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Old Calculator Museum Advertising & Documentation Archive
Digital Devices division of Tyco Laboratories Advertisement
Computer Design Magazine
December, 1968

Digital Devices division of Tyco Laboratories Advertisement
Computer Design Magazine, December, 1968

Digital Devices, Inc., was an independent company out of Syosset, New York, doing business primarily manufacturing magnetostrictive delay lines for data storage applications for a wide variety of digital electronic equipment. The company had a line of standard delay lines as well as complete delay line memory systems, and would also custom-design and manufacture delay lines specifically to customer requirements.

Digital Devices made delay lines for a number of calculator manufacturers, including Smith Corona Marchant, in its Smith Corona/Marchant Cogito 240, and Cogito 240SR models; Wyle Laboratories, with their Wyle Scientific electronic calculator; and West-German Diehl, with the Diehl Combitron and Diehl Combitron S calculators. It appears some follow-on calculators to Diehl's Combitron line may have also utilized Digital Devices delay lines until solid state memory devices became more cost-effective and delay lines became outdated technology for use in calculators by the latter part of the 1960s.

Note the striking similarity between the above photo of one of the delay line transducers in the Digital Devices delay line used in the Wyle Laboratories WS-02 Scientific electronic calculator and the photo included in the advertisement.

Unfortunately, there is not a lot of information available on the history of Digital Devices, Inc. It appears that the company had made solid inroads in the early part of the 1960's in the serial digital delay line marketplace, and was moderately successful. In the spring of 1968, Digital Devices was acquired by electronic/electrical conglomerate Tyco Laboratories of Waltham, Massachusetts. This December, 1968 advertisement makes the Tyco name very apparent, calling its acquisition the "Digital Devices Division".

Tyco Laboratories went on a huge spree of acquisitions in the mid- to latter part of the 1960's, absorbing a great many small and medium-sized businesses in the electronics industry. It appears that the Digital Devices Division survived for perhaps a few years following its acquisition by Tyco. To date, no further advertising for Tyco has been found that mentions anything about the Digital Devices Division or any mention of delay line technology at all. It is suspected that the Digital Devices Division was dissolved or divested during a period of turmoil in Tyco during the early 1970s, partly due to management chaos within the company that the mass of acquisitions created, and also due to delay line technology beginning to be sidelined by the introduction of integrated circuit devices that could act as delay lines (shift registers).

Integrated circuit data storage operated at higher speeds, consumed much less power, and could store the same amount of data in a drastically smaller space. By the mid-1970's integrated circuit-based storage had completely eclipsed delay line technology used in electronic calculators. Another benefit of IC memory technology was that integrated circuit random access memory (a.k.a. RAM, where data is available immediately merely by providing its address, as opposed to the serial access nature of delay lines (where the electronics must wait for the required data to come out of the delay line before it can be used), and then another wait to put the processed data back into the correct place in the serial bit stream flowing through the delay line. Random access memory capacity was growing by leaps and bounds, allowing even faster operation, and comparatively huge amounts of instantly-accessible data storage capability. The adoption of integrated circuit memory technology into electronic calculators marked a sea-change in the world of electronic calculators.