** 1996 **
SN 02185 — THE 3rd OLDEST KNOWN!
5 – Type II
He knew I collected electronic calculators and one day he commented to me that he had
a cool looking mechanical calculator I should see. He said it looked like a pepper grinder,
Ding Ding Ding… my mind knew I had hit the jack pot. A customer had walked in from
off the street and handed it to him years earlier. He slapped a price of $100 on it and it
proceeded to sit in the store for all those years. I said “It’s a CURTA and I must have it”,
we looked and it was lost. Bummer, had somebody already bought it? We couldn’t find it
any where. I left the store Curtaless.
A few weeks went by and then one day I got a call. It was my friend, he said to stop by
and check something he had out. I did and to my surprise he produced a beautiful type I
in a metal can. We worked a deal and it was mine. Thanks John! – Jan-28-97
526699 – leather case, metal can, plastic crank, metal clear – From Dave Wheeler – It is in excellent condition in a metal case and a leather
carrying case with instruction sheet and sample calculations booklet. – Dec-04-99
15045 – metal case, metal crank – From Dick Greenwood – My second type I came from an owner looking for a good home for his old Curta.
It’s a fairly low serial numbered unit (SN 15045) that has the rounded top on
the operation handle. It also requires a lot more force to initiate the turn
of the operation handle. Curt must have lowered the force necessary to start
the turn on later models. Has anyone else noticed this? – May-13-00
02185 – metal case, pin setting knobs – THE 3rd OLDEST KNOWN! – From Carl Volkmar – He purchased it from from Dr Yussim in Uruguay. Jack Christensen serviced Dec-12-02 – Jul-19-03
5790 – metal case, pin setting knobs, metal crank – From Carl Volkmar – Jul-19-03
9897 – metal case, metal crank – From Carl Volkmar – Jul-19-03
62335 – plastic case, plastic crank – From Carl Volkmar – Jul-19-03
557788 – plastic case, crank, clearing ring, paper box – From Carl Volkmar – Jul-19-03
541431 – plastic case, plastic crank, metal clearing ring – From David Franks Mar-01-05
74738 – plastic case, crank, clearing ring, paper box – From Lisa Shearer – Mar-10-06
13836 – metal case – From Gabe Hieronymi – Jun-11-06
538180 – no case, plastic crank, metal clearing ring – From Don Carter – Feb-22-10
508272 – metal case, all black type II – From Yvonne Tyler – Feb-08-11
29548 – plastic case (should be metal), metal crank, instructions, english and german example guides – From Tom & Barbara Vandeventer – Feb-14-20
SN 2185 — THE 3rd OLDEST KNOWN!
1 – Type II
1 – DEMO MODEL I
Germany that I used for many years. I have been trying to recall what
happened to it and I can’t remember seeing it after the early 70’s.
(557788) Oh well I just bought this one on e-bay it is pristine with the box and
documentation. It is as much fun as I remember.
(2185) from Dr Yussim in Uruguay – “I am not a specialist in calculator machines.
This is the first Curta I see in my life. Do not know how to manipulate with it.
Dirty yes. Rusty not. Maybe some very minor minor minuscle rust localized
areas hardly noticeables. Not sure if this minuscle areas are rust or dirty.
The owner of the Curta was a busineman in Montevideo who used to import merchandise from Europe. He died and her wife
sold many items to get some extra money. A antique dealer bought the machine from her and I bought it from them.
Dr Yussim in Uruguay – July 18, 2001
29208 DEMO – From Monica Bongue – July 14, 2001″
62335 – From eBay – Jul 18, 2001
3 – Type II
from Skip on the Curta News Letter page.
** 1997 **
1 – Type II
Both in mint condition. Purchased the I from Gemmary, and the II from Daniel Lewin.
I would be interested in obtaining any sales brochures on the Curta. I
would also like to know how much they cost originally. My Curtas have
serial numbers 56020 and 561448.
Skip Godfrey sent me the service manuals on both of them. But if you
have a service source, it would be good to know it.
Your operating manual was wonderful. Keep up the good work!
P.S. By the way, old lens cases, of the better type, such as Nikon, make
a better bed for these beautiful kids. In fact, they are built like
Leica cameras, so I guess it would be “fitting” to put them in a
plush-lined leather camera lens case, which has a strap attachment, for
those brave souls who want to carry them outdoors.
1 – Type II
or read enough about them.
Hawthorn Woods, Illinois
1 – Type I
Jack continues to repair about four Curtas each month on average. I can highly recommend him. -Rick-
+41 79 351 7037 (cell)
+41 22 757 0318 (fax)
2 – Type II
In Europe, they are much more expensive.
in the plastic carrying case, rather than the (better) metal case.
I used to use it to teach kids how multiplication and division actually work!
Bought it for something over 100 bucks, from the original
Abercrombie & Fitch NYC store, which, being a sports & hunting
oriented place, must have sold them for their use as rally calculators,
as mentioned in “The Last Whole Earth Catalog.”
with the serial number stamped on the cover.
Also have price sheet from ‘RACE AND RALLY EQUIPMENT’ Medford N.J.
Shows Curta list price $125 on sale for $104.95, Curta II list price $165 on sale for
$139.95. Unfortunately, I don’t know what year the price sheet was printed. But I
speculate it was in the mid 60’s.
I received the unit from my (ex)brother-in-law who purchased it new.
out 3/19/59. I am not the original purchaser.
I bought my little jewel, in excellent condition, for $8.00 at a garage sale
about 5 years ago. It has the metal case and warranty card but no
instructions. I remember the Curta ads from the 60’s in the sports car
magazines like Road and Track and Car and Driver. Though
I am not interested in selling the world’s finest, most useful and esoteric
Cost $155. Used for car ralleys, math classes.
1 – Type II
manufactured in 1952/3). Cost US$ 700.
type II: Immaculate condition (possibly never used) & all black like the model I (is
that unusual?). Saw it in an UK antique shop (no providence, no manual) &
just had to have it. Cost UK 300# (US$ 500).
1 – Type II
1 – Type I cutaway!
1 – Type II
was in the Navy for the equivalent of $80 US.
I all but certain that I no longer have my Curta, and it might have been stolen;
possible dates are 1990 and 1995.
1 – Type II
1 – Type II
2nd one is a two-tone type 2 from my late uncles estate. New ,unused condition.
new, without sign of use.
and functional condition, with only a tad of discoloration on the grey
hammertone from handling. I got it from a chap in Florida who used it
for road ralying for a number of years.
D-37083 Goettingen, Germany
North Stonington, Connecticut
1060 East Meadow Circle
Palo Alto, California 94303 USA
during engineering school years and always wanted to own one.
2 – Type II
Sold to Jacky Young in 2020
1 – Type II
like a regular screw direction, as opposed to the later models. He picked
it up in Israel for $60!
still use it for same.
Wierda Park 0149
Republic of South Africa
In mint condition, with bakelite box. Aquired manual few years later,
paying much, much more for that!!
its original box, along with a 42-page instruction manual in Spanish
(“Instrucciones para el uso de la CURTA”), a guarantee card (in English)
and a bill of sale indicating that it was purchased on May 15, 1958,
in Quito, Ecuador.
Sport Car Ralleys.
1 – Type II
it in 1954 while working as a tool maker in Chicago. Have original ‘Chattel
Mortgage’ plus instruction manual.
2 – Type II
** 1998 **
SN 7450 Schnittmodell (Cutaway)
3 – Type II
a batch from a state auction. I paid $75. It was in good condition and functioned perfectly. In Early 2000, I noticed
it rattled some and it did not function properly. My brother, Rod Sorenson was able to take it apart, clean it and re-install
the screw that had fallen out. Would love to have a Type I for my collection.
Case appears to be plastic.
about fifteen years now, shut away in a box. My father gave it to me – he
says he worked with someone who was a genius with it. I didn’t really know
what it could do until I read the manual on your site. Marvellous! It now
has pride of place and I’m keen to find out more about this superb machine.
For ease of viewing, I have loaded the RALLYE magazine scans into the
following web page:
Pages were scanned full size at 75 dpi. If you want a clearer scan, I can
re-do them at 150 dpi. Also heard from Jim Bianchi, who wrote the original
Found out later that the STIMSON’S RALLY FACTORS book has a section on
“Rallying with the Curta Calculator”. A footnote indicates it “has been
adapted from A NEW GUIDE TO RALLYING by Larry Reid”.
when I sold my original one which I had purchased in 1961 for $150 new.
Satch Carlson, John Buffum, and several others bought the new me the one.
Note from Satch: Tom Grimshaw died several years ago, and I don’t know what became of the Curta we bought for him.
should be included. Otherwise everything seems to be there. Pristine condition,
includes 51 page manual, and fold-up guide (“the 4 arithmetical rules”) and a warranty
card. The Curta serial number is also stamped on the lid of the box.
case, with original manual in English. Absolutely mint condition.
Would be interested in selling for the right price.
I used to own a Type II, but sold it last year. I’d used it to write
an arkle for _Rallye_ magazine in the mid ’70s on rallye navigation using
one (If anyone has a copy of that issue, I’d much apprec getting it). —
So would I. – Rick
Phoenix, Arizona 85007 USA
New condition with box, brochure and instruction manual.
It has probably never been used. I also have the manual shown in this site in swedish.
My father is no longer with us, so its history is a little murky – but I
know that it actually belonged to his employer, and they gave it to him
when he ‘retired’ since no-one else knew how to use it.
I’ve never seen an instruction manual, but I do have the original Bakelite
case – that left-hand thread on the lid gets me every time.
now missing some tabs. Broken clearing ring. Work’s great, but who would
original box with ‘Your CURTA Calculator’ leaflet and ‘Computing Examples’ booklet. In
addition, I have a book of calculating techniques from a company called ‘Automatic
Business Machines Ltd, London’
1 – Type I
I bought it at a flea market for $10 with no manual… It took me a few hours to figure
out addition and subtraction and about a month of diligent research at the University of
California, Santa Cruz Science Library to understand enough of mechanical calculator
theory to figure out how to use the more arcane functions. I love to let people try to
figure out what it is–let alone how to use it!
1 – Type II
cases which, despite apparent sentiment on the Curta pages, seem to work
just fine and look to be very durable. The Curta I is a very late-60’s
model and shows signs of attempts made to cut manufacturing costs,
compared to the mid-60’s Curta II (such as plastic clearing ring with
fixed retaining post, rather than a metal ring with spring-loaded
retaining post). Both work excellently and do not seem to have any
cosmetic, mechanical, or functional defects.
Richmond, VA 23236 USA
Sat. 6/6/98, I spotted two Curta
type II calculators. The newer of the two in a plastic case (No.
536131) was $15. The older in a metal case (No. 514709) was $25. At the
time I knew nothing about Curta’s but for a vague memory of seeing one
used by a fellow student at the Engineering School at UVA in 1961. I
thought what the Hell, I’d risk the money and buy the cheaper one. This
was just the calculator and case – no instructions. And although it
looked like new, I didn’t even know if it worked. That night I went on
line to see if I could find instructions. I did, and yes it worked
perfectly. However,it was then I discovered not buying both was a
mistake. I Suffered mild anxiety all day Sunday, thinking someone had
probably purchased the other one on Sat. afternoon. Still in hopes that
this didn’t happen, I arrived at the store before opening. Not only was
I pleasantly surprised to find the second one still there, but thay had
reduced it’s price to $15. I am now the proud owner of 2 very nice Type
1 – Type II
what it was at the time. Paid much more for the model II!
