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Wang Electronic Calculators - Wang 370 Programmer

Wang 370 Programmer Advertisement
Computers & Automation, February 1968.

This is a very early advertisement for the Wang 370 Programmer. The 370 Programmer was a system that connected to any (though it's usefulness was maximized on the Wang 362E or Wang 360SE electronics packages) 300-series electronics package that provided true programmability (via punched cards). The earlier Wang CP-1 and CP-2 punched card programmers were very simple devices that provided no form of automatic looping or logical decision-making processes. The 370 (and it's companion punched card reader, the 371) provided these critical programming functions that transformed the calculator system into something like a small computer system. The 370 also provided I/O interfacing capabilities that would allow external devices such as printers, plotter, and additional memory to be added to the system.

The Wang 370 Programmer was Wang's attempt to milk as much lifetime out of the 300-series calculators as they could. Dr. Wang had been invited to a secret showing of a calculator under development by Hewlett Packard that became the HP 9100A. When Dr. Wang saw this prototype machine, he immediately knew that his calculator business was at serious risk. Work began immediately to create a better and more powerful calculating system based on the existing 300-series calculators, and the Wang 370 was the result. However, it was too-little, too late, as when the HP 9100A was announced, sales of Wang's calculators into scientific and engineering environments dropped like a rock. The 300-series calculators, even with the addition of the 370 Programmer and its peripheraps, was no match for HP's machine.