Home > Electronics Cranny > The Electronics Cranny: What’s New in Desk Calculators!

The Electronics Cranny: What’s New in Desk Calculators!

Neil Cuppy Electronics Expert

Neil Cuppy Electronics Expert


For many years, it was only possible to use a calculating machine that was housed in a distant, dark room at the back of your office. This machine took up an enormous amount of space, caught fire easily and emitted a harmful mercury vapor thrust ray that occasionally caused nearby victims to be cut in half. Thankfully, in the past decade, great strides have been made in the field of desk calculating machines and they now take up about the same amount of space one would allot to a pizza or a gigantic tray of fries.

Consolidated Lankville R-J-285

Consolidated Lankville Calculator Model  R285

“Every year, we’re going to see the calculating machine get smaller,” noted Jarrad Heaths, an engineer with Consolidated Lankville, one of the nation’s biggest manufacturers of calculator electronics. “Eventually, I think, they will become small enough that one will be able to stick them into one’s pocket,” added Heaths, who pointed at his breast pocket for illustrative purposes. “You’ll maybe be able to get a little case for them and you can put them in your pocket, maybe fill all your pockets with calculating machines, walk around like that.  That is really our aim here at Consolidated Electronics.”

Trade magazines consider the Consolidated Model R285 to be the best desk calculator on the market.  “It has a lot of functions and it comes with a thick canvas tarp,” said Heaths, who allowed us to briefly paw at the gigantic machine.  “You’ll note instantly that you can type 12 numbers on the digital display face.  There are also these little vents on the top of the machine which allow for cooling.  The R285 does put off a lot of heat and, in extreme cases, fire which is something we’re working on,” admitted Heaths.  “We advise in tiny print at the back of the 382-page manual that you only use the R285 for 15 minutes at a time, allowing then for 30 minute “cool-off” periods.  Still, this is better than our competitors.”

Briss, Inc. is one such competitor.  Briss Calculators began producing calculators just three years ago.  “I got hooked and I when I get hooked, I go all out.  That’s why my last name is Calculators.  I had it legally changed.  It used to be “Hubbard,” said the executive, who was interviewed in a windowless, brown-paneled office built into the side of a rural hill.  “The R285 is all well and good but it’s got no elan, no pizzazz.  I mean, a guy that buys an R285– he doesn’t get excited about it like you’d get excited by a sports car or tits.  He just says, “Well, guess we need one of these,” and he doesn’t even bother to look at it.  Just takes it out of the box and dumps it on a desk. Briss aims to change all that.”


Pastoral setting where a BI002 was located.

Indeed, a Briss is all about design.  Their catalogue currently features six models, all of them impossible to ignore.  “They are very conceptual,” noted objet d’art critic Fritz Mallarme.  “We are already seeing them featured in exhibits,” added Mallarme, who was wearing a balloon tie.  “Even the way in which they are packaged is intriguing.  The BI002, for example, is purchased at an ordinary electronics store.  However, the buyer must “find” the machine, which is often located in a pastoral setting.  It’s quite outre.”

Technically, however, the Briss has not been popular in the trade magazines.  “Well they put them in fields,” said electronics expert Dan Awnings, an occasional contributor to The Electronics Cranny.  “The rain, the dew ruins them.  You end up with a digital face that is only partly readable.”  Awnings took a moment to look around in disgust.  “Also, they catch fire pretty easily too.  The desk calculator has a long way to go still.”

Look for further updates in future columns of The Electronics Cranny.

  1. Judge Socquettes
    August 14, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Oh Neil. Your articles are such a delight! Particularly when I think of how you are the offspring of simple people of the dirt, cast down off the Plains of Lankville into our cities like vermin down a watery slide. It’s just WONDERFUL!

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