Zeroing ring broken off in rollover accident during 1966 Blue Heron
Night Rally in Pennsylvania – aside from this both my Curta and I came
through still functioning! I would never sell my Curta, but am curious
about current values.
calculating problem” The 51 page “Computing examples fot eh CURTA
calculating machine” and the foldout “Your CURTA Calculator”. I bought it
new at Bitburg Germany in the late 60’s. Never used it.
used it as a calculator / milage-tracker during my father’s auto- rallying
days in the mid-sixties.
This is one of my most treasured posessions- yet I still use it often. I
am a pilot, and find the Curta to be indespensable as a navigation aid. It
can’t short out, or run out of batteries in mid-air…
(507) 230-0216 (h)
This calculator belonged to my father. It is in excellent condition
after all these years. My mother was going to dump it but I rescued it.
1 – Type II
SN 36642, skeleton model for demonstration
1 – Type II
by my father-in-law I thought it might be some sort of census device
or architect’s tool. He got it at a garage sale for 50 cents. For
years it has been sitting in my sock drawer till I decided to try
to figure it out. I got it to add and subtract and then discovered
your web site.
is in a metal case and in absolute mint condition.
I purchased it on 8 Feb 1963 in at the Swiss Store Kingston
Jamaica for $85. Curiously I have just noticed that the serial
number given on the purchase receipt is 42706, which is oddly
not the serial number of the machine I have in hand.
While working in Germany I was returning from by car from a business
trip to northern Italy in 1964. I decided to make a small detour
through Liechtenstein. I stopped at a lovely hotel in Vaduz,
Liechtenstein’s capital. In the morning I asked the concierge
whether it was possible to arrange a visit to the Contina AG factory
in Mauren. He said he would check with them and let me know in a few
minutes. He returned shortly to tell me that they would be most
pleased to welcome me to the plant. I drove over immediately. It only
took a few minutes. Nothing within Liechtenstein is very far away.
Their sales manager whose name I forget welcomed me. He showed me
around the whole factory. It was very impressive for such a relatively
small operation. I was particularly interested in the machine that was
engraving the shafts with the rotating numbers. The whole visit was
very interesting and informative. Thy apparently were already thinking
about other products. They showed me portions of movie cameras that
they were making at the same time. The cameras were Berlieu or something
close to that.
There may be an explanation for the difference in serial numbers.
In 1972 I had an internal problem with the CURTA. I was still working
in Germany at the time. I phoned Contina AG and asked whether it was
possible to get it repaired. They said most assuredly. I sent them
the unit and a few weeks later it was returned and it has operated
faultlessly since. It appears possible that they may have accidentally
switched calculators at the factory.
I don’t use my Curta much these days. They haven’t come up with a computer
interface. Anyhow it is a pleasure and a privilege to own such a
wonderful piece craftsmanship, technology and of course history.
I’m so excited, I have had this Curta sitting on my shelf for
almost 10 years now. It was given to me by a man I knew for a
short time. He thought it might have something to do with flying
as I’m a pilot he thought I could get some use of it. I was
recently in a Mining Museum in Colorado and they had one on
display so I got excited thinking this machine has some mining
application. So I looked it up on the Internet and WALAAA lots
of information. What a great find.
appears brand new. Has a 16 page Manual No. 5 52 100 undated and is in a
black metal case w/lid.
years ago. It is in the metal case, and has the original guarantee stamped by
the Quick Tourist-Office, Vaduz & Schaanwald, Principality of Liechtenstein
(it is a one year guarantee without a date on it). I also have 2 of the
instruction manuals. The calculator works perfectly, but the clearing lever ring is broken (I did
this when I was a kid, boy was my dad mad!) but it does work.
I am thinking about selling.
Saginaw, Michigan 48609 USA
Louis Skelton, Curator
Torrance, California 90505 USA
1 – Type II
original owner who bought it in 1960. He is now 91 and retired as a town
manager in Southern Utah who did surveying on the side. …I met him
through an ad he placed to sell an HP calculator…When I called him he
mentioned the Curta and the rest is history… It has the case, manual
and is in exceptional good, but used condition.
I bought it in the early 80’s from a rally supply shop in Michigan. I also had 3 other ones.
They were type II’s. Two I gave away, one to a friend who had a Type I and lost it, and
another one to a friend who was fascinated with it. The last one I just traded for a
Leica camera with a lens. The guy who had the camera was so in love with the Curta
that he had to have it. All 3 that are now gone were used, in metal cases
and I bought them in a used cash register store for $10 each. This was 1982.
in my brother-in-laws estate and I wasn’t sure what it was until I looked
up the device on the Internet. The unit itself is a type I and in near
mint condition. The case is unfortunately not one of the early metal
cases. It is still metal.
surveying school in Los Angeles County. During the exams I remember
15-20 people furiously cranking away on their Curtas. The first
competitive electronic calculator (The Bowmar Brain) was available at
the time for approximately $50. but it did not do square roots so it was
fairly worthless to surveyors. HP came out with a calculator then that
was a princely $300 (4 functions and square roots), about 50% more than
the Curta, so Curta was the calculator of choice, and no battery
concerns! Gray barrel, black bakelite case.
Purchased in San Diego, CA in 1967. Mine is like new only used as prop
in speaking engagements.
wanted one of these. Saw one when I was young that belonged to a
distant cousin, and later in college on old engineer had one that he
found in a surplus store. A most ingenious device.
although it is 35 years of age (which is also confirmed from the age
formula found in http://www.vcalc.net/cu-date.htm )
it is in MINT CONDITION (not even a smallscratch may be found)
SN 66132 – Plastic Case
SN 70669 – Plastic Case
brochure, fold-out “4 Arithmetical Rules”, manual: “Computing Examples
for the CURTA Calculating Machine” (Never for sale)
1 – Type II
I now have a lovely Type I. Serial #75395, formerly of the U.S. Bureau
of Land Management. Thanks to collector Richard Fisch for a great deal!
The type II has a plastic left-hand thread case.
7380 Parkway Dr.
La Mesa, California 91942-1500 USA
SN 68909 – Plastic Case
Took it home whenenver possible and did square roots via
repeated subtraction of odd numbers and other stuff. Found this one after
a 15 year search together with some surveying instruments.
Right-hand threaded metal case. I also have some copies of manuals courtesy
of Michael Williams (ACM Transcations on the History
of Computing that he got at the Smithsonian) – which I’d be happy to copy,
Other apocryphal stories I heard over the years:
1) “I used one on a British Navy destroyer for navigation during WW II”,
2) “In Russia we had many of these…” Sometimes there is a grain of truth
in any of these stories. Comments?
Also, I noticed at the “Science Museum” in Ottawa, where they have an Type
I on display which looks like it is in “mint” condition, on the metal case,
there was an “O” ring (large diameter, round cross-section rubber ring)
just below the threads on the bottom shell of case, just above the “lip”
where the top finally rests after being screwed on. Maybe this is original,
maybe not (your readers may comment?) – but anyway it is a good idea –
make the closed case almost water-tight.
PS. You remember the sqrt algorithm, right? Put the original number in the
most significant digits of the result register, then subtract 1, 3, 5 etc.
until there is an overdraught (9s). After the overdraught, pop the turning
lever down, rotate once to restore the proper value, then pop it up again
ready for subtraction”. Subtract one on the setting lever for
that column, and move the “head” one position clockwise. In the
setting lever for this new column, subtract 1, 3, 5, 7, etc. until
overdraft, move the setting lever to one less, rotate clockwise etc. etc.
This works because the sum of the first “M” odd numbers 1, 3, 5 etc.
equals M**2 (thank you Prof. Gauss!).
purchased in Summer 1968 at the “La Tecnografica” Shop in Lugano,
Switzerland for approx. SFr. 630.-, at that time about half a month’s wage
of a blue collar worker. Using the improved Rick Furr’s formula the
production year would be 1966, probably quite close. It was our high
school chemistry teacher that showed us a Curta I, and I was very
The Curta II served me well during my undergraduate years at the chemsitry
department of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich.
During the PhD work I then purchased a HP-67 calculator (it costed twice
the price of the Curta… ) Despite the heavy use, it is still in very good
I still have the original booklet with the calculations examples in
Italian, and also a photocopy of the article published and translated by
A. de Man on this website.
Note: I could scan and provide an upload of booklet and article in German, and
also from the schemes published in that article (the other pictures are
very dark , being a photocopy) if anybody feels the need.
Mount Albert, Ontario
L0G 1M0 Canada
2 – Type II
interesting articles on the Curta. I am a Land Surveyor and purchased a
Type II in the early 1970’s; I still have it.
$1.90 tax from AW Motors, a Datsun dealer here. I had a 1967 MGB
roadster and did a little rallying. Just tried the Curta a couple of
times and put it away. It is in the plastic case and the cardboard
box with all of the papers/book. There is a business reply envelope
to send in the guarantee to: THE CURTA COMPANY P. O. BOX 3414
VAN NUYS, CALIFORNIA. Van Nuys is the original spelling of my name,
an unexpected link.
I have taken care of it for thirty years and now I am ready to pass it on.
** 1999 **
Dr. Bengt Hamelton and passed down to his daughter (my mother-in-law)
and recently to me.
I purchased this new when I was rallying with my Austin Healey.
Never really got good at using it but it is such a beautiful piece of
equipment I can’t let it go.
2 – Type II
thread metal case but rectangular setting knobs.
The earlier type II is black, just like a type I while the other is grey
with coloured setting knobs and a squared off crank handle. It would be
interesting to know at what serial numbers the changes occured.
I have some Curtas already registered on your list but would like to add
another one. It is an early MINT mark 1, serial number 4703, it uses
round sliders instead of rectangular ones and has the name “CURTA” in
quotes on both the case (which has a right hand thread) and the barrel
of the calculator.
Some other features are different, the set screws holding the base on
are black instead of being plated, the writing on the base forms a
circle and System Curt Herzstark is not written on the base but on the
barrel under the “CURTA” name.
rallye computer. Since the Zeron never fails me, use it mostly on rallye pre-checks.
Back in the early 70’s, I had received an electronic calculator for Christmas.
One of those early Melcor’s (?) which did basic math for about $100. Anyway,
my Grandfather pulls out this Curta Calculator and completely blew me away.
When he passed away several years ago, it was the one thing I asked my Grandmother
for as a rememberance. I couldn’t believe finding other owners as I was
searching the web.
SN 525645 (Metal Case)
SN 526413 (Plastic Case)
in June of 1966. The second (plastic case) was purchased on a business trip to
Phoenix, Arizona in June of 1968 at a cost of $110. It has seen use in three
rallys. It’s original owner joined the armed services and needed the money.
Both are in excellent condition. I have the original box for the first one and
two sets of instructions plus a pamphlet on sample calculations.
6700 Valjean Avenue
Van Nuys, California 91406 USA
1 – Type II
contrivance”. We are all in your debt. I’d very much like to join the group.
Though I had always wanted a Curta as a kid, thanks to the Scientific American
ads, they were way out of reach. As I became involved in movie camera work, I
became even more appreciative of precision mechanics in general. I was lucky
enough to find a brand new Curta II (SN 558124) at the Feldmar Watch Co. in
Los Angeles in 1982. It had gone begging for years and I got it at a fire
sale price. The second, a Curta I (SN 32597) cost a lot more through a
Sotheby’s instrument auction in 1997. The second Curta I (SN 20071) came
in ’98. I continue to look for earlier serial numbers.
My friend, the great Los Angeles camera machinist and architype Irascible
Scot, George Randle, loved the Curta because it involved no “Goddam sparks” in
its working. It was pretty good, he allowed, even though it was built by
20040 Carnate (MI), ITALY
excellent condition after all these years, still in metal case.
CURTA Calculator,” “Instructions for use of the CURTA,” and “Computing
Examples for the CURTA Calculating Machine.”
I bought it at a federal auction in 1978 when it was being surplussed.
