Until fairly recently, I had never heard of Curta calculators. These little mechanical marvels were invented by Curt Herzstark (1902-1988) in the late 1930s, and from the late 1940s until the early 1970s they were popular portable calculators. Eventually, they were replaced by portable electronic calculators.
Due to their shape, the Curta calculators were nicknamed “pepper grinders” and “math grenades”. In all their mechanical intricacy, I find them very sexy machines. If you want to have an idea of how these calculators work, take a look at this video:
or at Jan Meyer’s amaxing Curta Simulator.
- The CURTA Calculator Page (by Rick Furr)
- The Amazing CURTA! (by Bruce Flamm)
- Curta Calculating Machines (by Greg Saville)
- Disassembling a Curta Calculator (by Greg Saville)