I Remember JFK Logo

The Magic Brain Calculator

Magic Brain Calculator, complete with the elusive stylusPerhaps the name of the gadget featured in today's I Remember JFK memory will ring a bell, perhaps not. But I'll bet that one glance at the graphic will make you go "Oh, yeah!"

I wish I had my usual researched piece to offer you as far as where the Magic Brain Calculator came from, and its manufacturer, Chadwick. But there just wasn't a whole lot I could find out. But what little I did glean, I hereby share with you.

A Boomer kid's options for help in making mathematical calculations on the go in the 50's and 60's were pretty few. There were slide rules, which were only for the geeky. My oldest brother, who was in college, had one, but I had no idea how it operated.

Then there was the Addiator, manufactured by Addiator Gesellschaft in Berlin, beginning in 1920. They were sophisticated little hand-held mechanical calculators, but not terribly cheap, and once that nasty Nazi uprising took place, not freely available. But by the time WWII was over, they were back on the market, but still not real cheap.

Comic book ad for a Magic Brain Calculator cloneBut in the 1950's, the Japanese factories began cranking out a low-priced version of the mechanical adding machine. Chadwick was the name of the enigmatic company that manufactured them, and they appear to have slid out of sight without leaving a trace behind.

But they did leave a legacy of thousands of Magic Brain Calculators. Durably made from high-impact plastic and aluminum, probably every one of them still exist in their original form, although many are now buried in landfills, awaiting future archaeological discovery.

The little calculators sold for a couple of bucks in dime stores, and were found in many a Boomer home in the 50's and 60's. For that matter, many are still buried in various present-day junk drawers, as they were virtually indestructible, and flat enough to live quietly buried by pens, pencils, and paper clips.

I know that we had one in our house. Seven-year-old I was baffled by its actual usage. Did I mention that math is NOT my strong suit? But that didn't stop me from enjoying playing with the gizmo for hours nonetheless, inserting numerical values, running mysterious calculations, and pulling the wire handle up to clear everything.

Magic Brain Calculator missing its stylusIf you too were stumped by how to make the Magic Brain Calculator do addition, subtraction, and even multiplication and division, this site has the original scanned instructions. Very cool!

The sheer indestructibleness of the Magic Brain Calculator, combined with its inobtrusive nature, ensures that many thousands still exist. At presstime, there were several on eBay with $9.95 opening bids, and one particularly nice model, with stylus intact, was going for $4.99 with just over a day left.

So if you Boomers still employed in an office want to impress the young punks you work with, pick up a Magic Brain Calculator from eBay, or possibly just dig your own out of the junk drawer. Read the linked instructions and practice making actual calculations, Then, at the next staff meeting, whip out a few figure faster than the youth can get their calculator-equipped cell phones to wake up!

Recommend I Remember JFK to your friends!

Search I Remember JFK
Loading


Note to those who would use my images
You may use any images you find on my site on your own personal site. However, I request that you include a link back to I Remember JFK. Fair enough?

My Policy on Advertisements
You will never see a Flash ad, a popup ad, or a banner ad at I Remember JFK. What you will see are unobtrusive, friendly text ads. If you get popups here, the problem is that you have adware or spyware on Microsoft Windows. I recomment you download and install Ubuntu Linux and enjoy safe, adware-free surfing. Barring that, install Spybot and Ad-Aware to kill the bugs.

With that, if you have ad-disabling software such as AdBlock Plus, I respectfully request that you make an allowance for my website in its settings. You have my personal guarantee that there is no intrusive advertising here

Main Page | Books, Magazines, Comics | Boomer Reviews | Cars | Clothing, Shoes, Etc. | Food and Drink | Gadgets | Movies | Music | People | Places | Podcasts | School | Sports | The Home | The News | Things that Disappeared When You Weren't Looking | Toys | TV