The bottom of the calculator and its case have the National Park Service
inventory number, NPS # 22797, hand engraved. The manual has a notation
in pencil, “Please return to L. B. Riley.” The date formula suggests it
was made in 1958. The calculator is in excellent condition; its case
shows wear, but is otherwise undamaged.
It is transcendentally beautiful.
Wright State University
a meeting. After he passed away, I was able to acquire the instrument
from his sons. Myron’s hobby was repairing watches so he was able to
maintain the Curta in perfect condition. I plan to use it in the future
for vintage road rallying.
inherited from my Dad. He was active
in the SCCA, Mustang Sports Car Club and ran rallies in the 60’s, winning
lots of trophies and plaques. I remember how excited he was when he got his
CURTA+ADs- he bought it used, but it is in excellent shape. He never let us
touch it. I found it in a box my sister was storing, and pinched it
immediately. She thought it was junk. HA. I use it in homeschooling other
people’s children. My new homeschooler found your site yesterday.
Unit is in plastic container and is in excellent condition.
early 60’s and used it on four rallies and then decided navigation was
not for me and become a driver. Black plastic case and mint.
in the 50’s when I couldn’t afford one. As an enginering student, sports car
rally driver and a Naval pilot I have seen their power!
In the 60’s, my interest was renewed when I visited the technical museum in
Munic. There is still (as of 2 years ago) a very nice exhibit displayed with
history and reference to the concentration camps where the “New Germany” also
has photos and history of Mr. Hertstark.
My wife (original from the 60’s) and I visit Germany and Europe often. Ellie
has “standing orders” to search all the flea markets and antique markets to
look for the “pepper grinder with numbers”. My quest continues!
I currently am a L-1011 captain with Delta Air Lines and still looking for a
Curta. If you know of a mod. 2 (or any) available please let me know.
Curta people. I bought mine in April of 1972 from the “CURTA COMPANY”, 14438
Sherman Way, Van Nuys, California. It has been sitting in a storage box for many years.
I have played with it several times but have not really used it.
It is in the original blue Curta box with a serial number #558399 print on
the outside. The machine sits in the opposite turning plastic case. I have
the original green/white “YOUR CURTA CALCULATOR” fold out instructions, the
original tan “COMPUTING EXAMPLES” booklet, a certificate of guarantee with
purchase date given by the Curta Company and the business card from the Curta
THE MACHINE WAS NEVER REALLY USED SO IT IS IN PRISTINE CONDITION.
I AM WILLING TO SELL IT BECAUSE I NEVER REALLY LEARNED HOW TO USE IT
EFFECTIVELY. SINCE I WORK IN THE BROADCASTING BUSINESS AND USE An ELECTRONIC
CALCULATOR THE DEALS WITH TIMECODE THE CURTA IS OF NO USE TO ME.
from South Africa and she has brought with her a Type 1, serial
Number: 9068 in its black cannister with the legend CURTA only.
The lid is awkward as it turns the ‘wrong’ way round.
Anyway, I digress, there are no instructions. It belonged to her
late husband, John, a civil engineer who bought it in approximately
We both thoroughly enjoyed reading your site. What enthusiasts!
Keep up the good work.
Black metal case shows wear due to his daily use.
Leather carrying case included.
Beachwood, Ohio 44122 USA
from a fellow in England. I used a Model II from 1961 through
1965 for sports car rallyes and paid $90 for it used. Sold it
after I stopped rallying. Then I put a wanted ad in Road & Track
about five years ago and bought a Type I for $100, sold it for
almost $1000 in 1998. Missed having a Curta so much that I’m
going to keep this one.
original owner’s manual. Still use it frequently. Seems more elegant
than electronic calculators.
when I was in collage taking a surveying class. Later purchased the type II. I
took care of it as though it was alive and my friend. Glad to see that
there are other Curta people out there. I look at the unit and realize
what an amazing machine it is. I do not want to sell it but I do have an
interested in its value just in case I run into another one in the
Since having that machine I built a Altair computer, a old Sinclair
computer . As you can see I am a collector, and still feel the Curta is
the most amazing machine of them all!
1 – Type II
black platic case. No instructions or other incanabula.
instructions. Curious about value.
SN 59073 (sold-Feb 10, 01)
1 – Type II
50.000 £ (about 27 dollars US). The seller asked me “What is it? – I don’t
know what it is”. The calculator is in excellent condition and is
complete of his metallic container.
I bough a new Curta Type I SN 61990 in very special condition (mint) with
instruction and the original box. I paid the Curta more or less one fourth
of the amount of the Curta sold.
I bought a new Curta. This time is a Curta II SN 521496. I found them
in a flea market at Campagnano Romano, a small town near Rome.
Boulder City, NV 89005
702 293-5810 (Fax)
MG. It is in mint condition, and it has the metal case. I think I have
the manual somewhere, but it would take some looking.
used in earnest.
I am the county surveyor for St. Johns County, the Curta was in a box
with old survey field books which I found when sorting through things.
I have it on display in my office.
Rougemont, NC 27572 USA
case, serial # 553299, with instruction leaflet and a copy of the
yellow computations manual. This is in excellent used condition.
Bought from Bryan Halladay in England and was used in rallying. I am
learning to use it competently in historic rallying of my 1969 MGB
Roadster. I am interested in trading for a mint Curta I or Curta II in
a metal case that is complete with all literature and box. Also I would
like to obtain a lether rally case as well.
** Update **
I have traded my later Curta II for the following: early Curta II, Serial
# 507475, black body, early left hand thread case in excellent used
condition, all original literature, original box and complete rally case
(leather, made in USA) with belt loop and shoulder strap. I am looking
also for a complete Curta I (in box with case, all original
literature). I have located a “Curta cup” which attatches the Curta to
a clipboard for rallying. I am told that a cable was also attatched as
another piece of rally gear. Perhaps someone could educate me about
this cable affair. I am also looking for an excellent late Curta
II,complete with box, original literature to use everyday, as well as a
Curta I with all of its literature and box to round off my collection. I
have also located a “Curta cup” for a Curta I as well. I will use a
Curta II for TSD calculations in the historic rally class for my 1969
MGB roadster, as well as everyday use. I am a RABID Curta fan and have
owned three of these fine instruments so far.
** Update **
This is a later mint plastic cased Curta II with a leather “rally” case
which was actually a period camera lens case adapted to use with the
Curta. This one has a metal zeroing ring. The serial number is 538659.
Interstingly it fits into a second “Curta Cup” that I have obtained that
is used to mount the calculator to a clipboard for the rally navigator
to use, but my first year production Curta II will not fit into the same
cup. I will use this one for rallying as it is the correct type in age
for my 1969 vintage SCCA rally car. I am interested in obtaining a full
compliment of literature for this one as well.
Northport, Alabama USA 35475
store is famous. It has always been extremely fascinating to me and
I have known from the time I first saw it that it was an extremely
finely crafted item. I paid $ 5.00 for it about 25 years ago in
Murphysboro, ILL. I figured out a few of its functions from
experimentation, but surely would like to know more. I intend to
explore the web site a friend found for me and will learn more. If it
is of interest, I will list the information about it as best I can.
With black plastic case w/ o-ring seat and left hand thread. It is in
very fine condition as is the case. the label on the front of the top
of the case is slightly damaged, but in all other respects appears to
finally be allowed to touch it (at age 49). It is in
beautiful condition in the left hand thread metal case. (No manuals)
My father and grandfather sold office machines in Guatemala City, Guatemala
from 1948 to 1959. They might have been factory dealers. My father has
passed away so the details are sketchy.
Originally I was a master automotive technician. Although I am now deeply
into computing and networks, nothing will ever fascinate me like the
jewel-like mechanical workings of the Curta.
I was fascinated upon finding your site. I am thrilled at how many others
revel at owning one of these jewels.
I had’nt looked at it for sometime but when I eventually did open it the
packing that holds it in place had melted (my office does get warm) and ran
onto the top of the machine.
Any ideas as to how to remove it (it’s now hard) and can a new packing be
Mr. Kleinecke was in charge of servicing Curtas after Contina
was bought by Hilti. He was given all the spare-parts and the
necessary machines to service and repair Curtas. My sister bought this
Curta for me a few weeks ago. Mr. Kleinecke assembled it from spare
He says this will be the last machine he can assemble since it uses
up the last remaining spare-parts of two out of the over 500 parts.
It came in the original black container and looks brand-new.
Mr. Kleinecke took down my address and had to be assured that the
machine will be appreciated and not just sold. It is a truely marvelous
piece of engineering and one has to admire the people who had the skill,
the patience and the persistence to think up and produce such a thing.
British Columbia, Canada
1 – Type II
few tiny scratches and rubs. Turning the crank is almost as good as sex
– but not quite. Its a joy to use as well as look at. I remembered them
being used for car rallies when I was a teenager, and then saw one about
5 years ago in an exhibit. That did it – I had to have one!
Mine was owned by an engineer – but it didn’t look like it had been used
much. Too precious I guess. Anyway, I’d like to say I bought it for 50
cents but I actually paid $US200 and a few aircraft clock parts. Still a
SN (No serial number seen)
/ilook on the bottom/i
factory in the early 60’s I believe. It is a metal barrel in it’s original metal
reverse thread case with white rubber o-ring seal. The base rubber in the case is
a little hard and smelly, but all there. I use it as a curiousity to amaze children
and modern adults who think that everything that was ever worth anything
I am delighted to find this website and look forward to more information.
knurled grips and flashy red and black number selectors. The unit is all metal
with black metal case (white rubber “0”-ring). I do not have the manual; history
unavailable. I want high dollars.
was made in Lichtenstein by Cintina AG Mauren. At this moment I’m trying to collect data
about this wonderfull machine.
Curta Type I – Metal Case with right-turning tread
Cordova, Tennessee 38018
I purchased this Curta as a boy when I traveled to Europe with very good friends of my
family. We arrived in Paris, and all the “locals” had Curtas (it seemed) and were
using them for currency conversion. We secured a car and drove to Liechtenstein, unaware
that was where the Curtas were produced. My father had given me a certain sum of money
for the trip, and when I saw the Curta, I had to have it. The big decision was whether
to get the Curta (and nothing else the rest of the trip) or save my money for other
“souvenirs”. Fortunately, I opted for the Curta.
Mine is Type I, serial # 75931, plastic case with the leather “rally case”. I still have
the original manuals. I am currently looking for the original receipt of purchase which
I think that I still have. The Curta is black and in MINT condition, despite use over
I think (but am not sure) that this was purchased directly from Contina AG Mauren (which
is stamped on the bottom). I say this because I remember being admonished at the time
of purchase that, barring abuse, the machine would need a routine cleaning in 10 years.
Although I gather that I have one of the “later” Model I’s, I am quite proud of my Curta.
(P.S. – This Curta is not for sale.)
Please consider adding my to your list of proud Curta owners.
There’s a customs slip still inside the case dated 10-5-70. It is made in Liechtenstein.
It is still in excellent working condition with the original manuals in good shape
and the case still looks new.
Sold – 8/20/99 – Sold
Never knew what it was until I came across this website wow! Left hand tread, plastic
case–looks like it was seldom used. May want to sell if price is good.
interested in these little beasties!
I saw a Curta about 20 years ago and fell in love with it. It’s owner
did not wish to part with it. However, a scientist friend retired
recently and presented me with his (which I didn’t know he had!).
It’s in very good condition, black metal case with a few scratches.
Please enter me on your database.
Keep up the good work.
It was given to me by a friend recently. The calculator is itself in very good
workable condition, there are no manuals and the left hand threaded metal case is in
fair condition (no dents but scratched)
a petroleum engineer. Has a black metal case opens to the right.
