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Old Calculator Museum Advertising & Documentation Archive

Advertisement for Mathatronics Mathatron 8-48 calculator with APS Expansion Unit
Electronics March, 1966

This advertisement shows an original Mathatronics Mathatron 8-48 Version I calculator, (the Version I calculator used rotary switches to select operating mode and pre-programmed advanced mathematical functions, while the Version II Mathatron calculators had individual keyboard keys for these functions) with the "Add Under" Auxiliary Program Storage (APS) unit, housed in wheeled table that the calculator is sitting on. The APS expansion provides ten times the number of learn-mode program steps; eighteen read-only pre-programmed 48-step programs; and six to eleven times the number of numeric memory registers, along with enhanced peripheral connectivity features. The expanded memory of the APS was implemented using magnetostrictive delay line technology, because the quantity of memory involved was too expensive to implement with magnetic core memory.

This expansion unit made the Mathatron calculator into what one could practically call a small personal computer. With the addition of the expansion unit, the 8-48 calculator was capable of fairly advanced calculating capabilities, available only on much more expensive computer systems at the time. While the Mathatron wasn't nearly as fast as computers of the time, it was very simple to use and program, and allowed operators to perform complex mathematical operations with little training, which the advertisement flaunts by implying that writing programs on the expanded Mathatron is much less difficult than writing programs on larger computers in the FORTRAN programming language.

The expansion unit connects to the Mathatron calculator via a large connector on the bottom panel of the calculator. The calculator is bolted to the table, and the electronics providing the additional functions are housed in the spine of the table. Locking casters on the expansion unit make it much easier to move around the 80+ pound Mathatron calculator. Various controls and status indicators for the expansion unit are located on the small console on the right side of the calculator.