While I had seen the odd Curta Calculator on the web and in books they had never really been able to attract much interest from me. At first they sort of look like a fancy fishing reel or perhaps a really complex pepper grinder.
It wasn’t until I read William Gibson’s Pattern Recognition that I truly understood what a remarkable piece of engineering one of these calculators are.
While I don’t own one (yet!) I’ve spent some time looking into them and how they work on the web. The difference between them and things like Charles Babbage’s Difference engine is the size of the device and the number of things it can do. There is something really cool about math being done by a mechanical device.
The web is full of information on the Curta Calculator and so I’ve put a few links to sites about it below.