NOTE: Next month's featured museum pieces are the only known surviving logic cards of NASA/JPL's 1961 RANGER 1 spaceflight computer (the ground-based back-up copy). These gold-filled cards are the most visually spectacular in the museum's collection.
THIS MONTH'S FEATURED MUSEUM PIECE
The Museum of Trailing-Edge Technology is deeply indebted to Mr. Carlos Tomaszewski for graciously bestowing valuable historical information about this month's museum piece, The WYLE Laboratories WYLE Scientific WS-01 Prototype, as well as his expert advice on how it should be properly restored. Mr. Tomaszewski was the Chief Engineer at WYLE Laboratories in charge of creating the WS-01 and WS-02 production models. We are indebted to Carlos for the two interviews the museum's curator had with him on March 16, 2021 and April 3rd, 2021, plus various additional email follow-up correspondence.
The WYLE Scientific WS-01 Prototype PHOTO GALLERY for the WYLE Scientific WS-01 Prototype
follows this important introduction
This 1963 WYLE Scientific WS-01 Prototype (WS stands for WYLE Scientific) is one of the very earliest, if not the earliest, transistorized desktop calculator prototypes ever made. It is also likely the earliest known to survive (see below). WYLE Laboratories, (pronounced "Why" + "Lee") was the largest independent aerospace testing organization in the world in 1963, providing engineering, scientific and technical services to NASA and the Department of Defense, with a revenue of $1.2 billion when Frank Wyle retired as President.
This hand-built and 100% breadboarded WYLE Scientific WS-01 prototype gave birth to the WYLE Scientific WS-01 production unit. The WYLE Scientific WS-01 production unit is a member of the very earliest group of five commercial desktop transistorized calculators. Recent discoveries, through modern newspaper digitization and search have placed the WYLE Scientific WS-01 production unit at the head of the pack in terms of priority dates (see Figures below; Also see the News Section for details). For example, a recently digitized newspaper press release (see below) uncovered by our museum, dated March 17, 1964, is the second earliest yet discovered for a commercial desktop transistorized calculator/computer.
These five early calculating devices founded the "dawn period" of personal transistorized desktop computing. This movement ultimately led to - as transistors relentlessly miniaturized - the modern personal desktop computer. In a September 3, 1964 interview by The Valley News with Frank Wyle, the President and Founder of WYLE Laboratories, Mr. Wyle makes clear that he shares this exact same vision in regards to his WYLE Scientific.
"Pointing out that the solution of problems on computers requires the help of a professional programmer, translation of the problem into machine language and often hours, or even weeks, of waiting and set-up time, Wyle said that the company had achieved its goal of providing an inexpensive computer-like capability that would be completely under the control of the individual. With the card reader the engineer or scientist can punch out frequently used equations on cards which may be kept in a desk file. Whenever he needs to use the equation, he inserts the card into the machine and enters the number variables manually on the calculator keyboard" (The Valley News, Van Nuys, CA; also see this museum's WS-01 archive).
To put the WYLE Scientific (WS-01) into context with its contemporary peers, IME S.p.A. formally demonstrated Massimo Rinaldi's elegantly designed IME 84 calculator at the Fiera de Milano, Italy, on April 12, 1964, only nine days earlier than WYLE Laboratories demonstration of the Tomaszewski/Scuitto WYLE Scientific (WS-01) production unit (not a prototype) at the Datamation Computer Conference, in Washington D.C., Booth 200, on April 21, 1964 (see Figure below). Matthew A. Alexander, of WYLE Laboratories, led those demonstrations (more below).
Using the above-mentioned newly developed search technologies applied to recently digitized old newspapers from this time period, our museum has revealed a previously unreported - and highly significant - public newspaper press release dated March 17, 1964 for the WYLE Scientific. This news clipping is reproduced below. At present, it stands as the second earliest known public press release for a desktop transistorized computer/calculator. It is second only to the Mathatronics Mathatron's February 1964 announcement in Computers and Automation (a March 1964 "cover date"). Near the end of this March 17th 1964 ad, WYLE's device is specifically referred to as the "WYLE Scientific" and indicates that it will bridge the commercial gap between mechanical calculators and full-scale computers.
