Mechanical Calculators

Home > Mechanical Calculators

Nippon Calculator / Busicom HL-21

Nippon Calculator HL-21

Nippon Calculator / Busicom HL-21.

Hand operated, Odhner rotary pin-wheel type.

410 mm x 164 mm, 130 mm (16.5" x 6.5" x 5"), 4  Kg (9 lbs.).

Made in Japan.

Dates from 1960s. Price in Britain in 1966 60, reducing to 39 10s [39.50] for educational users (about $US150 and $100 respectively).

Makes extensive use of plastics compared to similar models of the time by other manufacturers.

With the introduction of electronics Nippon Calculator became called Business Computer Corporation, known as Busicom Corp - see the name badges in the photographs above. Nippon/Busicom were closely involved with Broughton and Company Ltd. (Broughtons of Bristol).

Label on Busicom HL-21
Label on Nippon Calculator HL-21

Early model

Late model

Inside Nippon Calculator HL-21

The mechanism of this machine is based on cheaper die-cast pinwheels, rather than machined brass, though these are more prone to wear.
Also, the casing of the machine is made of plastic rather than metal.

For information on performing the basic arithmetic operations see Operating a Pinwheel Calculator in the "Collecting Calculators" section of this site.

For details of the pinwheel mechanism click here.

Busicom were the inspiration to Intel to produce the 4004 microprocessor in 1971. This evolved through the 8008, 8088, 8086, 80286, 80386, 80486, to the Pentium microprocessor.

So perhaps we could say that this calculator is the ancestor of the PC !!

Home
1) Mechanical Calculators
2) Desk Electronic Calculators
3) Hand-held Calculators
4) Non-Decimal Calculators
5) The Pocket Calculator Race
6) Calculator Companies
7) Calculator Photo Library
8) Calculator Articles
9) British Calculator Companies
10) Puzzle Corner
11) Calculator Time-line
12) Calculator Technology
13) Index to the Calculators
14) Calculator Resources
15) Frequently Asked Questions
16) Update Information
17) Vintage Calculator News
18) Bletchley Park
19) About this site
20) Search this Site

Mechanical Calculators

Odhner
Comptometer
Addiator
Addometer
Golden Gem
S & N
Monroe LN-160X
Brunsviga 10
Curta I
Facit C1-13 & ESA-01
Plus Adder
Madas 20BZS
Burroughs Add-lister
Resulta
Bowler Countess
Olivetti Electrosumma
Muldivo Mentor
Busicom
SCM 1011 CB
Sumlock Comptometer 993s
Kingson Four-Rule
Imperial Office Master
Addiator Addfeet Junior

Vintage Calculators

© Text & photographs copyright Nigel Tout   2000-2014 except where noted otherwise.