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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

Manufacturer: Wyle Laboratories
Model Number: WS-02 Scientific
Introduction: Late 1964
Manufactured In: USA, El Segundo, California
Original Price: $3950 (Calculator Only), $4350 w/Card Reader for Programming
Weight: 50 Pounds
Size: 22 1/2" Wide, 19 3/4" Deep, 10 1/4" High
Power Requirement: 160 Watts, 110V AC, 60Hz
Display Technology: CRT Display, Stroke-Generated Digits, Six registers of 24-digits
Logic Technology: Transistorized logic with magnetostrictive delay-line register storage
Digits of Capacity: 24
Decimal Modes: Fixed at 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, and 21 digits behind decimal
Arithmetic Logic: Unusual methodology using specialized registers for various functions
Math Functions: Four Function plus square root
Memories: 3 General Purpose Accumulator-type Memory Registers
Features: Programmable via optional Punched Card reader

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