Regardless of what historical criteria, or criterion, is used to determine "first," the IME 84, Friden 130, Sharp Compet, Mathatronics Mathatron and WYLE Scientific are all among the very earliest pioneering group of five commercial calculators (see News section). However, only the WYLE Scientific (WS-01) and Mathatronics Mathatron were uniquely suited to the scientific community for scientific calculations in the laboratory. This is because only they had the capability to electronically extract square roots with the press of a single button, a very crucial mathematical operation in the sciences and engineering. In relation to all its peers, the WYLE Scientific (WS-01) also boasts a stunning 24-digit capacity (hence the tiny, but beautiful, font on the CRT). The Mathatron 4-24 has a 9+2 digit capacity. The Sharp Compet (CS-10A) comes in second at an impressive 20 digits, though its still four orders of magnitude less than The WYLE Scientific.
The museum's curator was very fortunate to speak with Mr. Carlos Tomaszewski, now 92, over several telephone interviews, as well as several email correspondences. Carlos was the Chief Engineer at WYLE Laboratories that headed the production and circuit board artwork design of both the WYLE Scientific (WS-01) and WYLE Scientific (WS-02) production units. Mr. Tomaszewski said he is very familiar with our Museum's WYLE Scientific (WS-01) Prototype, as it was in his personal possession for many years. Carlos said he kept this Prototype at home, and then eventually brought it to Compucorp. Sometime after that, Carlos said, "it disappeared." The WYLE Scientific Prototype apparently had no particular name other than being referenced as "the machine."
Carlos confirmed that this prototype is, in fact, the only WYLE Scientific (WS-01) prototype that was ever made leading up to the WS-01 production unit. It was invented and patented by the fabulously brilliant Thomas John Scuitto (pronounced "sue"+"toe"), and hand-built by both Thomas Scuitto and Roger Muller in 1962-1963, possibly starting as early as 1960 or 1961. Thomas Scuitto also invented and patented a bi-directional punched card reader for his WYLE Scientific that accepts looped cards, thereby making true program branching and program loops an easy task. Mr. Roger Muller, who played a very significant role in building this WYLE Scientific WS-01 Prototype, in later years moved to Tektronix in the Seattle area.
Thomas John Scuitto was born in Seattle Washington on Feb 21, 1928. His mother, Alice N Scuitto, raised him alone working six days a week as a beautician in a beauty shop making $1,750 a year. To learn more about Thomas John Scuitto, and his extraordinary life, please see the below link to this website's biography of Thomas Scuitto.
Carlos, introducing Mr. Scuitto for the first time, explained, "Tom Scuitto was the designer showing it, and I happened to join the company when the machine was just about getting ready, and finishing the design." Carlos joined WYLE Laboratories, as Chief Engineer of WYLE's Products Division, in September 1962. This was the same year Frank Wyle, President of the company, gave the go-ahead to fund the completion of the WYLE Scientific calculator project for a sum of nearly $9 million, in 2021 dollars (nearly $1 million in 1962 dollars).
The whole adventure began, Carlos explained, when WYLE purchased a Long Beach, California, company making transistorized plug-in "blade" logic cards, something Frank Wyle wanted to get more into, as well as power supplies and custom contracted digital data acquisition and processing systems, like a Telephone Traffic Analyzer that they were making for ATT/Bell Labs. WYLE's calculator project was inherited as an already existing project from this Long Beach acquisition, along with its colorful and vibrant inventor, Thomas John Scuitto and his business partner Matthew A. Alexander, an Englishman everyone called "Matt." By the time Carlos joined WYLE in September 1962 as Chief Engineer of WYLE's Product's Division, all the personnel and manufacturing operations of this Long Beach acquisition had already been fully integrated into the WYLE Products Division of the company by Jack Rosenburg, the Chief Engineer. Mr. Rosenburg had put Carlos in charge of creating a production design from Scuitto's hand-built prototype. Soon after, some differences erupted between Frank Wyle and Mr. Rosenburg which resulted in Mr. Rosenburg's departure from the company, at which time Carlos was promoted to the position of Chief Engineer.
