Wyle Laboratories WS-01 Scientific Calculator
The Wyle Laboratories (El Segundo, CA) WS-01 calculator was the first
calculator made by Wyle Labs, introduced in April of 1964. Wyle Laboratories
was not in the business of calculating machines, but a few years earlier,
it had acquired a company that made digital logic modules, and one of the
projects that some of the employees of the acquired company
were working on was an electronic calculator. Wyle Labs management
decided to let the engineers go ahead and complete the calculator
project, which became the Wyle WS-01. The calculator used discrete
Germanium-transistor technology, but unlike many other electronic
calculators of the timeframe, used a
small rotating magnetic disk (similar in principle to today's hard disk
drives, but it stored the equivalent about 1700 bits of data) for
working register storage.
This design proved somewhat unreliable due to the temperamental
mechanical tolerances of the disk drive, and as a result, the WS-01
gained a bit of a poor reputation due to unreliable operation. The engineers
that developed the calculator had a re-design in mind to replace the
disk drive with a different memory technology. Wyle labs management
funded the effort, despite being a bit concerned about investing more
money in the calculator business. A follow-on calculator was
developed called the WS-02, introduced in late-1964.
The was a relatively minor redesign of the WS-01, replacing the
disk with a magnetostrictive delay line manufactured by
Digital Devices of Syosset, New York.
The WS-01 and WS-02 as far is as known, looked and operated identically.
The machines were not directly programmable, but with the addition of
an optional optical punched card reader, operations and constants could be
punched into special cards, allowing for calculations to be automated.
Both the calculators used an eight-inch integrated CRT display, using
an orange-yellow medium- persistance phosphor. Six lines of 24 digits
were displayed, representing the content of the six registers of the
calculator. The top three lines displayed the working registers (Entry[ENT],
Accumulator[ACC], and Multiplier/Quotient[MQ]), followed with the next
three lines showing the content of the calculator's three memory registers.
The content of the registers were displayed continuously.
Complex gated sine/cosine waveform digit
rendition was used to maximize readability on the small display. The
resulting display had a "handwritten" look to it that was both pleasing
to the eye, and very legible.
Along with the usual four math functions, the calculators provided
single entry squaring and automatic square root.
The calculator folks at Wyle Labs eventually split off to
form their own calculator company with the blessings (as well as
some seed capital) of Wyle Laboratories
management. The company they formed was Computer Design Corporation,
also later known as Compucorp. For more information, see the article on the The History of Compucorp
Note that the museum is currently only looking for the Wyle Labs WS-01
calculator, not the WS-02. The Model/Serial Number tag may have differing ways of representing the model number. It could be "WS-1", "WS-01", or "WS-I".
Any Wyle Labs calculator with a model number matching any of these is of
interest to the museum.
Punched Card Reader for Wyle Scientific Calculators
Program Punched Card (Front/Back) for Wyle Scientific Calculator (Click Image for Larger View)
Punched Cards donated by Gene McGough
Each pre-scored punched card holds 12 program instruction steps.
Each card has 40 columns, of which one column (column 19) is pre-punched
for sensing by the card reader. Click on image for a detailed view of the
card. Cards can be punched with the tip of a ball-point pen or with an IBM Port-A-Punch.
Wyle "Scientific" Specifications
||USA, El Segundo, California
||$3950 (Calculator Only), $4350 w/Card Reader for Programming
||22 1/2" Wide, 19 3/4" Deep, 10 1/4" High
||160 Watts, 110V AC, 60Hz
||CRT Display, Gated Sine/Cosine Waverform Generated Digits, Six registers of 24-digits
||Transistorized (Germanium) logic with rotating magenetic disk for register storage
|Digits of Capacity:
||Fixed at 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, and 21 digits behind decimal
||Unusual methodology using specialized registers for various functions
||Four Function plus square root
||Three General Purpose Storage Registers
|Performance (Mfg. Stated):
||Multiply, Divide & Square Root times vary with operands and decimal point setting
||Less than 1 second
||Less than 1 second
||Programmable via optional PC-01 Punched Card reader
Copyright ©1997-2021, Rick Bensene.