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Wang 100-Series Desktop Calculator

Image Courtesy Frank Trantanella

The Wang 100-Series calculators, introduced in July, 1970, were developed as a lower-cost alternative to the earlier, larger and more expensive 700-series calculators. Operationally, the machines were a departure from the 700-series, harkening back to the original dual-accumulator design of the 300-series machines, though architecturally they were quite different than the 700-series machines, using a bit-serial rather than parallel design, saving on component count. Along with this change, size and cost reductions in the 100-series were made possible by Wang's first-time use of early integrated circuit RAM (Random Access Memory) rather than the magnetic core memory of earlier Wang calculators, and the use of a discrete diode-based microcode ROM. These changes reduced the cost and size of the machines, but it was too little, too late for Wang, as HP's 9100A/B machines were stealing a great deal of Wang's thunder in the marketplace. Sales of the 100-series calculators were disappointing, clearly indicating that Wang had some serious work to do if it were to retain it's leadership position in the rapidly expanding calculator market.

A whole range of machines made up the 100-series offerings, with a total of 12 different models, spread across three different areas of mathemetics disciplines; Business, Statistics, and Scientific. The business-oriented calculators provide basic math functions (add, subtract, multiply, divide), while the statistical calculators provide one-key square root, reciprocal, integer, and squaring functions. The scientific machines add absolute value, exponential and logarithm (base e) and instant Pi recall. Optional modules provide for extended statistics functions (constant multiplication and division, along with various summation functions), and trigonometry (Sin, Cos, ArcSin and ArcTan, Degrees<->Radians and power function) can be added to the machines to provide additional capabilities.

Half of the models come with a printer, and the other half provide a Nixie tube display for presenting information to the user. The various models come with either six or 14 memory registers, which offer full four function direct arithmetic capabilities. Machines with six memory registers can be field upgraded to 14 registers via replacement of RAM memory devices. Field upgrades also allowed addition of higher-level math functions to lower-capability machines.

Like the 200 and 300-series calculators, the machines are programmable via punched cards. The optional Model 184 Master Card Reader provides 60 steps of programming. For an additional 60 steps of program capability, the Model 185 Slave card reader can be added. For the Nixie-display machines which lack a built-in printer, the optional Model 180 external printer can be connected to provide hardcopy output for calculations performed.

See the museum's exhibit on the Wang 144 for more information on these machines.

Model Type Registers Output
102 Business 6 Nixie
112 Business 6 Printer
104 Business 14 Nixie
114 Business 14 Printer
122 Statistics 6 Nixie
132 Statistics 6 Printer
124 Statistics 14 Nixie
134 Statistics 14 Printer
142 Scientific 6 Nixie
152 Scientific 6 Printer
144 Scientific 14 Nixie
154 Scientific 14 Printer