Facit Calculator Stories


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Stories and memories of Facit from all around the world.

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Facit Calculator Stories

  1. 1. Christian Sandström holds a PhD from ChalmersUniversity of Technology, Sweden. He writes and speaks about disruptive innovation and technological change.
  2. 2. Facit was amanufacturer of…
  3. 3. … mechanicalcalculators…
  4. 4. Typewriters…
  5. 5. … And office furniture…
  6. 6. Once upon a time, the Facit wizardsmiled all over the world.
  7. 7. Kids played withthem, and they were seen everywhere along with the calculators.
  8. 8. Today, Facit is history.
  9. 9. In 1971-72, the electroniccalculator put anend to 50 years of success.
  10. 10. However, a lot ofpeople still have arelationship to the products.
  11. 11. Memories do not fade away.
  12. 12. I have collected a few stories from all around the world...
  13. 13. The user ‘Broad-banned’:“We used them in first year Physics in 1967 - before that it was slide rules and log tables. They used to jam up frequently so very frustrating to use. Division was a matter of turning the handle forward till the bell rang, then back one turn, then on to the next column. Calculating variances took forever.”
  14. 14. The user ’Woodag’:“In 1967 I had the dubious honour of being in the last group at my uni to do a numerical analysis course using Facit machines like that…
  15. 15. “Besides the bell which indicated the result had gone negative when dividing, they were far fromsilent. A whole room full of students working away with them produced quite a racket.”
  16. 16. In a newsletter from the Chemistry department at the University of Sydney, the following could be read about a professor back in those days:
  17. 17. “Le Fèvre preferred the Swedish Facit calculator, a mechanical gadget which he still used to calculate student exam averages in the late 1960s. (Division was done by rotating the handle until the bell rang and then racking back a notch, as I recall.)”
  18. 18. Larry Perkins:“I bought a Model 2251 calculator exactly 30 years ago today. I still use it frequently, as I prefer a‘substantial’ calculator on my desk, as opposed to the small, light, hard-to-handle electronic units, which are fine for most other uses…
  19. 19. … And I admit that, having spent my career in the development of large-scale but largely silentcomputer systems, the FACIT emits certain comforting,old-fashioned mechanical sounds, as it goes flawlessly about the business of showing how devastating the recent economy has been to my retirement funds…
  20. 20. In the event, let me say that this little Swedishmachine has never failed me, its ubiquity allows meto still get supplies for it, and it has not yet outlived its utility. It is a triumphant demonstration of good engineering, great marketing, and an incredibly clever "no language" users manual design.”
  21. 21. Trevira on Flickrabout the wizards: ”These chaps are my constant companions - notjust for Christmas.Ive no idea what theyre about orwhere they come from, but Imguessing theyre 1960s. Any suggestions?“
  22. 22. “My dad diedshortly after he left the company, and my sister and Iplayed with theorange facit doll all the time!“ // Cathy
  23. 23. It’s great to see how those memories of Facit remain.
  24. 24. And some of those stories illustrate how fantastic Facit was at marketing.
  25. 25. Mechanical calculators, Facit wizards and memories spread out all around the world – that’s what remains from a company that Sweden was proud of 40 years ago.
  26. 26. Thanks to:Everyone who’ve shared their Facit storiesÅtvidabergs Bruks och Facit Museum, Swedenhttp://brukskultur.atvidaberg.se/index2.htmlÅssa Industri och Bil Museum, Swedenhttp://www.assamuseet.se/
  27. 27. Find out more:www.christiansandstrom.org