First hand-held battery calculator

Contributed by Caoimhin

First hand-held battery calculator

The Facit 1111 was the first battery-driven, hand-held calculator to be used in an exam at the University of Cape Town in May or June 1971. At the time, there were no examination rules preventing its use, though during the engineering process control exam the invigilator took exception to it, citing unfair advantage for the user (me!). Argument ensued and eventually the Dean of Faculty was summoned. During lengthy discussions, I insisted that since slide rules were allowed and these mechanical devices similarly assisted examinees, that the exam was not intended to test arithmetic ability, and that I was operating strictly under the rules. Eventually I was allowed to continue using it. Unfortunately, the disturbance was so intense and prolonged that I lost concentration and failed the exam! The faculty, recognising that they would have to deal with the reality of the new technology in exams, and that they were partly responsible for my poor performance, offered me the opportunity to re-write the paper. In what must have been a tacit apology, they later presented to me exactly the same exam paper, which I passed with flying colours!

It was the start of the new electronic age...

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  • 1 comment
  • 1. At 17:39 on 1 December 2010, Clive Sinclair wrote:

    The Sanyo ICC-82 was launched in Japan in May 1970. When was the Facit 1111 actually launched?

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