Case marked “Compliments Gaynor & Co”, in mint conditon no case
Used it in concert with a slide rule in engineering school….then later when
I became a TSD rallye fanatic.
card, instruction sheet, and a small booklet entitled, “Computing Examples
for the Curta Calculating Machine”. The Curta is in like new condition, the
plastic case is slightly scuffed. I am interested in selling. Make me an
J7R 4K3 CANADA
John Bellefleur, a good rally buddy of mine, had spoken to
me about your site. I am presently press officer for CARS and Rallye Sport Quebec.
I’m glad to join a select club who owns such a weird little machine.
I bought my then used Curta in 1968 for 75$ CDN and have rallied a whole
lot with the thing. Even ran national events with it before we went to
stage format. And won my share of rallies I might add. It has worked
thousands of hours and still is in perfect order. I use it sometimes as
a calculator or when I organise TSD events.
There was a saying here in Quebec among rally navigators: “You can lend
your girlfriend, but never your Curta!”
engineer/surveyor. Would like to find out as much about it as possible. It’s in mint
condition but doesn’t have a manual so all I’ve been able to figure out so
far is how to add, subtract, and multiply with it.
cleaning out the house. She said it belonged to her late father. She
remembers seeing the both of them at the kitchen table using the Curta
to calculate the bills! Her father worked for the Utah Oil Refining Co.
so I imagine he used it at work. The machine is good condition with no
major scratches. Some of the levers have some slight resistance which I
attribute to the machine not being ever serviced and needing some
oiling. It has the metal case, no dings but some wear. All the lettering
is readable and worn. I estimate the manufacture date to be around
1949-50. I also have the instruction manual, a 5 3/4″ X 4″ booklet.
1 – Type II
type 2, metal case
Have instruction book, computing examples, and leather rally case
for type 2 marvelous computing instruments; goes well with my 220
slide rules, 3 gunters rules and an ivory sector.
other is another Type II, serial number 558304… I know this because
I have its cardboard box). It has a plastic reverse-screw case, and
The story behind this CURTA is that it got dust in it, and the shaft
would no longer turn, so my dad gave it to me to try to fix. Using
their other CURTA as a guide, I took it apart cleaned and lubricated
it, and put it back together again, and to our delight, it worked.
The only problem is now it smells like WD-40. 😉
Fanwood, New Jersey USA
Bought at Stanford University Book Store in late 1960s.
Needs minor servicing. Counting register does not always properly carry to
next column properly when subtracting. Since it sometimes works perfectly, I
assume something needs lubricating.
condition in its original metal case. It was bequeathed to me in the
mid-1980s. I also have the computing examples booklet, but no
instructions. It appears to work very well, but has a sticky digit
that needs to be re-cancelled sometimes in the counting register.
Maybe I’ll get round to servicing it one day.
gave him this Curta, because he is a real civil engineer. He also gave him
an old pocket K&E slide rule because he used to teethe on the leather case,
as a baby 43 years ago. Good upbringing for a civil engr.
at the age of 42. He was an architect. I had it for years and decided
to sell it so that I could use the money to contribute towards a diamond
engagement ring. I didn’t need the money but wanted to include my
father. It was in mint condition the metal case was bruised but healthy
of a Curta II (No. 525601) which my father purchased new in the early
60’s. I recently rescued it from my mother’s garage sale where she had
sold it for $5.00 to a 12-year old. Fortunately, the boy’s father made
him return it to get his $5 back because he thought that he had been
ripped off. It is in good condition, however the pin for the hand crank
has been lost and replaced with a paper-clip. Any suggestions on getting
a replacement pin?
to me by an old family friend, 25 years ago. It came in a metal case but
I lost the manual.
** 2000 **
who bought it in Europe in the 1950’s sometime. It was recovered from his
effects after his death last year, and my father and I now have it.
was a Survey Engineer in 1975. I had used one before while working as a
Govt. surveyor in early 1960. Metal case is well worn. Calculator has
been used extensively. However, it is still in excellent condition.
Found your web site by chance. I had just moved the Curta from on place
on a shelf to another and thought I would see if there was online info.
Eureka! What a piece of work these mini machines are.
instructions. I purchased my CURTA new in the late 60’s and used it for
TSD & Monte Carlo style rallyes in California and “pre-speed limit”
Nevada. Many members of my car club, Nor Cal Rallye Team (NCRT) and our
parent organization, the Four Cylinder Club of America (FCCA) used these
devices which were uniquely suited for rallying – much better than tables.
Although, at speed, that universal adage “GIGO” was especially applicable.
I live and still rallye in Idaho, but the CURTA stays safely at home. On
occaision I take it to meetings so younger rallists can ponder this
SN 37947 (nearly unused, excellent condition, but the small nose of the
clearing lever is broken and lost.) I got both by auctions, one
from the states and one from England.
I’m still looking for a nice (and not too expansive) Curta II.
Plastic Case Original Box and Manual
I came across this treasure in the early 70’s and will never part with it.
It is the epitome of exquisite engineering!
5 – Type II
Curta I No 10759. The serial no was unreadable due to decomposed bungee in
the bottom of the case, but this was cleaned off. I was delighted to find
that it was an early one.
From the information on your site, I think this is 1951.
The clearing ring has been broken. The machine has done a lot of hard
work, and badly needs cleaning, but it all works.
Grand Traverse County
I bought this unit in about 1968-69 from Mr. Gary Hays–I sold a type I at
the same time. Used for TSD rally work for many years—now I just enjoy
having it. It was and is a marvelous machine–a mark of wonderful engineering
I bought it in 1977, or maybe
1978. I remember seeing ads for them in Scientific American in the
60’s, and then at some point they disappeared. I hadn’t bought one
then because I was just a kid and couldn’t afford it.
One day, I realized that I hadn’t seen those ads for a while, and
maybe they were no longer available. I remembered that the US
distributor was in Van Nuys, California, so I called them. The phone
still worked, and the fellow I reached said “I’ve shut down the
business but I still have one unit left. Do you want it?”
So I think that I have the very last Curta officially imported into
San Antonio, Texas 78205
(210) 222-2611 (fax)
, among my mother’s things. I learned to use it as a child and was pleased
to find it fully functional and in very good condition. The finger ring for
the clearing lever is unfortunately broken off. I assume that someone tried
to put the machine in the metal case without retracting the lever. I would
like to know if replacement parts are available.
I believe my dad bought the CURTA new while he was working as an engineer
for the Highway Department of Minnesota, sometime after 1956.
In perfect condx but case scratched
leather pouch that goes on a belt to hold the canister.
It was given to me by Ted Ryan of Los Angeles about 20 years ago. He used
it when he was a Civil Engineer working for the Road Department. Ted went
on to teach electronics at a Los Angeles high school.
I use it from time to time. I am a broadcast engineer and work as a
consultant. Many times I’ve amazed people, maybe even shocked them, by
pulling out the Curta and working some math with it (for fun). Sometimes
they’ve even forgotten they were having a problem because of their intrigue
with the strange “pepper mill” I was using to work math.
I plan on keeping my Curta and enjoying it. It has become like a part of
the family. The fact that Ted gave it to me and what it is has given it a
special meaning and place in my heart.
Thank you for your page.
condition with box (same
serial number), warranty card and documentation still rolled up around the
plastic case. Wanted one since a rally driver let me use one in the early
back in the sixties. This company owned all aircraft fueling operations in
Ecuador, and every delivery needed some calculations. At that time, they
did have some electric calculators, but safety regulations did not allow
them near the airport pads where airplanes were refueled. Later, of course,
all this got kilobyted and megahertzed and the Curta became a curious
paperweight. I was 16 years old in 1976 and already [had] a slide rule and
[was a] calculator collector… my uncle was not. Enough said.
My Type I is in perfect mechanical and aesthetical condition, I have the
instruction booklet in Spanish and the metal case has a few minor scratches.
calculator collection. Although most of mine are the 70’s period
electronic pocket calculators, I really love my Curta I. I recently
purchased two of these from a retired engineer and promptly sold the one
in mint condition. I kept the other because it has the older metal case
as well as a hand-made leather outer case made by his wife who did
leather crafts. It is like new; only slightly used. The manuals are
I also have the user manual in German.
of Detroit, MI.
left-hand threaded. Unit is in excellent condition.
Victoria, Australia, during a sliderule-hunt. When I told the shopowner
I was looking for “calculators and the like” she pulled a familiar looking,
round-topped black metal box from behind the counter, saying “I’m not sure
if you’ll find this interesting, but I think it’s a calculator”. I happily
paid the asking price, which was around half what they’re getting at the
moment. It’s in fine condition, but tends to stick a bit when there
are a few ‘nines’ involved in the setting knobs. No manual, of course, but
it was easy enough to figure out how it worked. I’m *very* impressed with it:
it’s one of those immensely *satisfying* objects. [Whirr, click!]
The ring at the top of the machine is missing. I’m looking for one.
1 – Type II
It belonged to a friend, who kindly sold it to me when he saw
how much I wanted it. I’d wanted one ever since I saw the ads in
Scientific American, but couldn’t afford it.
1 – Type II
Given originally as a gift to the original owner and put on the shelf
until the estate sale. The type II was used in surveying. I love to
run them and take square roots! Part of my collection of mechanical
four function machines including a TIM stepped drum and many pinwheel
calculators: German, Russian, English, Swedish.
S/N 539451 purchased new Dec 1967, $172 from J.H. Maher Co. for
rallying. Still active in rallying today.
S/N 552808 got from friend (for a song) 1996
S/N 544783 recently acquired from Internet
Tema Ghana W.A.
Australian Civilian Military Forces during the Vietnam war era.
I was in a survey attachment to a medium artillery unit and the CURTA
was used for gun placement and target calculations.
I didn’t see another one until 1980 when living in Georgetown, Malaysia
(Penang) in a survey and drafting equipment supply store. After many
weeks of haggling over the price just prior to my departure, I intended
to buy it with the allowances that I recieved for my return to Australia,
but with the hassles of the move back home I forgot it, and it has been
a sore point with me for all these years. Every time I return to Asia
or visit a second hand store I can be found trying to describe this
calculator which doesn’t require batteries to a juvenile store clerk
who can’t understand why I don’t just by the latest ‘Casio’. Only
tonight did I think to look it up on ‘the net’ and I am pleased that
there are like minded people out there who appreciate such a fine
a “CUR-TA-BLE (for the Curta equipped Rallyist ) 1961 Booklet,
an illustrated instruction sheet,
and a booklet “Computing Examples for the CURTA Calulating Machine”.
The handle on the machine has been glued on before I aquired it. It
doesn’t effect its operation.
(and I also collect slide rules)
University (Class of ’51). I found it along with his Pickett & Eckel Model 2
slide rule after he died. Not knowing what it was, I took the CURTA to every
old-timer engineer in Chevron Corporation (where I work) and they were all
fascinated and mystified. None had ever seen one of these before! Black
metal case and no instructions, excellent mechanical conditions.
1 – Type II
I first started rallying equipped. Bought the Type I from my boss,
Bob Helmick, in the late 60s after he returned from a vacation in
Liechtenstein. He bought it there on a whim. I talked him out of it.
My Curta II is packed in a box somewhere in the basement.
for SCCA rallying. Plastic case. Cost me $165 I think. Took a twenty-five year
detour through racing where it did not have much use, but am now back in rallying
and still love to use this machine.
Love your sight and the information, particularly leads to possible service when I need it.
First digit damaged; either 540329 or 940329
Note from Rick… I’m sure your first digit is “5”. Also a duplicate
number is usually inside the Curta under the bottom cover.
