Craig Electronics

From: John Lawson <>
Date: Sat Jan 4 13:18:00 2003

On Sat, 4 Jan 2003, evan wrote:

> Does anyone on this list know whatever became of Craig
> Electronics, the Compton, Calif.-based calculator
> giant of the 1960s and 1970s? Specifically I'm


  Usually I loathe folks who go to the trouble of replying to a post only
to say "No, sorry I can't help you, wish I could, yada yada yada..."

  BUT, I have a bit of this puzzle, if not actually the requested info.

  First, Craig was most emphatically *not* a 'calculator giant'. I think
they sold three or four successive models. I had the first one, a 2401,
in 1969 as a teenager.

   Craig was a huge importer and re-badger of consumer electronics,
heavily into tape recorders and car stereos. I had a part-time job at a
car stereo place, installing and repairing the damn things, in between
college classes. Since the store I worked for was a busy Craig outlet, we
were talked into stocking a few of the 2401 four-function, constant mem
key, LED units. I remember the keypad had a slight 'click' to it.
Batteries lasted about 20 to 40 minutes. (2 'AA' cells). I was nearly 17,
already in engineering school, and we all had slide rules. The Natural
Geeks among us wore ours on our belts, like Samurai Mathematicians. I had
heard of these calculators, but that was the first one I'd actually seen
in the plastic. It was $245.0 plus tax. I had to have it. I put one on
layaway, sold a bunch of stuff, plundered my savings, and got a two-week
advance on my paycheck. It was MINE. (Consider what $245 is in '03
dollars. To me, it was almost like buying a car...)

  After getting a bit fluent with it, I took it to school. I whipped it
out in my 'Transients in Linear Systems' class and drew an immediate
crowd. The professor finally worked his way through the bodies to my
desk, scooped up my little Craig calculator, and took it up front. "I'd
like to borrow this for a few days..." he asked. Of course I was not
about to part with the Newest Coolest Toy I owned. "Lawson..." he intoned.
"Do you have any presumptions whatsoever when it comes to passing my

   Bastard had it for the better part of a week, and when I got it back,
the batteries were stone cold dead.



PS: ISTR the 'Bowmar Brain' 4-function job was also available during that
time... it was 'cheesier', had plastic round keys and a vacuum flourescent
display??? Calculator collectors will correct me on this.
Received on Sat Jan 04 2003 - 13:18:00 GMT

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