Wyle Laboratories WS-01/WS-02 Scientific Calculator
Image Courtesy Randy Liebermann
The Wyle Laboratories (El Segundo, CA) WS-01 calculator was the first
calculator made by Wyle Labs, introduced in April of 1964. Wyle Laboratories
was not in the business of calculating machines, but a few years earlier,
it had acquired a company that made digital logic modules, and one of the
projects that some of the employees of the acquired company
were working on was an electronic calculator. Wyle Labs management
decided to let the engineers go ahead and complete the calculator
project, which became the Wyle WS-01. The calculator used discrete
Germanium-transistor technology, but unlike many other electronic
calculators of the timeframe, used a
small rotating magnetic disk (similar in principle to today's hard disk
drives, but it stored the equivalent about 1700 bits of data) for
working register storage.
This design proved somewhat unreliable due to the temperamental
mechanical tolerances of the disk drive, and as a result, the WS-01
gained a bit of a poor reputation due to unreliable operation. The engineers
that developed the calculator had a redesign in mind to replace the
disk drive with a different memory technology. Wyle labs management
funded the effort, despite being a bit concerned about investing more
money in the calculator business. A follow-on calculator was
developed, the WS-02, introduced in late-1964.
The WS-02 was a relatively minor redesign of the WS-01, replacing the
disk with a magnetostrictive delay line.
The WS-01 and WS-02, as far is as known, looked and operated identically.
The WS-01/WS-02 were not programmable, but with the addition of an optional
punched card reader, operations and data could be punched into the cards,
allowing for calculations to be automated. Both the WS-01 and WS-02
had an eight-inch integrated CRT display. Six lines of 24 digits
(grouped in three digit chunks for readability) were shown on the display.
Three lines displayed the working registers (Entry, Accumulator,
and Multiplier/Quotient) and three memory registers. The content of the
registers were displayed continuously. Complex sine/cosine stroke digit
rendition was used to maximize readability on the small display.
Along with the usual four math functions, the machine provided single entry
squaring and square root, along with three accumulating memory registers.
The calculator folks at Wyle Labs eventually split off to
form their own calculator company with the blessings of Wyle Laboratories
management. The company they formed was Computer Design Corporation, also
known as Compucorp. For more information, see the article on the The History of Compucorp.
Punched Card Reader for Wyle Scientific Calculators
Program Punched Card (Front/Back) for Wyle Scientific Calculator (Click Image for Larger View)
Punched Cards donated by Gene McGough
Each pre-scored punched card holds 12 program instruction steps.
Each card has 40 columns, of which one column (column 19) is pre-punched
for sensing by the card reader. Click on image for a detailed view of the
card. Cards can be punched with a pencil-point, or with an IBM Port-A-Punch.
Wyle WS-02 "Scientific" Specifications
||USA, El Segundo, California
||$3950 (Calculator Only), $4350 w/Card Reader for Programming
||22 1/2" Wide, 19 3/4" Deep, 10 1/4" High
||160 Watts, 110V AC, 60Hz
||CRT Display, Stroke-Generated Digits, Six registers of 24-digits
||Transistorized logic with magnetostrictive delay-line register storage
|Digits of Capacity:
||Fixed at 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, and 21 digits behind decimal
||Unusual methodology using specialized registers for various functions
||Four Function plus square root
||3 General Purpose Accumulator-type Memory Registers
||Programmable via optional Punched Card reader
Copyright ©1997-2019, Rick Bensene.