My Fascination with Calculators

I’ve always been fascinated by calculators, especially the scientific models. I know exactly why too: My mom has been teaching high school Geometry since 1985. That’s two years before I was born. In order to teach Geometry in these modern and post-modern times, one needs at least an entry level scientific calculator. It is needed especially to grade tests, which my mom did by hand, at home for most of her career. I was usually nearby and saw her pushing buttons on the calculator and was naturally fascinated. I like almost any type of electronic device and a calculator is no exception.

Since my mom teaches at a private school, many of her students come from wealthy families. This sometimes meant that at the end of the year they would throw away their school supplies with the exception of textbooks. So my mom would always end up with several, gently used calculators. I would usually inherit them. They were mostly Texas Instruments TI-30 variants or less frequently a Casio FX. Actually at the end of my sophomore year of high school (May 2004) I inherited a used TI-83 Plus. That device got me through the rest of high school and even entertained me with downloadable video games during the more boring classes. It killed on me in May of 2007.

I am fascinated by Mathematics and other sciences, though I for lack of a better word suck at all of them except for arithmetic, which I am pretty proficient at when I need to be. I guess I could call myself a nerd wannabe, because I am indeed fascinated, but totally suck. I suck at math so badly that the highest level of education I only hold a technical diploma in HVAC instead of an Associate’s Degree of Applied Science mainly because I couldn’t pass College Algebra to save my life.

So back to the calculator interest: sometimes my mom would also let me play with her, I’m going to call it “edc” calculator and that reinforced my fascination. There was one calculator that I had coveted throughout my high school career. It was the TI-Math Explorer 1997 version. I thought it was the coolest thing, but because of other interests at the time, I couldn’t justify spending the MSRP to buy one, since it really isn’t that high spec. Twice throughout my high school career I found one laying around and intended to keep it until I saw the owner’s name written in the instruction card. I being too honest for my own good always returned it to the original owner.

In 2012 I was looking around on ebay and say one very gently used TI-Math Explorer for $6.99 and free shipping if I remember correctly. This was only a fraction of the MSRP for one brand new. Hurriedly I ordered it. This was also my first edc calculator. It came in handy when assisting others in construction and electrical work because of the easy fraction and decimal conversions. I edced it in my backpack until June of 2014 when I upgraded to a TI-36X Pro. I don’t really need a calculator of this high spec in my everyday life, but I like it because I think it is so cool. Again, I’m a wannabe nerd.

In 2015 and again in 2016 I purchased a Casio FX-115ES, because they were Casio’s answer to the TI’s 36 X Pro. I prefer the TI though and still edc it.

During the back to school clearance sale of 2016, I purchased a Casio Class Wiz at my local Target for ~$10.

In January of 2017 I purchased my first vintage calculator, a 1987 TI-30 Solar Plus. It still works quite well in lieu of its age. I don’t really edc it, but this past March 14, I took a picture of it displaying its approximation of Pi and posted it to Facebook to wish everyone a Happy Pi Day.

I’m not as into calculators as heavily as I am into flashlights, but if I see a cool one and have the money, I’ll usually purchase it. I hope I have been entertaining and/or informative.

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