Museum,  Research  &

Supporting  Scholar  Archives

(see directly below)

FEATURED MUSEUM MASTERPIECE

FEATURED ARCHIVE

TIMELINES AT A GLANCE

CHRONOLOGICAL ARCHIVES

BIOGRAPHIES

PHOTO ARCHIVES

THIS MONTH'S FEATURED MUSEUM PIECE

CHRONOLOGICAL PATENT ARCHIVE

USER MANUAL ARCHIVE

SUPPLEMENTAL ANITA PRESS ARCHIVE

1960's PHYSICAL EXHIBITS

BONUS

Project Origins

News!

(see directly below)

 Robert Ragen is the legendary inventor of the Friden 130, regarded by many scholars as the first commercial transistorized desktop calculator. The Robert Ragen Friden 130 estate, presented here for the very first time, consists of vast - previously unknown & unpublished - internal Friden Calculator Company documents and artifacts including prototypes, color slides, audio tapes of key internal discussions, and much more - all from Robert Ragen's estate. 

**ALSO**
The 2nd earliest known public press release for any commercial transistorized desktop calculator/computer

was recently discovered at
The Museum of TrailingEdge Technology

-- SEE GREEN EXHIBITS: TOP-LEFT --

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ABOVE: This is the 2nd earliest known -  and recently discovered - public press release for any commercial transistorized desktop calculator /computer (see above). It was discovered through recent advances in early newspaper archival and digitization. This museum's Curator was led to it after conducting several recent interviews with the retired Chief Engineer of WYLE Laboratories at the time, now 90. The museum's Curator was led, initially, to conducting these interviews after chancing upon a mysterious WYLE device and discovering, after conducting an analysis of early WYLE patents, that it is - in fact - the long lost prototype of the WYLE Scientific, which used to be in the personal possession of WYLE's retired Chief Engineer himself. This earliest-known surviving prototype of a commercial transistorized desktop calculator/computer is this month's featured museum piece.

The above clip is the second earliest known public press release of a commercial transistorized desktop calculator/computer. It is dated March 17, 1964 and announces the "all-transistorized"  and "typewriter" sized "WYLE Scientific" and further announces that it bridges a commercial "gap" between mechanical calculators and full-fledged computers. Less than a week after this press release came out there were already several additional - and recently discovered - press announcements for the WYLE Scientific (see this Site). As noted above, the spectacular hand-built and 100% breadboarded prototype for this WYLE Scientific is this month's featured museum piece. 

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PRESS RELEASE DATES

Compare this WYLE Scientific public press release date with other earliest-known publicly-published press releases (see below). Coincidentally, Sharp's earliest announcement came only one day later than WYLE's. Sources and "clips" may be found this museum's open-archive pages.

 

Note: Sharp is listed twice because its March 18th, 1964 announcement (which we learned about from the Dentaku Museum) has not been independently verified by our museum and its newspaper of publication is also not presently known to us.

1) Mathatronics Mathatron.....Feb (Mar) 1964   (see Mathatron archive)

2) WYLE Scientific (WS-01)....March 17, 1964  (Asbury Park Evening Press)

3) Sharp Compet (CS-10A)......March 18, 1964  (see Sharp CS-10A archive)

4) IME 84.........................................April 12, 1964     (see IME S.p.A. archive)

5) Sharp Compet (CS-10A)......May 19, 1964      (see Sharp CS-10A archive)

6) Friden 130 (EC-130)...............May 20, 1964      (see Friden EC-130 archive)

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COMMERCIAL ADVERTISEMENT DATES

The Museum of Trailing-Edge Technology recently discovered an important date that has previously been unreported on, to the best of our knowledge. We found a surprisingly early date for the first WYLE Scientific ad. We found it in the May 1964 release (June cover date; see NOTE below) of Scientific American. This commercial ad is dated the 2nd earliest. Also surprisingly, this WYLE Scientific full-page ad appears on Page #1, which was quite a splash. Scientific American is the longest running magazine in the United States.

Please note that the image of the ad itself has long been known about and is available in many archives online. Its the very early date of this ad that we have not seen reported on. Also, its high-profile Page-1 splash was a surprise. 

