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Old Calculator Web Museum Documentation Archive

Wyle Laboratories WS-01/WS-02 Scientific Instruction Manual

This document is the general instruction manual for the Wyle Laboratories WS-01 and WS-02 Scientific electronic calculators. Wyle Labs introduced the WS-01 electronic calculator in late April of 1964 at the Spring Joint Computer Conference in Washington DC. This makes the WS-01 one of the early group of electronic desktop calculators introduced within the first half of 1964, joining ranks with the Italian-made IME-84, Hayakawa Electric's Compet 10, Mathatronics' Mathatron, and Friden's EC-130.

The Wyle Labs WS-01 and WS-02 calculators were identical in function, with the difference between them being that the WS-01 used a rotating magnetic disk as the medium for storing the working registers of the calculator, and this device proved to be finicky and unreliable. As a result, a relatively minor redesign of the register storage aspects of the machine was done to replace the disc memory with a magnetostrictive acoustic delay line, which was much more robust and reliable than the disk device. This became the WS-02 model. When the WS-02 model was introduced in the latter part of 1964, production of the WS-01 was discontinued, with the WS-02 superceding the WS-01. In some cases where model WS-01 calculators had been sold to customers, the WS-01 was exchanged for a WS-02 calcualtor.

The WS-01/WS-02 calculators were quite capable for the time, and offered four functions plus automatic square root, 24 digits of capacity (making it the highest-capacity electronic calculator available at that time), three independent memory registers, and a CRT display that utilized very unique sine-cosine waveform-generated digits which appeared almost hand-drawn, making for a very readable and visually pleasing display. The machine was also programmable with the addition of an optional punched card reader that was capable of reading program instructions and data both in forward and reverse directions, allowing punched cards to be taped together to provide branching and looping capabilities.

The Scientific utilized transistorized logic, mostly of the Resistor-Transistor Logic design (RTL), using Germanium-transistors, primarily the venerable 2N404. The CRT display provided display of the three working registers of the calculator, along with the three memory registers all times. The machine used a rather complex arithmetic system, making it a bit more difficult to learn to operate versus some of the other calculators on the market.

The WS-01/WS-02 calculators were the only electronic calculators that Wyle Laboratories marketed. After a relatively short time in the marketplace, Wyle Labs executives decided that the calculator business was not in line with the company's core competencies, and was not returning enough on the investment to develop it furhter, and exited the marketplace. A group of folks that were involved with the calculator development group proposed spinning the calculator operation off into a newly formed, independent company. The proposal was agreed upon by Wyle Labs management, and a new company was formed, with some seed money from Wyle Laboratories, that provided electronic calculator design development and consulting. The new company was called Computer Design Corporation, and would go on to develop some pretty amazing calculators, both for other companies, as well as eventually marketing their own machines. For more information the Wyle Labs WS-01/WS-02 calculators, as well s Computer Design Corporation, please check out the Old Calculator Museum's essay, The History of Compucorp.

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Wyle Laboratories WS-01/WS-02 Scientific Instruction Manaul
November, 1964

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