Hand-held Calculators

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Calculators from the U.S.S.R
Elektronika MK-33, MK-57A, MK-61, Elorg 801

On this page are details of the Elektronika MK33, a very late red LED display calculator, and also the  Elektronika MK57A and MK61, late green vacuum-fluorescent display calculators, and the Elorg 801 red LED display calculator for export, all from the Soviet Union.

Elektronika MK33

Elektronika MK-33

Elektronika MK-33

Distinctive features: Soviet calculator. Very late calculator with LED display.

Technical details:
Display is 8 digits, red LED.

4-function, %, memory, square root.

3.6v, 3x large rechargeable button cells.

Size 70 x 131 x 14 mm (2.75 x 5.2 x 0.5").

Cost 25 roubles.

This model is very stylish with a satin-finish aluminium front. They were manufactured from the 1980s into the 1990s (this example made in April 1990) by the Svetlana company of Leningrad USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, now St. Petersburg, Russia).

The USSR lagged behind the West and Japan in semiconductor and display technology. Their first hand-held calculator developed in great haste and introduced in 1973 appears to have been largely based on imported technology. Many models with largely local electronics were subsequently produced under the Elektronika name, but in general look dated when compared with the models of the West and Asia of the same period. Red LED display calculators were almost completely obsolete elsewhere by 1980, having been replaced by low-power LCD displays, but in the Soviet Union, with much less competition, they continued to be manufactured into the 1990s, as shown here.

Rear
Label

Rear of the calculator showing the battery compartment which takes three large rechargeable button cells.

The embossed label on the back, below, shows the serial number 55516, the date of manufacture 90 04 (that is April 1990), and the price 25 roubles.

Circuit board

The circuit board of the MK33 showing two integrated circuits and a daughter board which has the oscillator for the clock pulses. From the connections, one of the functions of the upper ic is to drive the LED display. They too are date coded April 1990 in this example.

This is a very dated design for this time and uses many more components than equivalent calculators from elsewhere.

Elektronika MK57A

Elektronika MK61

Elektronika MK57A
Elektronika MK61

Elektronika MK 57A.

Distinctive features: Soviet calculator, based on General Instrument model.

Technical details:
Display is 8 digits green fluorescent.

Four functions, %, memory, square root.

4.5v (3 x AA batteries) .

76 x 153 x 25 mm (3.0" x 6.0" x 1.0").

About 1989.

Cost 23 Roubles.

The case of this calculator is very similar to models from the Canadian company General Instrument, see the General Instrument EZ3000, below.

Elektronika MK 61.

Distinctive features: Soviet programmable calculator.

Technical details:
Display is scientific, 8 digits mantissa and 2 digits exponent, green fluorescent.

Programmable Scientific (105 steps, 15 memory registers).

4.5v (3 x AA batteries) .

86 x 166 x 35 mm (3.4" x 6.5" x 1.4").

About 1989.

Cost 85 Roubles.

MK61 label

Most Calculators from the USSR have the price embossed in the back of the plastic casing!!
The MK61 was 85 Roubles (lower right) and was  manufactured in March 1989 (89 03 at upper left). The average engineer's monthly salary in the middle of the 1980s was about 200 Roubles.

Many of the electronic calculators produced in the USSR are fascinatingly different from those of other countries. For further information on these strange and exciting calculators see Andrew Davies' Museum of Soviet Calculators at http://www.taswegian.com/MOSCOWx/soviet.html

and Sergei Frolov's Soviet Calculator Museum site at http://www.xnumber.com/xnumber/russian_calcs.htm.

Elorg 801

Elorg 801
General Instruments EZ3000

Eleorg 801

Distinctive features: Soviet calculator, based on General Instrument model.

Technical details:
Display is 8 digits red LED.

Four functions, %.

4.5v (3 x AA batteries) .

76 x 153 x 25 mm (3.0" x 6.0" x 1.0").

Date stamped September 1978.

This Elorg model is for export from the U.S.S.R. and has the instructions in English moulded into the back.

The design of this calculator is very similar to models from the Canadian company General Instrument, see the General Instrument EZ3000 pictured on the right. Apparently General Instrument sold the rights to the design to the U.S.S.R.

Compare the Elorg 801 on the left with the Canadian manufactured General Instruments EZ3000 above, which dates from about 1975.

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© Text & photographs copyright Nigel Tout   2000-2017  except where noted otherwise.