Within the last three of months of 1962, Carlos went to work on creating the PC board artwork that combined Scuitto's prototype calculator circuits with Scuitto's new automatic decimal point circuitry. During these early years, Thomas Scuitto and Carlos Tomaszewski worked in the same, but small, building across the street from the "plant" (the main building on 133 Center Street of El Segundo, CA.). Carlos referenced this smaller building where they both worked as both "The Lab" and as "the white house," a nickname referencing the paint color of the building. Carlos said that the street they crossed to get to it was more like an alley. By mid 1963, Matthew Alexander was making trips in his car with this WYLE Scientific (WS-01) Prototype, demonstrating its remarkable power, speed and utter silence of operation, as a sales tool to various outside trade and industry executives in the greater Los Angeles area, to gauge their level of interest in this incredible device.
These demonstrations of the WYLE Scientific Prototype continued while Carlos was wrapping up the circuit board artwork for the "production design" of the WYLE Scientific WS-01 production unit, and then building, with his "crew," seven or eight production units to be used as "samples" for sales (the "first batch"). Once built, nearly the end of 1963, Carlos said that he put a group together to check them out and was completely finished with that process before the end of 1963. The "second batch" of commercial production started soon after the New Year. The Datamation Computer Conference used at least one WYLE Scientific taken from this "second batch" of commercial production.
After Carlos's seven or eight production design samples were completed in 1963, the WYLE Scientific Prototype was officially retired from demonstrations as a promotional tool. Some of these seven or eight production samples were sold to, as Carlos described, "original buyers," in the 4th quarter of 1963, as a result of sales from Matthew Alexander's hard work from his earlier demonstrations. These were the first units sold of the WYLE Scientific. As Carlos recalled, "First we had that hand-built unit, then we had the seven that had the final artworks, the boards, and that's when we went into production." The production that immediately followed was called the "second batch." The Datamation Computer Conference used a unit from this "second batch" of commercial production.
The seven or eight WS-01 Tomaszewski production design "samples" (the "first batch" of commercial design made just before commercial production of the "second batch") fused Scuitto's patented WS-01 Prototype calculator design (filed October 7th, 1963) with Scuitto's newly invented "Calculator Decimal Point Alignment Apparatus" (with a somewhat delayed patent filing date of June 12, 1964, about nine months later). As noted in the first sentence of the 1964 patent, "This invention relates generally to electronic calculator apparatus and more particularly to improved means for entering numbers into such apparatus." This second patent was essentially the invention of the circuits for the decimal point key. As noted in an ad for the WYLE Scientific (April 1965 issue of the American Statistician), "Decimal points are entered the same as digits, using an eleventh key, and all input and answers are correctly aligned with decimal point on the output display." The decimal point key - the "eleventh key" - had been born.
Hence, the WS-01 production units conveniently eliminated the "preset" key and "preset" selector rotary switch (decimal point controls) of the WS-01 Prototype in favor of a simple decimal point key, which is pushed before entering the fractional part of a number. This clever technological advance is noted in its operating manual as its 2nd most notable feature, "Automatic decimal alignment - The decimal point is entered at the place where it occurs in the number. The number is positioned automatically. And so are all answers."
Carlos confirmed that the WS-01 Prototype is uniquely distinguished by its "preset" key and "preset" control selector rotary switch, as well as the conspicuous lack of a decimal point key. These "preset" controls, and lack of decimal point key, are features in only the earliest WYLE Laboratories calculator patents. The WYLE Scientific Prototype, in its hardware specifics, including its unique "preset" controls and lack of decimal point, are detailed in the earliest Thomas Scuitto calculator patent (assigned to WYLE laboratories) that was filed on October 7, 1963. This WYLE Prototype served as "proof of concept" for this October 7, 1963 patent.
