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IME 84 Desktop Calculator


Sincere thanks to Klemens Krause, Computermuseum der Fakultšt Informatik, for use of the above image

The IME 84 is the first electronic calculator introduced by the Italian company IME (Industria Macchine Electroniche). The machine is among the earliest transistorized desktop calculators produced, introduced in the US at the BEMA show in Los Angeles in October, 1964, and likely for sale in Europe before then. Like other early transistorized electronic calculators, the IME 84 uses Germanium-based transistors, as Silicon transistors were still too expensive. The IME 84 uses a magnetic core memory for register storage, utilizes multiplex Nixie tubes for display, and has a three register math architecture. The design of the IME 84 is quite elegant, both electronically and mechanically, with quite a number moderately small circuit boards generally containing a specific function, plugged into a common backplane that provides the interconnectivity for the boards. The chassis for the circuit boards is well thought out, with ample spacing between the boards for cooling and access for troubleshooting, but oranized to keep the machine relatively small. The IME 84 was physically the smallest electronic calculator on the market for quite some time, with a low, wide profile that gave ample room for nice keyboard size and key spacing, as well as a large display panelthat spanned nearly the width of the calculator making for easy reading. This wide display allowed for the use of Nixie tubes with larger digits, furthering the readability of the display.