NOTE: Scientific American, as with most monthly magazines In the United States, Canada and the UK, have "cover dates" about a month later than the day of actual release. That way the material seems to stay relevant longer, from a marketing standpoint. Scientific American followed, and still follows, this practice. Consequently it appears likely that the below sales ad for the WYLE Scientific came out sometime in early May 1964, For the IME 84 the corresponding date is early April 1964 and for the Mathatron its early March 1965.

FOR CLIPS AND DOCUMENTATION SUPPORTING EACH ENTRY BELOW,

 PLEASE CLICK ON THE CHRONOLOGICAL ARCHIVE FOR EACH MODEL.

1) IME 84.....................April (May cover date) 1964, in Office magazine.

2) WYLE Scientific..May (June cover date) 1964, in Scientific American (Page #1)

3) Sharp CS-10A......July 31, 1964; (Newspaper: Price & contact sales)

4) ***Mathatron.........Aug 17, 1964; Company Profitable; The Boston Globe

                         Note: Profitability is indirect evidence of ads - but no ads found yet

5) Friden 130..............October 24, 1964; Burlington Free Press.

6) ***Mathatron.........March (April cover date) 1965; American Scientist

                         Note: ***Earliest presently known commercial ad for Mathatron 

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Page 1

(After turning the cover page!!!)

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Contact information is given in the "Index of Advertisers" on page 137 of this magazine

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PUBLIC DEMONSTRATION DATES

1) Mathatron..............Nov 1963; NEREM Show in Boston
2) IME 84......................April 12, 1964; Fiera De Milano, Italy
3) WYLE Scientific...April 21, 1964; Datamation Conference, Wash. D.C.
4) ***Friden 130..........May 20, 1964; Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York. 
??) Sharp CS-10A...... (no presently confirmed date)

***Note: The above Friden 130 demonstration/announcement date (at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel) was a public demonstration of a commercial model. This is to be distinguished from the date of the secret Friden backroom demonstration of a non-desktop prototype (recently discovered internal Friden documentation to be published shortly) at a presently unknown tradeshow & day in June 1963 with reported non-disclosure agreements. As is reported in The Old Calculator Museum:
 
"At a rather secretive event, the Friden 130 prototype was shown to a specially-selected audience at a business machines exposition in June of 1963. Attendees were required to sign a non-disclosure agreement stating that they must keep what they see completely secret. The attendees were shown the machine in a suite, away from the main exhibition floor."
 
The date of this private showing of a non-desktop working prototype is quite different from the date of a public announcement and demonstration of a desktop production unit. Dates of private demonstrations of prototypes should ideally be compared with the same. Likewise, dates of public demonstrations of commercial models should ideally be compared with the same.

Note: Both Friden, and WYLE's Matthew Alexander, were giving private/secret demonstrations of the their respective pre-production prototypes in 1963, to audiences of industry and trade executives. Specifically, this was by June of 1963 for Friden's non-desktop prototype and November 1963 for Friden's desktop prototype, the 130 (internal Friden documentation will be published soon). Also, by August 1963, for the WYLE Scientific desktop pre-production prototype.

SHOWN BELOW: The first public demonstration of the WYLE Scientific Production Model on  April 21, 1964 (not a prototype; taken from the "second batch" of production) at the Datamation Computer Conference in Washington D.C.. Matthew A. Alexander led the demonstrations for WYLE Laboratories.

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 Compare:   Sample Computational Power
                                  On Day of Release

                                  Digits   Registers   Memories  Square  Root 
WYLE Scientific   24               6                    3                     YES
Mathatron 4-24  9+2              4                    4                     YES
Sharp CS-10A         20              4                     1                      NO
IME 84                         16               4                     1                      NO
Friden 130                  13               4                     1                      NO

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(MoTET Score)

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The Museum of Trailing-Edge Technology kindly asks that scholars spotting errors in this website, or knowing of the existence of earlier publications, patents, supporting or refuting evidence, misclassifications, etc., please notify us as soon as possible so we may investigate, correct, add or improve this website. Thank you. Our goal is to be as accurate as possible and we depend on help from the larger community of historians of computation to make this happen. 

 

Dr. Christopher Kavanau, the Curator of the museum, is also an Assistant Professor at East Stroudsburg University, with a research focus in computational neuroscience. He may be reached at his email address there: ckavanau@esu.edu  

Portrait of Grace Hopper by Aryn Coyle. In the collection of the Afflerbach Mansion Art Gallery at the Museum of Trailing-Edge Technology

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