It is significant, in our view, that Thomas Scuitto's October 7, 1963 filing date (the patent's priority date) for this WYLE Scientific (WS-01) Prototype actually predates Robert A. Ragen's October 29, 1963 desktop calculator patent filing date (priority date), by over three weeks (comparing patent priority dates). For those who might not know, Robert A. Ragan is the brilliant inventor of the Friden EC-130. The Friden EC-130 and the WYLE Scientific both use cathode ray tubes to display data.
Remarkably, this WYLE Scientific (WS-01) Prototype, as well as the later WYLE Scientific production units, has the dazzling capability of being able to electronically extract square roots with the press of a single button, something the Friden EC-130, IME 84 and Sharp Compet (CS-10A) calculators are not capable of by themselves. WYLE's sales literature notes that the WS-01 extracts the square root of a 23-digit number in less than two seconds - a mind-boggling speed compared to the few mechanical calculators that were capable at the time (the Friden SRQ and SRW, both in the museum's collection).
Physically, the WYLE Scientific (WS-01) Prototype is 100% breadboarded and completely hand-wired and hand fabricated. It utilizes two high voltage rectifier vacuum tubes and sports a remarkable "flying saucer-like" fixed-head rotating magnetic drum for its three memory registers & clock timing, etc.*** To make these memory drums, WYLE purchased rolls of Mylar from IBM, coated with a magnetic oxide, and then cut and glued it inside the aluminum disc comprising the rotor (the top part), which connected to the motor directly (a direct drive), without any gearing or belts. Even the cover to the prototype is hand-constructed, as can be seen from its interior. It is replete with an interface for automatic data input/output, as well as prototype testing (the connector at the back; see Oct 7, 1963 patent; also see the second long wire of the prototype for prototype testing). The automatic data input/output consisted of a paper tape reader and punch, which have since been lost. According to the Oct 7, 1963 patent describing the WS-01 prototype, "Thus, the apparatus of FIGURE 24 can be utilized to effectively automatically perform the same operations on different numerical data for relieving the calculator user of the key actuation chore."
***Rick Bensene, Curator of The Old Calculator Museum, graciously chimed in to elaborate more specifically (on the "etc."): The memory drum specifically produces two clock signals, provides 3 temporary storage working registers, and 3 memory registers. Additionally, there is one more register acting as a delay element during calculations. Mr. Bensene also noted that it is interesting that the Wyle Scientific calculators employ a switching power supply to produce the high voltages needed for the CRT. He noted that this is significantly more complex a solution than the relatively simple and reliable diode-capacitor voltage multipliers, for example used in the Friden EC-130.
Of final note, if the WYLE Scientific WS-1 Prototype is the earliest known surviving prototype, then what are the next two earliest known surviving transistorized desktop calculator prototypes? To the best of our museum's knowledge - and based on publicly available information - the next two date to about a year later than the WYLE Scientific (WS-01) Prototype, and are as follows (see 1 & 2 below). Note: If anyone reading this paragraph has reasonable evidence of an earlier surviving prototype in non-public hands than the WYLE Scientific (WS-01) Prototype, kindly let the museum's curator know so we can update this article.
SECOND EARLIEST KNOWN SURVIVING PROTOTYPE: Hewlett Packard's "Green Machine," invented by Thomas Osborne (at the National Museum of American History) which is the early prototype for the HP 9100A (HP's first desktop calculator). According to the Old Calculator Museum, the Green Machine became fully operational in December 1964,the same month/year WYLE Laboratories WS-02 debuts. Hence, the "Green Machine" prototype dates to over a year later than WYLE Scientific (WS-01) Prototype. According to the The National Museum of American History:
"Thomas E. Osborne began thinking about the design of a desktop electronic calculator suited for calculating the very large and very small numbers encountered in scientific work. In January of 1964, he formed the firm Logic Design, Inc., to develop his ideas. By late 1964, he had built this prototype keyboard and display, as well as a prototype logic unit."
