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Calculator with Built-in Abacus: Double-Check, Double Solve, Double Nerd

by Lambert Varias
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The 2012 Mobile World Congress kicked off today, and that means new smartphones and other cutting edge mobile technology. But here at Technabob we’re more about cutting strange, so instead of looking at the future today let’s take a look at the past. Portable digital calculators were taking off in Japan during the 70s, but old habits die hard. Especially if they’re centuries old. Hence these Japanese calculators with built-in abacuses:

sharp calculator with abacus soroban

The calculators in these pictures were both made by Sharp and released during the late 70s. They were informally known as sorocal or soroban calculators, soroban being the Japanese variant of the abacus. Another alternative name for it would be sorotaku, for soroban dentaku, dentaku being the Japanese term for calculator. Another name for it would be redundalator. Or maybe not.

sharp calculator with abacus soroban 2

Partners & Spade is selling these Sorocals – the one with brown beads is the EL-8048, while the one with white beads is the EL-428 – for $80 (USD). That’s like, a lot of beads.

[via The World’s Best EverRetro Calculators & X Number]




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