If a good offer comes I can sell it.
idea what a Curta was and just thought I’d take a stab on the web to
see if I could find out if this old fashioned calculator I’ve had for
years is worth anything. The year through the Curta equation came out
to be 1955.9. The case is metal, turns counter clockwise and is in
quite good condition with no dents, some scratches and wear marks on
the predominant areas. The “calculator” itself is in excellent
including operating instructions and computing examples for the Curta
Also instructions how to do standard deviations and square root calculations
on the Curta from Automatic Business Machines Limited,
15 Cromwell Road, London S.W.7, Kensington 8877, with annotations and
correctios from a J.R. Munro frrom Manchester CEN.2321.
None of the manuals or instructions are dated.
was given this CURTA by my father, who had been given the CURTA by the
widow of an engineer who wanted it to “go to a good home”. The CURTA
came with a leather case stamped “Made in the USA”, but no instructions.
My father was unable to figure out how it worked, so he handed it off
to me, I was 16 at the time. After many attempts I did figure out how
to use all the functions except square roots.
I had been told the story that CURTA’s were used in WWII in submarines,
I now know that to be complete fiction and the real story of Curt
Herzstark is facinating. When I realized that each CURTA was given a
unique serial number, I marveled at the odds of getting this one.
Fax: +49 40 5473 4934
mobile: +49 171 354 8218
He’s a real estate appraiser,
still working and going strong at 82. However, the Curta holds more
fascination for me than it does for him now. Actually, I’ve always been
intrigued by it, so Dad gave it to me recently. He’d rather play with
spreadsheets on his PC. Mine is in original condition, with a plastic
cylindrical case, the original cardboard box, the instruction sheet,
sample calculations, and warranty card.
knew in England and will contact them.
condition, good metal case [some minor paint scratches]
NOT FOR SALE !!!
II to roll off the production line to mine (he has 501325). I’m in the UK,
he’s in Australia. These were certainly either well marketed, or someone
emigrated with his… Mine is a family heirloom I intend to pass to my son.
magnificent machine in great shape. Took awhile, and several peoples help
to figure it out. It belonged to an accountant that worked for him in the early 60’s.
Does any body have a set of instructions they would share? Also, from
the S/N can anything be deduced about date of manufacture?
a Curta Type I, SN 24218 while going through the estate of my great uncle
Raymond Seger. I didn’t know what it was at first and figured out that
it had some mathematical use after “playing” with it for awhile. Most of
the family had assumed it was used for photograpy since the device was
found in a drawer with some old Leica cameras and flashes. Uncle Ray was
a carpenter and for years built bowling alleys. Eventually he built his
own bowling alley. Why he had a Curta, I’ll probably never know. One interesting bit of
information, Uncle Ray was born and raised in Liechtenstein.
As a NASA engineer I enjoy the novelty and history in owning a Curta.
Tucson, AZ 85741
teenager. Couldn’t have one at that time.
It is impeccable and works smoothly like it was made last week.
Calculators I was looking for one during the last two years, finally
finding one on the eve of the last christmas day on a local flea
market here in Brasil (who said there’s no Santa?) :^)
Mine is a type I Curta in a black metal case with left-hand thread.
The case doesn’t feature the ”
Unfortunately, the clear ring was broken on my Curta, but the
previous owner saved the missing part that I found in the bottom of
AFAIK, there’s another Curta here in Brasil in a local computer
United Kingdom (England)
Manual (multiple folded single sheet in green and black)
I acquired the above from a colleague who previously used it to
calculate CRT deflection system coil assemblies for TV sets during
the late 60’s early 70’s. It remain unused until 1981 when during
an office discussion about a project I was working on the subject
came up about calcualting devices. I was programming one of the
HP calculators (forget the model) at the time and my colleague
brought this in to show how it used to be done !!
He left the company I was working about a year later, and prior to
leaving he discovered that the Curta was still in his desk. He gave
it to me as a parting gift – and what a gift – I have shown it to
many people over the years and it has created lots of debates.
For me its about the history, craftmanship and technology, but most
of all the realisation that something like this will never again be
produced (certainly not commercially) and that it represents a time
before the charge for everything digital and computer based.
Nothing best demonstrates this than during the production period 1947
to 1970; only two versions entered into production. Cannot think of
many modern devices having a mean life of 11.5 years. (Calculated
using my olde Curta !!)
PS My Curta It is not for Sale, but I have a scanned electronic copy
of the manual if anyone is interested.
and metal box, from my -now retired- late boss. Both we are biochemists,
and I remember well my boss and his closest co-worker “grinding” numbers
for calculating enzymatic activities from 1966 till 1971! (I was about 25
years old). The operating manual soon was lost, and I am VERY happy in
finding it in this web-site: I restarted happily to “grind” numbers with
the Curta Machine, rousing astonishment among the today youngs!
** 2001 **
lawyer in court, but have recently acquired the one referred to below
which is really to good to use in a serious rally.
I have a Type II in its plastic case all in pristine, possibly
unused condition, originally sold in Cape Town, RSA.
I also have three pieces of original literature. A single (two sided) page
flyer “Who counts on Curta” – “Curta the calculator for people who count”.
“The key to every calculating problem”, a 16 page booklet, and the fold out
“Your Curta Calculator”.
I rally two MGs, and MGA roadster and an MGB GT V8, and would like to
acquire a complete leather rally case with belt loop and shoulder strap, and
a “Curta cup” which attaches the Curta to a clipboard for rallying. I have
also heard of, but never seen, a cable for use with the Curta in a rally
I am reluctant to use my mint Curta in serious long distance classic
rallies, so would like to purchase another “more used” Type II, cosmetic
appearance unimportant provided that it is in perfect working order.”
Stoughton. May drove and Jerry navigated to at least two SCCA
Class A National Championships in a VW Bug using S/N 524391.
I had rallied in my late teens and early twenties during the late
1960’s and had come to know the Stoughtons. In the 1980’s I
strove to drive a resurgence of touring TSD rallies for all to
enjoy via the Maverick Region Porsche Club of America. At an
unrelated after-event pub crawl Jerry and Mary indicated that
retirement from Rally was imminent, and offered their Type II
was for sale. I responded with “name your price and I’ll pay it”.
After a brief consultation they specified $35. I have used the
wondrous tool on several occasions in TSD Rallies and done
reasonably well. I would love to find an opportunity to use it more.
Curta was purchsed in U.S. and used for car-rally navigation.
It was also used at work (electrical engineering) when slide-rule
precision was insufficient.
at www.calculators.de. Thanks and happy collecting
I always told him that I wanted it willed to me but he decided not to wait.
Most people can’t figure out what it is when they see it.
It is in perfect condition, it looks unused, even the case is perfect.
Hand book/instuction leaflet missing.
This Curta is not for sale, we intend to pass it on to our grandson.
Austin, TX 78739 USA
canister and both manuals are in perfect shape. According to your web page
it’s a 1963 model.
This very unique machine is very special to me. As a child at the age of 8,
I remember my Grandfather showing it to me and I was so impressed, after
just one short encounter, I remembered 35 years later to ask for it after
he passed on.
I would be honored if you would register me in memory of my Grandfather:
(In memory of Col. William P. Allyn)
The only markings on the cannister is:
(the quote marks are engraved on the cannister, along with the letters).
There is no other line work, etc. The ‘O’-ring, internal bottom foam pad,
internal top rubber clamping pad; are all there, and in excellent condition.
On the barrell of the calculator, above the setting register is engraved:
SYSTEM CURT HERZSTARK
Again the quote marks around the CURTA. The second line is engraved in much
The setting knobs are pegs, not the serrated slides that I have seen in all
pictures of the calculator.
On the barrell on the opposite side of the setting register is engraved:
SOLE S.A. AGENTS
P.O. BOX 6490
The calculator works perfectly, and smoothly. It appears to have been used
very little, if at all.
The attached ‘pictures’ (actually direct scans on the bed of my scanner) are
of poor quality, and are deceptive as to the condition of the calculator.
For example, the picture of the bottom of the calculator indicates that the lettering
might be blurred, partialy missing and not sharp: in fact the lettering is quite
complete, not blurred, and very sharp.
In all of the pictures that I have seen, I have never seen a picture showing:
– a cannister engraved with quote marks around CURTA, and no other letters or line work,
– a righ-hand threaded cannister,
– the barrell of the calculator engraved with quote marks around CURTA, and/or
the second line, SYSTEM CURT HERZSTARK (on the barrell, not the bottom),
– ‘peg’ style setting knobs.
As a PhD research student in 1962~3 I used a Friden (?Freiden) electro-mechanical calculator
which was on a sort of permanent loan to the University of Nottingham, England. Before
I’d finished essential statistical calculations on fossil brachiopods, the company was
taken over and Freiden machines on loan were recalled. As an undergraduate in the late
50s, I had seen a Curta and I guessed that, in the crisis, it might be affordable to me
as a private acquisition in order to complete my thesis. For the sum of about sixty
pounds (very painful at the time!) I bought mine from a (forgotten) shop in Nottingham,
UK, and I still have it. I think the handbook will emerge from the lower stratum of
papers in a desk drawer when I get around to tidying some day! I still have the cardboard box.
I have only just discovered your site and learned just how much interest there still is
in these mechanical marvels. I have been interested in mechanical things since a youngster
with Meccano and still find fascination in this device which must be close to the ultimate
of precision, pre-electronic age,consumer devices other than watches. One of my favourite
party pieces is to demonstrate how instrument-calculation was performed before the
electronic calculator which youngsters seem to think was invented about the same time as
fire! Goodness knows what they’d think of a slide rule!
My Curta is in perfect working condition and virtually unmarked although the aluminium
(oops! aluminum) canister shows signs of use. Interesting, though, that the rubber O-ring
seal and the foam shock-absorber and cushion in the lid have all retained their elesticity
and show no sign of having perished. There is something very satisfying about the ‘feel’
of these instruments, from the silkiness of the black anodised body to the amazingly
smooth but positive movements.
Having owned mine for nearly 40 years I can’t imagine ever parting with it (although I
suppose the time will come when I part from it!).
for an instruction manual.
My father was a Mechanical Engineer with Collins Radio and Rockwell Int. for
36 years, a fairly successful SCCA driver during the late 60’s, and probably
the most intelligent man I will ever know.
The Curta is in mint condition, and although I have figured out simple
multiplication and division functions, I know that the computer is much more
powerful than I can imagine. If you know of anyone willing to part with an
instruction manual or even a copy thereof, I am definitely interested.
instruction book and original box.
Curta type II with computing examples and instruction manual.
It also has a leather carrying case. The whole package is in mint condition.
container in a little cardboard box with a couple of manuals entitled:
“Your Curta calculator” & “Computing examples for the Curta Calculating
A little Guarantee and Registration Card that has never been filled out!
A “Mathematical Handbook – An aid to every day figuring Problems, Tables,
Formulas, Arithmetrical Rules”
And a receipt from 10/16/67
I just started to read about how they work. What an interesting device!
it was a significant sum: around a couple of weeks’ salary for an engineer in
the aircraft industry, as I was then.
I still have the manual, which is entitled “The key to every calculating
problem”, with a back page notice saying supplied by LONDON OFFICE MACHINES
LTD., who also provided a service contract for cleaning and replacement of
parts, which I took up while I was using it professionally.
I do still use the machine occasionally, but unfortunately dropped it last
year, and broke the operating handle & have not succeeded in gluing it back
together, so have to turn it by the stub. (I shall have to have another go,
as it’s still the best device for solving puzzles which require the result of
a multiplication to have known digits in specified locations.)
The manual I have is the one described at
item 36, except that the address of London Office Machines is Sweda House, 5
Lower Belgrave House, 5 Lower Belgrave Street, London SW1, phone SLO 0407,
and the reference number is 60 04 15e.
This suggests that at that time L.O.M. was a subsidiary of Sweda, the
manufacturer of the larger calculators in your general listing.
