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Facit 1111 'Handheld' Electronic Calculator

Updated 2/23/2011

This calculator is product of the early-'70's (sometime between late 1970 through early '71). There is a date code on a part inside the machine reading 7108, which would date the component as early '71, with this particular calculator likely made sometime in early to mid-'71. The Facit 1111, other than subtle packaging differences, is an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) version of the Sharp EL-8, introduced in January, '71. The EL-8 was the first truly portable battery-powered electronic calculator. Facit, along with another Swedish calculator company, Addo-X, had OEM relationships with Sharp (also known at the time as Hayakawa Electric), which provided them with rights to purchase the internal electronics from Sharp, and package it in their own cabinetry and keycaps, and market the calculator under thiew own brand-name. The Addo-X machine was designated the model 9364.

Profile View of Facit 1111

This exhibited calculator was given to me as a birthday gift by my parents (who had to scrimp and scrape to be able to purchase this machine from a local business-machine store, as it cost over $300!) on my 13th birthday. I was the only kid in school to have a calculator at that time. The batteries lasted long enough to make it through an entire math class without a recharge! Some kids offered to pay me their lunch money to borrow it to help with their math homework. Some of the teachers at school were quite threatened by me bringing the calculator to school. In those days calculators were thought to be tools only to be used by adults who already knew their basic math skills, and use of a calculator by children would cause them to not learn how to do math themselves. At one point I was told to leave the calculator at home. Fortunately, the attitudes about such things have have changed, such that calculators are an now an important part of the math curriculum in many schools, and a very valuable learning tool.

Unique segmented display element on Facit 1111

The Facit 1111 is a basic 4 function, 8 digit floating point calculator. It uses individual tube-type vacuum fluorescent displays, with a unique eight-segment pattern, causing the digits to look more hand written. The most unique digit is the 0, which is half-height, and takes some getting used to.

The 'brains' of the Facit 1111

THe insides of the Facit 1111 are identical to that of the Sharp EL-8. The brain of the calculator utilizes four LSI (large Scale Integration) IC's made by Rockwell for Sharp, mounted on a small plug-in PC board, which for the time, looked like it was a stretch for PC-board technology. The chips used are the same as the chips used in Sharp's breakthrough QT-8D, the first mass-market calculator to utilize MOS/LSI integrated circuit technology. The display and display driving circuitry, power supply, and timing circuitry reside on another board that plugs into the edge-connector-based backplane. The keyboard unit also connects into the backplane. The machine uses a rechargable NiCd (Nickel Cadmium) 7.2V battery pack which was easily replaceable. It has a rather large external power supply/charger module which plugs into the machine for operation from AC power, or for charging the NiCd batteries.

View with back cover removed

The machine minimizes real-estate on the keyboard by having a dual-function multiply/divide key. To multiply, you enter the multiplicand, press the [X÷] key, then enter the multiplier, then press the [+=] key for the answer. To divide, you enter the dividend, press the [X÷] key, enter the divisor, and press the [-=] key to calculate the answer.

Text and images Copyright ©1997-2019, Rick Bensene.