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News Archive - Wang Laboratories 100-Series Calculators Introduction

Wang Laboratories 100-Series Electronic Calculators Introduction
Modern Data, July, 1970

This article introduces the Wang Laboratories 100-Series electronic calculators, which were announced in June of 1970, and first shown at the WESCON trade show in Los Angeles, CA, in August of '70.

The 100-Series, which included the Model 144 (exhibited here), was an attempt by Wang Labs to provide a lower-cost series of moderately sophisticated calculators to customers who did not require the high-end 700-Series, and needed more functionality than the aging 300-Series calculators. The cost-saving measures included use of a large and slow discrete diode Read-Only Memory (ROM) to hold the microcode that sequenced the operations of the machine (versus the high-speed ferrite rod ROM of the 700-series), as well as a single-bit arithmetic logic unit (as opposed to the four-bit parallel ALU of the 700-series). These design compromises led to the 100-series calculators actually being slower for some calculations than the much earlier transistorized 300-series calculators.

The 100-series calculators provided varying options, including models with Nixie Tube display or an Epson EP-100-series drum impact printer, varying amounts of memory, as well as versions for business, statistical, and scientific calculations. It is interesting to note that this article does not mention the Nixie Tube display models of the 100-series.