At some later date the service agreement was handed over to Automatic
Business Machines Ltd. of 11, Wyfold Road, London, and a label was attached
to the case with the new address. This label has now been partly lost, but
their telephone number was one starting 01-3xxxxxx, so that must have been
after the change from alphanumeric codes to all-digit ones.
We purchased ours from a retired Surveyor. He was the original
purchaser and kept both the instruction manual and what appears
to be a pamphlet that describes the sales features for purchasing
a Curta. He paid 142.00 plus 7.90 Ex. tax. and had it on a ten
day trail. I believe it was purchased from Geo-optic Company, Inc
New York, NY.
given to my by my best friend who is now passed on.
Original instruction books
* Instructions for use of the CURTA (45 pages)
* London Office Machines Ltd -CURTA (16 pages)
* CURTA Table NO.101 Square roots (double sided card)
The zeroing ring snapped is this possible to replace?. Are there spares available ?
the machine is in excellent condition apart from the zeroing ring.
SN 10577 (4/1950)
1 – Type II
SN 505608 (5/1955)
find on the main Curta Web page.Rick
SN 20021 (1956)
Pacifica, California 94044-4404 USA
about 1968 just before the electronic calculator came out. I used it while working
for Varian Associates in the design drafting department. When Hewlett Packard came
out with their HP 35 calculator, I started to use it in place of the Curta. I still
like to demonstrate how the Curta works to friends and family.
I still have the original box, instructions, and plastic case. It’s a
for rallye racing. P.S. I got the poster and my engineer colleagues come to my office just to study it!
with it’s black metal case also mint. I got it in a flea market in Mexico
City at a ridiculous price.
he showed me how to use his Curta when I was about 8 years old. I
have been fascinated with it ever since. When I dad passed away in
1999, I inherited it and I will never part with it.
ago. I did not have any instructions on how it operates. This morning,
I thought about this little machine sitting on the shelf in my den, and
decided to do a Internet search. I can’t tell you how delighted I was
to find all this information. The secrets of this little jewel have
been revealed. Thank you! I am not interested in parting with it.
ralleying. I do not have the paperwork. But I do have that left twist
condition. No manual.
road rallyest for many years. It looks brand new. It is a type 1 in
a metal case whose top turns off in a clockwise direction. My friend
used it in conjunction with a book of tables entitled “Cur-TA=Ble for
the Curta equipped Rallyist”by Willard Coddington and a Stevens Rally
Indicator which is a 9 inch p;astic disk with 3 movable arms immobilized
with thumb screws. the arms are labeled T, E, and M. It was used to
coordinate the time, odometer reading and mileage from the last check
Along with my Curta calculator I have the operation manual, a booklet
entitled “Computing examples for the Curta Calculating Machine'”
published by Contina AG, Vaduz and the guarantee dated 7-19-61.
I am really not interested in selling these items along with my slide
Houston, Texas 77057
to the Curta and think it’s great.
My Dad bought his back in 1965 while being a Surveyor. I remember
using it many times while working with him though I was only 14
years old at the time. He died Feb. of this year and I am sorry
that he could not have seen this.
I am a Surveyor also and have since been Licensed in 3 States but
have only spoken to one other surveyor who still has one of these.
The Model is a Type II and it’s in Mint Condition.
Web and came upon your Curta Collectors and Registry Page and just
happened to remember that I still have my Curta calculator.
I bought it new in about 1966 or thereabouts, primarily for doing
sports car rallies. The Type II has got enough figures on it to
keep 2 continuous calculations going on at once. I built a special
double clipboard with a bracket to hold the Curta and another bracket
to hold the Heuer stopwatch I used along with it. I’ve still got
all 3 (Curta, stopwatch, and clipboard) but seldom use them all
together any more.
(1954.1, I think). Indeed, I’ve found my CURTA at my Dad’s home
few days ago.
Union with Switzerland, by Contina Ltd Mauren Metal case and worn,
but legible basic instructions.
In 1980 I was asked to help my mother’s friend set some items up
for a yard sale. My brother and I were told that we could each pick
one item as compensation for our efforts. My brother picked a box
of comics and I picked this very interesting mechanical calculator.
My mother’s friend was a widow and her husband was in the US
military (Army, I think) and travelled extensively in Europe and Asia
just after WWII. The basic one page instruction manual was wrapped
around the metal case and held in place with a trusty rubber band.
I was always fascinated with the device but had no idea there were
so many others.
mint condition w/ plastic case in excellent condition
So have just cleaned out her garage before she moves, only to find this wonderful
precision engineered mechanical calculator. based on Rick Furr’s formula it’s dated
at mid sept 1967…I vaguely remember my late father showing me this item when I was
approx 13 (I am now 47)..It is in pristine condition and housed in a black cylindrical
plastic/bakerlite type vessel with a left hand thread, I also have the original box
and supporting documentation (1) ‘Your CURTA Calculator’ multiple fold single sheet
in green and black (2) 51 page folder ‘Computing examples for the CURTA Calculating
Machine’…after pressing the enter button on my computer I will be putting the
details on the ‘for sale’ info as the financial returns should put a smile on my mum’s
face (she was going to put it in the skip)
engineer with the SC Johnson Wax Co. His name was Jerry Meldgaard. He had purchased
it for $50 from a Curta rep in the early 70’s while on a plane trip to Europe.
Apparently the rep was sitting in the seat next to him. In the course of talking he
told Jerry that the Curta was not selling very well because of the increasing use of
electronic calculators. Jerry told him he had always wanted one and the rep said he
could have one for $50. Jerry liked fine mechanical instruments and owned Leica
cameras as well. Jerry was a customer in my restaurant and after he died his wife
remembered that I had expressed an interest in Jerry’s Curta.
I still have the original box with matching SN, manual, and the warranty card. It is like new.
Jerry never used it and neither have I.
(S/N #15053) Type I by an auctioneer
friend of the family. I didn’t know what I had at the time. I put it away
until just recently when I was showing it to my step-daughter. I decided to
try to find out what it was. I was surprised to see a web site devoted to
It is in PERFECT condition (just like new).
Accountants and in 1968 I became a partner and I still hold this position today.
My previous employer had a number of Marchant mechanical/electric
calcualtors. I used them extensively but they were large heavy machines, so
much so that the female staff would not move them. At the new firm I
discovered a Curta. It was bought in 1956, probably in England by a client
of the office who was on an overseas holiday. On his return to New Zealand
he presented it to one of the partners who was a bit of a gadget man. I
quickly learned how to use it but the two of us were the only ones who
could use it. This was a type 1 model and I found that it did not have
enough capacity to handle pounds, shillings and pence which was the
currency of that time. In due course the partner retired ( he was a world
war 1 gallipoli veteran) and another partner took over the Curta and
learned how to use it. At my bidding a type 2 model was purchased from an
agent in Wellington New Zealand. It was my calculator and I still have it
to this day. In 1990 the type 1 came to me as I was the only one who could
use it and electronic calculators had taken over.
In 1986 our house was burgled and the type 1 was stolen along with other
property. No doubt it was dumped as the burglars would not have been able
to use it. Unfortunately I did not have the serial number but it had a
metal case and was in good well used order. The real history for me is that
in 1974 the client who purchased the series 1 Curta became my father in
law. I still have the instruction manuals and calculation examples which
came with both Curtas. The type 2 which I have is number 543190 and it was
purchased in 1965 or 1966. It still works well but constant use over many
years has worn off some of the colour on the body and some of the markings
are rather indistinct. Our office computer staff are fascinated by it and I
am told that many of my clients refer to me as the accountant with the
coffee grinder or the pepper grinder.
In the late 1960’s Car Trials were big in New Zealand and I was a
timekeeper. One of our greatest rivals used a Curta for timekeeping. He
used to jealously guard his machine and his method. One day I asked him
what his method was and he very quickly and briefly told me what he did
thinking that I would not understand. What he did not know was that I had a
Curta and ten minutes on my machine was all I needed to know his system. He
never knew that I knew! I never used a Curta for Car Trials (similar to US
car rallies) as I used a book and manual entries in conjunction with a
Halda Twinmaster and time and speed tables (Larry Reid). I did not have to
convert time into decimals and written records gave me the ability to check
time penalties on results sheets against my own calculations. Many times I
was able to point out errors and improve our results. I still compete in
the occasional Car Trial but they are now not well supported. I still do
not use the Curta for Car Trials but I still use it on occasions in my
In 1987 I was in Liechtenstein and enquired after the Curta factory. I was
told that it had closed down. I knew little about the history of Curtas
until I found the web page a few days ago.
I hope this tome is of some interest to you.
I was a child. When I was 17 I used the CURTA for calculating on Rally races
When I get into college (1969) I used my Curta instead of the normal rule.
1 – Type II
was immediately smitten with the idea of owning one. It was one of eight (I believe)
bought by the management for use in the Drawing Office. This one was the only remaining
example and no one was sure (or seemed to care) as to the whereabouts of the other
Machines. I made it my job to quietly look them out but in the years I was with the
company never found them. I felt sure one day I would find them but never did.
The only time I ever saw another Curta Machine was when I visited my local Science Museum.
I recently bought my two machines, unused and still in their original Cardboard boxes
from a London auction house. The original plan was to sell the Mk II and keep the Mk I
but am so pleased with their stunning condition I am having second thoughts and hope
my Partner just forgets about the money I owe her!
out what it was, well when I looked it up on internet and you told me what it was. It’s
serial # is 56190 , a clockwise turn opens it can you fill me in on an (at) birthdate or
any other info? Thanks again for enlightening me.
no result display !! I’m looking for someone who can repair it or maybe
to sell it like it is?
(no box or users manual) Near-Mint.
I have a Type-1 No.55845 that I am interested in
selling. I inherited the calculator from my
Grandfather who was the Vice President of Williams
Brown & Earl Co., a scientific insturment supply
company in Philadelphia. The Curta was essentially
un-used and is in near-mint condition; however,
there are no documents or boxes that can be found
for this unit, they may still exist in my Grandmother’s
home but have yet to appear.
74000 Annecy, France
Depuis je suis completement fou de cette merveille et je l’utilise tres souvent. Mes amis en sont facines.
Pardon je ne parle pas l’anglais.
[This is speaking of my passion for precision mechanics and watch a friend presented me with this CURTA 1. It Was never used.
Since I am completely Call us crazy about this wonder and I use very souvent. My friends are to do. Sorry I do not speak English]
is really just an appended manual for the Curta I. Was a specific manual for the II ever produced?
I am struggling with division of larger numbers by small numbers eg
82/8. I have some success with the subtractive method with the
reverse switch in the lower position using numbers of similar
magnitude eg 355/113 (try this one for fun)
I cannot make head nor tail of that part of the manual. Overstepping
is not clear to me and I cannot duplicate the readings on my II
I must agree that the Curta is hypnotic. It’s action is sweetly
mesmerising. It could be likened to the Ring in The Hobbit with its effect
I turn the handle a few times whenever I’m stressed!
I wonder if you can offer me any tips?
for over 30 years. When my father gave it to me some years ago I did not
know what to make of it so I keep it in my closet until my kids found it. I
went on the web to see if I could find out how to use it and down loaded the
manual. That is how I found this web sit. Neat I did not know it was a
** 2002 **
Rapid City, SD 57702
year in college. I roomed next door to a gentleman named Earl Hildebrandt who worked
for Dunn & Bradstreet. I have since lost track of him but he used the Curta
extensively in his work and demonstrated it to me on several occasions. I seem to
remember them being advertised in “Popular Science” & “Popular Mechanics” magazines
a few years earlier. I really wanted one but of course could not afford it at the time.
