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Mountain of the Knowledge Master
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For Teachers and Parents
Chapter 1 Learn About the History of the Calculator! Mountain of the Knowledge Master
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
[Chapter5] The Desktop Calculator
In 1961, a U.K. company called Sumlock Comptometer came out with the “Anita.” The Anita was an even smaller electronic calculator that used vacuum tubes instead of relays. Thanks to its electronic components, it was small enough to fit on a desk. This new technology was called the desktop calculator because of its small size.
In 1947, an American named William Shockley invented the transistor. Later, this major invention became the new “brain” of desktop calculators instead of relays or vacuum tubes. Transistors helped calculators perform much faster, in a body that was small enough to fit on a desk. They also eliminated the noise that calculators used to make. With a button reaction speed of a hundred-thousandth of a second, transistor calculators were a thousand times faster than relay calculators. In 1964, a Japanese company called Sharp released the first transistor calculator.
With the development of the IC (integrated circuit) in the early 1960’s and LSI (large-scale integration) in the 1970’s, we had even more powerful brains for calculators than transistors. Calculators became smaller and smaller! Eventually, calculator companies began to compete with each other to produce even smaller and more affordable calculators. But in the 1960's, the calculator was still too expensive for the average family to buy.
That is when Casio, the company that produced the 14-A calculator, came up with a new idea. Casio decided that another way to increase convenience would be to develop a calculator that was affordable enough for anybody to own. In 1972, at a time when calculators cost from ¥30,000 to ¥50,000 (equal to $80 to $140 in U.S. dollars - a lot of money at the time), Casio surprised the whole country by making a calculator that cost only ¥12,800 (about $35.50 in U.S. dollars). The personal calculator had finally arrived in the form of the Casio Mini. The Casio Mini series used LSI technology, and was a quarter of the size of the calculators being used at that time. It became an explosive hit, selling more than 10 million units. With the Casio Mini as a start, calculators had now become a convenient tool for everyday life that anybody could own.
At this point, various other companies were producing calculators, and the demand for LSI grew stronger. This helped to expand the LSI industry, and then paved the way for the development of other personal electronic devices like the personal computers and cellular phones that we use today.
This is where my history lesson ends.I hope you continue to enjoy yourself on the island!
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