s, although 'compact' was a relative term. They were serious, expensive tools for business. So it was quite a breakthrough in 1967 when Texas Instruments presented the Cal-Tech: a prototype battery powered 'pocket' calculator using four integrated circuits. It sparked a wave of interest. Canon was one of the first to launch a pocket calculator in 1970. The Pocketronic used Texas Instruments integrated circuits, with calculations printed on a roll of thermal paper. Sharp was also an early producer of pocket calculators. Unlike Canon they used integrated circuits from Rockwell and showed the calculation on a vacuum fluorescent display. The carrying handle was a nice touch!
Yeah I had one of those early Sharp calculators, it was awesome. What's amazing is how TI cornered the market and their cals still cost $100. The only good graphing calculator is the Casio.