Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Olivetti Programma 101

If you go back in computing history and search for the roots of personal computers you will for sure stumble across the HP 9100. However, most probably you will end up with the Olivetti Programma 101 which is recognized as the world’s first desktop computer commercially produced.

At the BEMA Universal Exhibition in New York in October 1965, Olivetti launched a programmable calculator fitting on a desk. In the era of huge mainframes that was revolutionary. As the HP 9100 it was built without integrated circuits or microprocessors. There are other similarities between those two calculators like the magnetic card reader. It looks like Hewlett Packard copied this and that from the Programma 101, at least they had to pay $900’000 to Olivetti due to patent infringements. If you want to learn more details about the Programma 101 have a look at Olivetti Programma 101 “Perottina” and The incredible story of the first PC. There is even a simulator for this interesting machine.

While looking for some information about the Programma 101 I stumbled across an article about it in Business Week published on October 23, 1965. That’s actually my birthday, a funny coincidence 🙂

Programma 101 Announcement

Filed under Uncategorized : Comments (0) : Jul 7th, 2018


On the forum of I’ve learned about the Elektronika T3-16 desktop calculator. It seems that this calculator is a reverse engineered HP-9100B. The electronics looks not very professional, a lot of wires, and the case looks edged and less stylish than the 9100B. Funnily it appears in a movie, however, I don’t understand Russian so I don’t what’s the story line. I’m wondering how many of these calculators were made? If anybody knows some details about this calculator please share the information with me.

Filed under Uncategorized : Comments (1) : Feb 13th, 2017

HP 9100 Prototype

Today I stumbled across a description of an HP 9100 prototype on the web site of The National Museum of American History. The prototype already looks quite similar to the final calculator. The keys are mostly the same, however, the keyboard layout differs slightly. It looks like the prototype has no magnetic card reader. Unfortunately, there is no picture showing the inside. According to the museum, it was a gift of the Hewlett Packard company. I wonder if it’s still working?

Filed under Uncategorized : Comments (0) : Jan 15th, 2017

Reverse Polish Sausage

You wonder what a Reverse Polish Sausage looks like? Then you have to read this article on the Economist web site. It provides some historical information about RPN and also references the HP 9100A.

Filed under Uncategorized : Comments (0) : Apr 5th, 2014

About repairing HP 9100 calcs

Check out these articles about repairing an HP 9100B and repairing an HP 9100A calculator, with many pictures.

Filed under Uncategorized : Comments (2) : Feb 2nd, 2014

Environmental-Chamber Control System

A while ago, I stumbled across the electronic book Facilities for Insect Research and Production. Section 1 describes in detail how a HP 9100B calculator controls an environmental chamber for culturing insects. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under Uncategorized : Comments (0) : Jan 31st, 2014

Scanning and sharing manuals

I’ve collected many HP 9100 manuals and would like to scan and share them. However, scanning manuals is a LOT of work, and without good equipment the results are often of minor quality. I did a little research and found Blue Leaf Book Scanning Service. That seems to be a good option, but I will have to spend quite some bucks. Read the rest of this entry »

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Filed under Uncategorized : Comments (0) : Jun 29th, 2013

Computer-based Education

I’ve found a great YouTube video about the usage of HP-9100 calculators and peripherals in education.

Filed under Uncategorized : Comments (0) : Dec 6th, 2012

Let’s get started

All beginnings are difficult, you know. My original intention was to write a nice home page first. Unfortunately, I’m still waiting for inspiration which is blocking any progress. Therefore, I decided to proceed the other way around and just write down the information I discover. Not a well-structured approach, I know, but as spare time is rare I have to compromise.

Filed under Uncategorized : Comments (0) : Apr 4th, 2012