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OT- The Curta -- best portable calculator in the world

Milland

Diamond
Joined
Jul 6, 2006
Location
Hillsboro, New Hampshire
No direct experience, but in the late 60's and 70's when there were articles on Rallying in Car and Driver or similar magazines there'd almost always be a reference (or full-on story) about them. They'd be used for calculating speed, distance, and time for getting the waypoint stops right.
 

Screwmachine

Titanium
Joined
Mar 8, 2001
Location
Switzerland
My Dad had a Curta II, he would actually let us play with it as kids, but he showed us what to do and what not to do... and we knew if we broke it it would be bad. He used it as a real estate appraiser, in the field (had the leather hip case) and office, then switched to an HP and shelved the Curta. We never figured out how to work the RPN calculator so we didn't play with the HP haha. Though I do use an HP35 now.

I've never worked on one, but I know a couple of watchmakers who do and even make replacement parts for them. Ultra cool machines!
 

L Vanice

Diamond
Joined
Feb 8, 2006
Location
Fort Wayne, IN
I bought a new MGB roadster in 1967 and joined the two local sports car clubs. I did the rally thing and bought a Curta from the local Datsun dealer.

I think there were some drivers that bought a Swedish Halda modified taxicab meter that was said to be useful.

Some years ago, I sold my Curta, still like new with all the papers, to a collector.

Larry
 

mixdenny

Cast Iron
Joined
Feb 5, 2005
Location
North Olmsted, Ohio
The Curta was standard equipment in the rallying world through the 1970's Early electronic calculators could not do the math required. Halda made fully adjustable odometers, the Tripmaster and the Twinmaster. Each rally began with a carefully measured section about 10 miles long. This allowed you to adjust the odometer using the built in gear train (like a lathe). If you had only the car's odometer you made a correction factor.

Halda also made the Speed Pilot, a really neat instrument. It had an adjustable odometer also and it read out on a dial that compared your present position to the correct "rallymaster mile" as it went along. All you had to do was keep the two needles matched and you were on time. Instead of a gear train it had rubber cones to provide continuously variable adjustments. Changes in average speed were easily accommodated. The rally instruction might be CAST - 32. That meant Change Average Speed To 32 miles per hour.

Halda Speedpilot | VintageRally.com
 

Scottl

Diamond
Joined
Nov 3, 2013
Location
Eastern Massachusetts, USA
Cool machine, and quite a story behind it. The inventor, like so many in Europe, suffered first under the Nazis and than had to flee from the equally evil Soviets. Two flavors of totalitarianism, both noted for their barbarism, cruelty, and suppression of the human spirit.

Those who have never suffered under such regimes can't truly appreciate how precious freedom is.
 

Ries

Diamond
Joined
Mar 15, 2004
Location
Edison Washington USA
Like many obscure things, Curta Calculators appear in the novels of William Gibson- Sci-fi author who doesnt write about aliens or space travel, just about the very near future.
 








 
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