General Instrument EZ3000 and varieties
General Instrument EZ3000 and varieties.
Distinctive features: A model from a series of calculators made in Canada by the semiconductor manufacturer General Instrument. Versions also made under license in communist eastern Europe (see below).
Display is 8 digits, red LED.
9v (PP3 battery).
Integrated circuit - General Instrument CZL-550.
78 x 153 x 25 mm (3.1" x 6.0" x 1.0").
Manufactured around 1975.
Made in Canada.
This is a distinctive style used in several models of calculator from General Instrument.
Radio Shack EC-225
Versions were produced for other companies, as seen in the Radio Shack EC-225, on the left.
This has some detail differences; for example it uses four AA batteries rather than a 9v PP3 battery, which gives a slightly slimmer casing at the rear of the display.
In 1975 the journal 'Electronics' reported that GI was selling integrated circuits to the USSR to manufacture calculators
"GI completes calculator deal with USSR
General Instrument Corp. has signed a multimillion-dollar contract to supply the Soviet Union with calculator components some 17 months after it began negotiations with the USSR's Minitry of Electronics Industry. "To our knowledge," says Frank G. Hickey, GI president and chief executive, "this is the first contract between the USSR and a U.S. semiconductor manufacturer." The entire project, spread over the next two years, is divided into three phase, the first of which is valued in excess of $7 million.
Edgar Messing, GI's vice president for consumer electronic components, says in the first phase, covering the next 17 months, GI will deliver 250,000 calculator-component kits that the Soviets will assemble into five-function calculators. The second and third phases of the contract call for delivery of the 750,000 additional kits of components—250,000 during the second half of 1976, and the remaining 500,000 during the first half of 1977. Messing says the Soviets will export some of these calculators, probably to Western Europe. The calculators are to be assembled at a new facility outside Moscow at the rate of a million units per year on a single shift basis."
The price of simple calculators was reducing dramatically about this time and General Instrument appears to have stopped manufacturing and selling its own calculators after soon after. This deal would have allowed it to continue making money selling the integrated circuits.
Around 1977 General Instrument appears to have sold the designs to the U.S.S.R. (Russia) and departed the calculator manufacturing business. In the U.S.S.R. models were sold under the Elektronika name, and the Elorg name was apparently used for models exported.
This model manufactured in the U.S.S.R. in 1989 appears to have perpetuated the casing design of the General Instrument calculators at this late date since there is no known equivalent GI model.
© Text & photographs copyright Nigel Tout 2000-2021 except where noted otherwise.