Source: Bernard M. Oliver, “How the Model 9100A Was Developed,” Hewlett-Packard Journal, September, 1968. A copy of this article may be found at the HP Museum website
Lastly, Thomas E. Osborne filed his patent for his prototype fairly late on June 23, 1966 (Patent Application serial number 599,887). His patent was issued on November 23, 1971 (US 827795A, Hewlett Packard Assignee).
To compare, Thomas Scuitto's patent filing date (pri0rity date) for the WYLE Scientific prototype was on October 7, 1963 (US3330946), nearly three (3) years earlier than Thomas E Osborne's patent filing date (priority date).
THIRD EARLIEST KNOWN SURVIVING PROTOTYPE: Sony MD-6 prototype (at the National Museum of American History), dating to approximately July 1964, and is one of SONY's prototypes for the SOBAX ICC-500. Hence, it dates to about a year later than the WYLE Scientific (WS-01) Prototype.
Below are the three above-referenced figures with captions and then PHOTO GALLERY #1 of the WYLE Scientific (WS-01) Prototype follows. Much further down is PHOTO GALLERY #2.
Between these two photo galleries is a very remarkable Patent and Structural Analysis of the WYLE Scientific (WS-01) Prototype performed by our museum. Prior to speaking with Mr. Carlos Tomaszewski, the below WYLE patent analysis was the key to unlocking the mystery of this historic machine!
FIGURE 1 (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.
COMPARE EARLIEST KNOWN
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)
FIGURE 2 (below)
COMPARE EARLIEST KNOWN
COMMERCIAL ADVERTISEMENT DATES
The Museum of TrailingEdge Technology recently discovered that the first commercial ad placed for the WYLE Scientific appeared in May 1964 (June cover date**) in Scientific American, which is the 2nd earliest date for a commercial ad so far discovered with only the IME 84 being earlier. Remarkably, this first commercial ad for the WYLE Scientific appears on Page #1 of Scientific American, the oldest continuously running magazine in the United States.
Please note that the ad image itself has long been known about. Only the very early date and high-profile nature of it was recently discovered.
**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 release. The below sales ad for the WYLE Scientific came out in early May 1964, For the IME 84 it is early April 1964 and the Mathatron, March 1965.
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 none found yet
5) Friden 130..............October 24, 1964; Burlington Free Press.
6) ***Mathatron.........March (April cover date) 1965; American Scientist
NOTE: ***Earliest presently known ad for Mathatron
Page 1 of Scientific American (!)
(The facing page right after turning the cover page)
FIGURE 3 (below)
COMPARE EARLIEST KNOWN
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.
5) 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 prototype 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 is quite different from the date of a public announcement and demonstration of a production unit. Dates of private demonstrations of prototypes should be compared with the same. Likewise with public demonstrations of commercial models.
Note: Both Friden, and WYLE's Matthew Alexander, were giving private/secret demonstrations to audiences of industry and trade executives by mid-1963 of their respective pre-production prototypes.
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.
The WYLE Scientific WS-01 Prototype
Original Patent/Structural Analysis
of The WYLE Laboratories WS-01 Prototype
**NOTE: This patent/structural analysis of the prototype was written prior to recent conversations and communications with Mr. Carlos Tomaszewski, who is the former Chief Engineer for WYLE Laboratories that managed the WS-01 and WS-02 production models. These conversations and communications confirmed the analysis below that this machine is the WYLE Laboratories WS-01 Prototype.
This is a pre-production, 100% breadboarded, prototype of an extremely early 1st generation WYLE Laboratories transistorized desktop calculator, likely built sometime in 1963. The discrete components in this prototype, including two vacuum tubes, were hand wired without a single printed circuit board trace in the entire device. It was designed and patented by WYLE Laboratory’s prodigiously brilliant electrical designer, Dr. Thomas John Scuitto, with his patent assigned to WYLE Laboratories.
This prototype seems likely to have been the functional prototype used in WYLE's October 7th, 1963 patent filing (see below). It uses highly unusual decimal point controls that are described as central features in the earliest WYLE calculator patents. WYLE's later June 12th, 1964 patent specifically targeted these one-of-a-kind controls for elimination - by making them obsolete - thereby introducing the convenient decimal point key, where the fractional part of a number may be entered after depressing it - hence comporting the WS-01 and WS-02 calculator's function.
