When I was at primary school I bought myself my first calculator with my own pocket money. It was fairly simple, with red numbers on its display and great buttons that made a clicking sound when you pressed them. It was made by Texet, and it was grey with black buttons and a metal panel surround in silver and blue. Â I was quite shocked to find the picture of it accompanying this post on the Internet I must admit, so thanks to the Freeman PC Museum website page on classic calculators!
I used to spend many happy hours just tinkering with it, adding and subtracting numbers, until the “equals” button got prised off with a pair of compasses by a “mate”, which made it useless for doing sums. I could however still use it for that finest of calculator uses – entering numbers which when the display is viewed upside down spell out a word.
I first came across this idea in a book of practical jokes, which contained an piece entitled “How to make a calculator laugh”. Intrigued I read through and it instructed me to enter the number 376616 and turn the calculator upside down. I did this and was most amused to read the word GIGGLE on the calculator screen. I then set out on a quest to find as many of these words as I could. Here are a few of those that I remember, with a cryptic clue as to what the word was!
- 14 – Greetings!
- 0.7734 – More greetings!
- 0.02 – Lots of animals here.
- 5317 – Make your calculator tell fibs.
- 710.77345 – Product of a petrol company?
- 5318008 – Every schoolboys favourite.
If you’re having trouble working these out, or want to create a few of your own, then below is a fun little toy for you to play with (assuming you have Java installed that is!). It’s a calculator that’s already upside down, saving you all that effort of turning a real calculator through 180 degrees. Just click the buttons on the keypad and enjoy!