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,
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
The History of Compucorp.
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