Also, all the date codes on the germanium transistors that I have checked in this prototype - so far from a very limited look - are all from 1963, the earliest being from January 1963 and the latest being from the 40th week of 1963 (September 30th to October 6th, 1963).
This WYLE Laboratories prototype is certainly among the very earliest transistorized desktop calculator prototypes, from a historical standpoint. To put this in perspective, IME S.p.A. formally demonstrated the IME-84 at the Milan Fair on 4/12/64, while WYLE Laboratories formally demonstrated the WS-01 at the 4/21/64 Datamation Computer Conference in Washington D.C., only nine days later. The IME-84 is argued by many to be the first transistorized desktop calculator.
To further put this prototype into perspective, Dr. Scuitto's October 7th, 1963 patent for WYLE (uniquely describing this prototype and its one-of-a-kind features) predates Robert A. Ragen's October 29th 1963 desktop calculator patent by over three weeks. Further Scuitto's calculator patent included a square root function, whereas Ragen's did not. Robert A. Ragan was the brilliant lead inventor of the Friden EC-130, also argued by many to be the first transistorized desktop calculator.
Given the above, there is a strong case to be made that this WYLE prototype dates to earlier than Hewlett Packard's 1964 "Green Machine" prototype, considered by many to be the earliest surviving transistorized desktop calculator prototype. This is because the “Green Machine” prototype was built at roughly the same time as when the commercial WS-01 had been formally introduced and demonstrated to the public (see below) and the prototype featured here predates the WS-01 1964 era.
In absence of a WYLE model number, and in the interest of conveying temporal order in relation to the WS-01 and WS-02, the museum decided to designate this prototype the "WS-01 Prototype."
This WS-01 Prototype significantly predates WYLE's later June 12th, 1964 automatic decimal point patent, used in the WS-01 & WS-02 calculators - hence there is no decimal point key on the WS-01 Prototype, but instead a "preset key" and "preset selector" rotary switch, which are used to control the decimal point internally, according to the earliest 1963 patent.
The automatic decimal point system of Dr. Scuitto's later 1964 patent was incorporated into the creation of the WS-01 production model calculators. The earlier October 7th, 1963 patent describes the WS-01 Prototype in detail down to the "preset key," "preset selector" rotary switch and absence of a decimal point key.
The special "preset key", "preset selector" rotary switch, and the absence of a decimal point key of the WS-01 Prototype, were the proverbial keys to unlocking the mystery of this prototype. This is because these features are both central to the October 7th, 1963 patent, as well as centrally targeted for elimination (as rendered obsolete) in the June 12th, 1964 patent (describing the WS-01 production model). Hence this WS-01 prototype, modeled in accordance to the 1963 patent, almost certainly predates the WS-01 model, modeled after the 1964 patent, over eight months later.
Given the above, the WS-01 Prototype likely significantly predates the April 21 1964 public unveiling of the WS-01 production models. For simplicity, If we temporarily assume the WS-01 Prototype predates this April 21, 1964 marker by the same eight month interval, as with the corresponding patents, then that would provide a very rough guess for the WS-01 Prototype at August 1963, only two months prior to the October 7th 1963 patent which clearly describes it. Again, the latest date codes on its germanium transistors seen so far are from the 40th week of 1963 (September 30 to October 6th, 1963) and the earliest being from January 1963. All these dates are consistent with the above hypothesis. Hence it is very possible, perhaps even likely, that this WYLE Laboratories prototype was the working prototype for their October 7th, 1963 calculator patent. One has to wonder what groups of corporate/industry outsiders, if any, might have received a demonstration of it in 1963.
The entire purpose of WYLE's later June 12th, 1964 patent was to eliminate the "preset key" and "preset selector" rotary switch, used on the WS-01 Prototype, thereby allowing direct and convenient decimal point entry, as in the later WS-01 production models.