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Lesser Known and Obscure Calculator Manufacturers

In the world of calculators, there are some companies we are unfamiliar with. Some, because the company primarily did business in Europe and we're in the USA (or vice versa), or some because they were very small and produced very few different models.

The intent of this page is to open up our questions to you, our net-readers. If you want to know about a company, email Guy at mrcalc@usa.net and ask. We'll post the company on this page and any info we know.

Any information is appreciated -- no matter how little or how great! The information we seek can be things like: What country did they originate from or sell to? Did they make some other product? Was the brand name used for just one type of department store? Are they still in existence? Did they make their own calculators or were they made by others for them?

If you know any information at all, please share it - no matter how minor you think it may be!

 

Okay, here's a few companies we'd like to know more information on.
Do you know anything about?
Aristo, John Collins Enterprises, Kessel, KingsPoint, Monte Carlo, RFT, Santron, Vista

 

7/22/97 - Last Update

 

Ibico is a Swiss-based office equipment company and has a long heritage of electronic calculators. They still sell calculators today. While their 1970s vintage calculators are usually found in Europe, their modern products are available in most industrialized countries, including the United States.

Victor is still alive and making even pocket calculators, see http://www.victortech.com/index.html

Addo has been making mechanical adding machines from approximately 1920 and also electro-mechanical adding machines already in the thirties. Later it also made rotary calculators. The company originally produced full keyboard mechanical calculators and they called all their ten key mechanical adders (the first of them about 1936) Addo-X. X here means the roman numeral ten. Thus it should be consistent to call Addo pocket calculators also Addo-X. Addo and Facit did fuse about 1968.
Facit was originally a Swedish company, even though it had production units also elsewhere.

Bohn was apparently the American distributor of Danish Contex (sold in USA by the name Bohn Contex, see a picture in HP calculator museum) mechanical calculators. Except the model described in HP calculator museum and its electro-mechanical successors they made an adding machine a based on comptometer principle but only with half keyboard (only the numbers 1 to 5, and if you will add 9 you must first add 5 and then 4).

Calculated Industries Most of us know Calculated Industries Inc. as the manufacturer of the Loan Arranger and Loan Arranger II. CII is actually still around and continuing to make specialty calculators for various segments of the industry. We recently sent a query to the company about their history and product line and here is the response. (Thanks to Steve Kennedy for his help.)
"The company was started by three real estate agents in Orange County (California, USA) who within about a year sold out to the present owners. CII moved from Orange County to Carson City, Nevada (USA) in Feb. of 1994.
The LED-style of Loan Arranger was sold until about '81-82 and replaced by an LCD version which was also called "Loan Arranger," but was later changed to "Financial I" due to trademark complaints by the "Lone Ranger" people. (For our non-US readers, the Lone Ranger was a fictional cowboy character of movies and television). Today, this model would be the Real Estate Master IIx and there's a more deluxe model called Qualifier Plus IIx.
Real estate is still a big market for us and we're also "big" (relative) in construction where are feet-inch products are sold; we have about 8 different models. Electrical and the Measuring products (which sell into construction and r/e) are next big markets -- and then we have some real small-market models (i.e., our Frame Master II for the film and video industry)."

Their web site is located at: http://www.calculated.com. In the coming months, they hope to have a section showing the history of their calculator products.

Rex-Rotary was also a Danish company producing rotary duplicators and it sold Contex (non-rotary) calculators outside Denmark and probably later bought the whole company. The designs of all Contex mechanical calculators are very avant garde and futuristic. Even materials may be quite strange, for example the Comptometer is made almost totally of bakelite. The pictures of Bohn Contex calculators in the book are nothing special. Maybe it is due to the Taiwanese producer. I once saw a Contex Omnitrex electronic desktop calculator and its form was very different. from anything I have seen.

Sperry Remington or Sperry Rand was a computer making conglomerate formed by the mergers of Sperry, Remington Rand, and Memorex. One-time adding machine maker Burroughs had been already "eaten up" by one of the companies. In an interesting aside to their main business, they desided to sell portable calculators during the early 1970s. It appears that most (if not all) where made by Casio. A few of their first models (661-D, etc.) have original designs, but the rest are Casio models with a different coloring and a "Sperry" nameplate. The company today is called "Unisys."

 

Copyright 1997, Guy Ball. mrcalc@usa.net

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