In the past several years I have been keeping my eyes open for one at rummage sales,
antique stores and where ever I thought one might show up, but to no avail.
I bought my Curta in 1999 in a very pleasant transaction with Skip Godfrey. He was selling
this one for a friend in Singapore. It is in almost perfect condition with no scratches
or wear marks. The canister is the early high-gloss style with “CURTA” engraved in the
metal. It came with two pieces of original literature and a professionally reprinted Curta
Operator’s Manual. The original advertising brochure lists the sales agent as ALPHA
INSTRUMENT CO., in Washington 6, DC, phone number FE 8-0570.
I have no desire to part with my Curta and I do hope to acquire a Model II at some time in the future.
We just bought some things from an auction from the US Bureau of Land Management,
and with this came a Curta Type II Ser.#538446. It looks like it has never been used.
We have the plastic case, a “Computing Examples for the Curta Calculating Machine” 51
page phamplet, a owner’s type manual fold-out brochure and the 30 day registration
I see that these are quite the collectors item.
Central Bridge, NY 12035
the add in the Scientific American. The serial number is 552856. I own
all the original manuals and brochure or start sheet.
I own a Curta II which I purchased in 1968 or thereabouts, the serial
number is 552856, and it includes the plastic gasket sealed case, the
foldout instructions, the examples for calculation and two of the
“Mathematical Handbooks” published by the Curta Company in Van Nuys
“Live to Ride. Ride To Live.”
My Grandpa (Paul Stichling) and my Dad (Wolfgang Stichling) have’been
surveyors also. Now I own the Curta from my Dad. I don’t know at what time it
I decided to go on the web and look up the name. I was not familar with the calculator
and thought it was a lost cause. The serial no: 78642 was purchased by my father in
Liechtenstein, it is in a plastic case, but the machine is metal and the instructions
and booklet are still with it. I’m sure it has never been used. What is the value of
these calculators in today’ market. I looked at your website, and was amazed at the
interest your readers have with this calculator.
It belonged to my father.
He thought it was a
fascinating little machine. It is in it’s original cardboard box stamped
“Made in Liechtenstein” with a glue-on label bearing the serial number. I
have a guarantee from “Contina Ltd., Vaduz / Liechtenstein”, a booklet
“Computing Examples for the Curta Calculating Machine”, and a pamphlet
titled “Your Curta Calculator” with “the Four Arithmetical Rules”. The
metal case opens to the left, and has the rubber “O” ring with padding top
and bottom. The calculator itself says “System Curt Herzstark” on the
bottom. The case and the unit are both in completely pristine condition as
it has rarely been out of the box. Unfortunately my daughter just broke
off part of the ring on the clearing lever, but I have the piece so it
could be repaired. (Does anyone out there know where I can get it fixed?)
According to the formula it was manufactured around March 1959. It is NOT for
father-in-law used to participate in sports car rallies in the 60’s.
The Curta is in perfect working condition with no broken parts, and is still
in its original metal, counter-clockwise cap case. Even the rubber “O” ring
is still in good shape.
photo’s and a heck of a lot of information.
I was just surfing the web and was wondering what else to look up with my Google
search engine. Well, I looked over to my right where I have a bunch of my porsche
models and other items on display and noticed one of my Curta’s sitting there on
the shelf. So, that’s what I typed in for the search.
A wonderful page and I wish you well with your finds and a great site. I would
hope it stays up forever.
Oh, my Curta? The one on display is one of 3 that I have. The other 2 are in a
dresser draw that I can’t get to at this time as it’s blocked in by toy trains.
Anyway this one is in a black metal container, type II, No. 518518, Made in
Liechtenstein (Customs Union with Switzerland) by Contina Ltd. Mauren, System Curt Herzstark.
It’s in perfect condition and I’m sure that somewhere with the other’s I have
I do have the literature that came with it. I do remember that at least one of the
others I have is also packed in the original cardboard box that they were sold in.
The Curta was inside that cardboard box. And that one has all the literature also.
I had purchase these items when I was into road rally’s. I must have paid at least
$25 for them and no more than $45 for the most expensive. My Curta’s were all
purchased around 1980. Still cheap back then as all the rally guys were switching
to the electronic types. I should have purchased more of them……
I wish I could get at the others I have to give you the serial numbers of them also.
I do kind of remember that one of them has a very low number or something different about it.
I think this one has an interesting number itself 518518, it’s like 2 518’s back to
back. Kind of neat……
Have a nice day and again thank you for putting so much information up and making it
available for those interested in the Curta.
Great page Rick.
at Oregon State Univ. Later, in the Army, I was travelling Space A through Europe
and made a diversion to Vaduz and bought a Type I in the metal case, super machine.
Believe it was about $125.
Out of the army and off to Laos for several years as a civilian with USAID, used
the CURTA for lots of things, calculating rice drops, etc. This one was stolen
from my VW van in 1973 when I was inside the Feather Flight suds sipping spot
throwing darts one aftenoon.
No CURTA, what to do, even in the age of the handheld calculators.
Circa 1981, in Bangkok, a friend was going on home leave to the U.S. via Europe.
I suggested that he and the family stop by Vaduz, which they did, and they found
the one I now have, about the last of the line, I reckon. About $60, I think.
Don’t use it much now, but it’s close to hand, I just pulled it out of the bag,
along with my five or six sliderules.
retired in Thailand
Saskatoon, Sk. Canada S7J 2R9
have there on Curta calculators, their owners and the numerous links to other
My uncle bequeathed his Curta calculator to me in 1957. He was a civil engineer
and a hobbyist mathematician and acquired the Curta after his retirement. I
doubt if he used the calculator very much. It was in almost pristine condition
when I received it.
I am a retired accountant and apart from learning how to use the calculator
and demonstrating it to a few co-workers shortly after receiving it, it has
not since been used. It has been stored in a cloth cover in a drawer with
other knickknacks of mine all these years.
I was particularly interested
in the attempts to find a formula for dating by serial number. I recently
purchased a Type 11, serial no. 543471. I also have the original bill of sale.
It was sold in Toronto, Canada in March,1968. The retail price was $165.00
plus 5% sales tax. Total $173.25. That was about 10% of the cost of the new
pick-up truck that my family bought the same year. I don’t know if this info.
might be of any interest to anyone but if you know someone perhaps you could
pass it on.
in the 1970’s when he was employed as a surveyor. The first two digits of the
serial number are not very clear. I think it is 27970, possibly 22, 72, OR 77.
He probably had baught it in Paris or in Switzerland around 1950 / 1955 in relation with his job calculation requests.
My Dad was engineer as I am.
I remember having always been in company of that object in our home, since my first childhood.
Of course, I keep preciously that fantastic machine, and I would not get rid of it at any price.
metal case and has the 45 page instruction book.
geologist for Standard Oil of California. He gave it to me around 1996 as “a
computer that needed no electricity” because of my work at Compaq Computer Company
and my engineering background. Since receiving it, I have seen 2 examples on
display at the Los Alamos National Labs (read A-Bomb lab in WWII) science museum.
They were used for performing engineering calculations for nuclear weapons.
They also have photos of it in use. My Curta has the metal case with rubber
seal ring, instruction manual and a 13 page product guide showing a black and
white photo of a hand holding a Curta on a yellow background.”
I’m a little unsure of the date but
it must have been somewhere around 1982. I was about 13 or 14 at the time and just
thought it looked fascinating, not having any clue what it was as there was no
instruction booklet. I paid about £3 for it if I remember rightly. Not having any
instructions it took me a while to work out how to use it but I managed to get all
four functions in the end. Mine has a metal case with the left hand screw thread. I
wouldn’t call it Mint condition but it’s not far off. I have a box that it came in
but no instructions as mentioned before. If anyone could let me know the
approximate date of construction I would be most interested.
This machine is in a perfect state, it belonged in my Grandfather
“Jean-Labord” which was a automotive garage owner to Domevre on
Vezouze in Lorraine. The date is written on the operating manual:
October 1955. I also possess the metal case and the operating manual
in FRENCH. My grand father did not use it a lot, and the machine is
as new and works admirably.
I like a lot this recollection, because it is the only think which
stays from my grandfather.
advertisement and I was hooked. I had always admired elegant design
and precise worksmanship. My prior calculator experience had been
with Fridens in college and at work
I resisted for a time (several months). I finally caved in and
purchased it from the US Curta distributors store in Van Nuys, CA
for $125. I used it quite intensively for financial and engineering
calculations. It was a godsend. Wherever I worked, Fridens were
in short supply.
I was told by the salesperson/service tech that:
“The metal case was being replaced with plastic because(I am paraphrasing)
if dropped, the plastic case will shatter and the machine can be easily
removed. The metal case tends to deform and make it difficult to retrieive
the calculator without damage .”
I remember this as being the mid-60s. The SN indicatesearly May 1966.
My active usage was ended when the HP’s appeared and later the spreadsheet
(three elegant solutions to the same problem).
I lost the manual and packing box years ago. The machine and case are in
pristine condition. It Is not for sale.
was Inyo County Surveyor for over 40 years and worked for Inyo County (California)
for 65 years, he started in 1905 and retired in 1970 at 85 years old. My Curta is
in excellent shape. I have always been fascinated by the little instrument. Everyone
I show it to is amazed.
Cologne from the late 40s until 1952. He bought and used his Curta at work when
in Germany. My parents immigrated to the USA in 1952. I remember the Curta just
sitting on a shelf in the house when I was young.
2 – Type II
where one calculation leads to the next and to the next and so on until the final answer is obtained.
This occurs within the gear calculation I speak of in the piece below and my thought is to modify the
calculation sheet and offer it for Curta owners/enthusiasts to use for an exercise and a means where
expertise can be learned and the Curta used as it should be.
It was 1959 in England and having some expertise in the design of gears and transmissions
I was recruited by a company making engines for motorcycles, lawnmowers, generating sets etc.
I accepted the offer and began work in the Design Office. Soon I was shown a Mk 2 Curta and
given a demonstration of how the gear design procedure had been programmed around this, to me, new
mechanical calculator. From Log tables and laborious but essential paper and pencil aided calculations
methodology changed overnight. I quickly became the Curta king as the Curta rarely left my
side as design project succeeded design project.
Then after a few years the electronic calculator appeared and I changed my allegiance but I never
lost the memory of holding in my left hand the black cylinder that seemed to vibrate with life as my right
hand thumb and first finger turned the handle Both hands worked in unison as the product of complex
group of figures were calculated. There was never any need to look at the calculator, eyes focused on
the numbers on the paper in front and my mind focused on the silent count with the continuous whirr
of the mechanism a constant partner. A true blending of man and machine.
And the years passed, as is inevitable, and twenty years after being seduced by the mechanism
from Liechtenstein I came to the US to the only US manufacturer of motorcycles. The days
of the Curta were long past. Now calculations that took days even with a Curta were done in an instant
and designs improved because the new computers could now do thousands of calculation variations so the skill
sets required by the designer could concentrate on all the other compromises engineering designers have to
Then came retirement and my thoughts turned to the hypnotic feel of a Curta at full speed responding
instantly to confident hand and finger movements. I wanted one in the worst way. Was it a case of reclaiming
lost youth or was it some sort of addiction? So I advertised in the local newspaper of the town in England
where I used to be Curta King, for no reason other, I now reason, than I might find “my” Curta. During a trip
to England and a visit to my home town I was offered both a Mark 1 in pristine condition in it’s plastic case,
and a fine Mark 2. The owner of the Mark 1 after I showed him how it worked ( he had even taken it the
Antiques Road Show without success), when offered what I considered to be a fair market price he responded
by saying “Oh no, I couldn’t do that.” Confused I asked why and he answered that it was far too much and
named a much lower price. The Mark 2 was the version with the gray body with a mix of black and red
sliders. Then in September of 2002 during a visit to my home town once again, I met an old work colleague
who, after the subject of calculators came up in a conversation between a group of us, asked me if I
wanted a Curta that he had in his possession.
