Joined: 02 Jun 2020
Location: Lewes, UK and Tourtour, France
|Posted: Tue Jun 02, 2020 4:07 pm Post subject: Brain Fade during the 45 years since I last used a Curta
|I last used a Curta in around 1973, when I was working as a Lloyds Insurance Broker in the City of London. I used a Facit mechanical calculator in the office and a Curta 1 when out working in the London Insurance Market. They seemed just fine for adding and multiplying but rather laborious for division. My brother on a trip to the USA in 1973, brought me a back a Rapidman digital calculator, which was the first pocket digital calculator that folks had seen and it was a bit of a seven day wonder. Sadly it was fixed two decimals and was replaced a few months later by one of Mr. Clive Sinclair's purple digit wonders. The Rapidman also gobbled PP3 9V batteries, at about one every 2 days.
I love finely made mechanical devices and I am a third generation Leica camera user. I have been using them for over 60 years and collecting them for 40. I now have over 30 Leicas and over 50 lenses from 1931 onwards. I also like Porsche cars for their excellent mechanical construction and currently have a modern hybrid saloon/sedan and a 1977 911 RSR rally car.
While I was idly looking through eBay last week to see if their were any wrongly priced Leica bits, I spotted a Curta II for sale in the UK, apparently in good condition, with original metal case, at a very fair price (i.e. not a silly price). I put in a bid just above the minimum and was very pleased to win the auction. It arrived this morning and as described, was in very nice condition.
All seemed well on addition, subtraction and multiplication but then for division brain fade set it. I had it in my mind that the reverser lever reversed the direction of the effect of the rotation lever on the totaliser, which of course was not happening. Damn I thought, it will have to go off to Italy for repair. Last resort was to download a PDF of the instructions, print them and read carefully. Division is not perhaps set out quite as clearly as one might hope but in the end the light dawned that the reverser switch, changed the direction of the rotation counter, which shows the quotient, not the totaliser. Division started to work properly. Classic example of read the manual before deciding something is broken.