My response was immediate.and subsequently I was presented with a second Mark 2.
Life sometimes gives unexpected pleasures and this time I was reunited with ‘my’ Curta.
I recognize it by telltale scratches to the third slot of the keyboard, but it is as smooth as silk as I remember it.
The black finish is worn away under the clearing lever, the points of the knurled finish are also shiny as
are the tops of the keyboard sliders. The base outer ring where the Curta has rested on innumerable
desk tops, is also bare metal shiny. After all it has had to earn it’s living!
The instrument is of course priceless as for a period it was an essential
part of my daily life, now recalled each time I lift the black cylinder and, as it falls into its natural resting
place in my left hand. My little finger under the body, thumb and first finger gripping the knurled carriage and
as I turn the handle with my thumb and forefinger of my right hand my Curta comes alive and I get my fix.
Yes, it’s an addiction!
Thousand Oaks, California 91360
I have a Curta Calculator which I purchased new a long time ago. I am a mechanical engineer
and used my Curta at work. What a fantastic little machine! Mine is a Type I serial No. 21319
and is in a metal case. I also have the instruction manual as well. Both are in premo condition.
He loved this jewel and treated it like one of his children.
grandfather who had been a surveyor
around Vancouver, Canada for many years. I’m pleased to report that it is
very well used indeed, to the extent that the “units” setting is losing
it’s accuracy. The metal case is very battered, but it’s basically still
working very well. (Most people seem pleased their Curta has hardly or
never been used, but that seems a great shame to me.)
With metal container.
the registry is a virtual who’s who of North American rally navigators – Ralph Beckman,
Tom Grimshaw, John Bellefleur and Michel Poirier-Defoy. My Curta has a very noble
rally heritage. I has covered many tens of thousand of rally miles and won numerous
national championship and international rallies – and it still turns as smooth as silk.
worked in Work Study – ‘time and motion’ (Industrial Engineer in the states I think)
and thought it might be useful.( I never did use it!). It is in first class
condition in a plastic case (slightly scratched) with the reverse screw lid.
The handbook with it is – Computing Examples for the CURTA Calculating Machine –
Contina AG, VADUZ. Principality of Liechtenstein (Economic and customs union
years ago. I don’t know how he happened to get it, but he is always going to
auctions and rumage sales and picking up a lot of wierd things. I will have to
look into it. I had no idea these things had such a following. Of course I realized
how cool they were when I got it and that they were something quite special. But to
see them going for such a price, wow. I’m glad I’ve taken good care of it. I’m
putting it in a display case right when I get home.
1 – Type II
Purchased a Type II some time ago that Jack Christensen cleaned and made minor repairs to. Just purchased a Type I with
a broken rotator arm that will be off to Jack to overhaul just as soon as received. Both will have a trusted place in
my scientific instruments collection.
Acquired my third Curta through an unusual offering on eBay as the starting price was real low.
Using a bid sniping program, placed a bid in the last few seconds that won with only a few dollars in my bid to spare.
Really surprised that I won with my bid.
year teaching with UNO in the Congo in ’64!
We like it very much, at home, and it’s always a great piece of conversation;
It is in very good condition, having bought it more for the beauty, the elegance of it,
than to use it extensively. In metal case
‘Curta cup’ made from the base of a tin can. Used for rallying from about 1955-1970.
Purchased in Chicago.
Ballarat for $10 approx 10 years ago- -didn’t know what it was. As a
watchmaker I realised it had inherant beauty in its design and
manufacture. Only just did a web search and delighted to find the
details on operation. According to s/n probably manufactured August 1952.
[This piece is in the family since 1957. It has natural wear of use. The zero setting is not working and the missing ring.]
1 – Demonstration “cutout” model in the green case
2 – Original service manuals.
in San Diego and sold lots of Curtas to the U.S. Navy, to civil engineers and to
road rallyists. When the electronic calculators took over we couldn’t sell the Curtas
but they were just too incredible to get rid of. A good amount of them were stored in
a safe at the dealership for years. I think quite a few “disappeared”. My father and
I finally decided to take them home and keep them out of harms way. I took home two
and I think he has another Type 1. We still have some of the brochures, calculating
examples, mathematical handbooks, “CUR-TA-BLE” tables “for the curta equipped rallyist”
and even an original box and guaranty card. We also have two service manuals that were
issued by Curta, one even has a serial # on it (they were serious about keeping these secure).
The cutout model has the green padded case and somehow has retained all of the extra
parts. I don’t think every dealership got a cutout model, I assumed only those that
sold quite a few Curtas. Whenever I bring my Curtas out and “play” with them it really
brings back memories as I was in high school when I was working for my Grandfather before
his death. Just touching them is “magic”, they are so well made. It is sad to think of
the handheld electronic calculators we sold as their immediate replacement, with the
cheap LED displays and the poorly fitting plastic cases.
Thanks for having this site.
my boss. He was the
Technical Manager at a local Aircraft Company and I was a young Stress
Analyst. He bought the Curta in the early sixties just before he died, so
it has had much very little use. It appears to in mint condition.
and I also have the two instruction booklets. I intend to sell it and have
been offered £250 to £300 by a collector, but is this a reasonable offer?
Perhaps you could advise me on the market value.
I also have a friend who won a Curta (I think its a Type 2) in a
competition run by the Curta Company for an advertising slogan. His winning
entry was “Calculating people use Curtas”. He still has it although it is
damaged (His grand children got hold of it and dropped it).
to my Curta Type II SN#528118.
I was amazed when I first received mine from my father in law who received it while
working for Teleste Corp in Finland. I am eager to learn the functions and working
of the piece. Great site, lots of great information.
Supplied by (label affixed to case) “Automatic Business Machines Limited,
15 Cromwell Road, London SW7. Telephone:- KENsington 8877”
I remember purchasing this (can’t remember price!) in late 1960’s(?).
about 30 years ago. I had it in my shoe shine drawer since then. It’s great to
discover this web site.
calculators frorm Texas Instruments for my Curta in the mid 1970’s. I did not know him
personally but connected through my father in law who was a speciality metals expert
working with him on a consulting project.
** 2003 **
This was my dad’s Curta, which he may have purchased while working in the Arctic on
the DEW Line radar system in the 1950s. He worked at MIT Lincoln Laboratory and used
a variety of mechanical calculators and early computers. He was also a rallyist, so
the Curta was a natural for him.
from Competition Unlimited in Pinckney, MI. This was right at the time that the
electronic units were coming out. I don’t believe that he ever used it. It’s
apparently one of the last units made.
I have the original sales slip and registration certificate. I also have the original
box and with the manual and “Computing Examplses”. It is in the original plastic case.
It is part of my calculator collection. My web page is http://users.mo-net.com/racko.
My Curta have no scratches, no damages and the paint shows like a new.
But she is without the Case, Manual and Service Instructions. I have found it on a
great Webside: www.curta.de This is, what I called “BIG GREAT LUCK”
as I was usually the driver and a few months later fell in love – my
rallying days were over! It’s in “as new” condition in the original
bakelite case with instruction manual in English.
I never realized that these cute machines had a fan club. A few years ago
I saw one at the Ottawa Museum of Science and Technology – I believe it was a type I.
– still has the manual and plastic sealed tube. Other than the fact it is
still in good condition and working order, very little known about when he
bought or obtained the machine.
web : http://www.racetime.com.au
deal of unwanted equipment and trash originally belonging to the now-defunct Institute of Geophysics
was thrown away while presumably clearing out the rooms they had once occupied. Upon seeing a pile
of unwanted old and interesting equipment, I immediately went to see what I could pick out before it
all went away to become landfill somewhere. Among other much less interesting stuff, I picked up a
strange black device in a plastic case which resembled to me a cross between a photographic zoom lens
and a pepper grinder. It was only minutes later when by some great luck I also ran across the manual
in a different pile that I realized what I’d found.
It’s in what I’d call very nice condition and perfect working order, the metal keeping its unscratched
and attractive finish and the mechanism smoothly clicking away with the unmistakable feel of a precision
instrument. On the negative side, some scratches at the top of the plastic case and the fact that the
last person to put it away in its case before consigning it to the trash neglected to retract the (metal)
clearing lever before doing so, thus bending down and ultimately breaking off the outer ring part of the
lever. Enough remains to turn it without trouble though (it snapped on the ring, not at the base by the
rivet), and I was able to save the outer ring piece, so it may be able to be reattached by soldering or
some other method.
While I would like to keep my Curta as a beautiful and functional piece of history, I would also consider
selling it. I can provide pictures to anyone who is interested.
much, if at all. It came to me from my Mother’s side of the family. I am not
sure if it belonged to my Grandfather, who was a Pharmacist, or if it came
from my Mother’s Uncle Bill, who was a world traveler. I knew it was some
kind of calculator, but never could figure out the use. Today, just for fun I
did a search for “CURTA” and, Voila!, I came across ALL kinds of info. What a
great piece of machinery
I talked with my Mom (she was the source of my CURTA) and I got the REAL deal on it’s history:
She used to have a house in Winter Park, Fla., and often she went to flea
markets in the neighborhood. One day she & her neighbor were “flea marketing”
and she came across a table with all sorts of engineering “things”; the CURTA
was among them. She didn’t know what it was (neither did the owner), but she
thought it was interesting, so she gave the grand sum of ONE DOLLAR for it!!
That’s where my CURTA came from!
Thanks for providing such a great web site, and valuable info about these
who was a timber estimator based in Atlanta. He found it quite handy while
hiking through forests to estimate the amount and value of lumber contained
in a variety of trees spread over a large area. I work with computers every
day, but am still in awe of the genius and craftsmanship of this device!
except that the ring on top has been broken off, it comes with a black metal case, the Curta is
also black, any tips on the repair of the ring would be greatly appreciated.
retired, 5 minutes later and it would have been scrap! The container is
scratched but the unit looks as if it was never used. I think it spent most of
its life (made in 1955?) rattling around inside a desk draw. I don’t have an
original user manual for it and would love to get one.
for many years in the early days of road rallies. Most of the rallies he
competes in now allow the use of modern, computerized equipment.
Occasionally, I compete in road rallies (the Press On Regardless Rally, in
particular) that have a class for Vintage cars and equipment. Along with a
Halda odometer, the Curta fits the vintage equipment requirement perfectly.
I can recall when I was about 7 or 8 years old – in the mid 60s, ‘playing’
with the Curta at our kitchen table. This was well before the advent of the
electronic calculator. I know at that time I was fascinated by this little
black device and its crank. The precision and velvety smooth operation are
attributes that have me amazed to this day. My Curta still operates
flawlessly and in the hands of my capable navigators have brought us victory
more times than not in the Vintage class at POR.
More can be seen about the cars and events we compete in at
and is still in excellent condition and does not appear to be used much if at all.
It is still in its black bakerlite case and hase the original sales sticker on
[Ensdale & Sons] Adelaide Australia.
but it was way to cool to let go to the dump.It is in mint condition,(except the clearing pin
is gone).It has the metal case.It would have had a leather pouch and instructions,but not knowing
what i had i did not grab it from the garbage.OOPS
(55) (19) 3181-3106
2 – Type II
They are in excelent condictions and working pretty correctly. [Elas estao em excelentes condicoes e perfeito funcionamento]
Knows the Brazilian Calculator Museum: www.boselli.com.br/museu [Conheca o Museu da Calculadora: www.boselli.com.br/museu]
stuff such as the Thomas Rally Computer – an early electro-mechanical device that translated the forward motion
of the car into time (still have that also.)
The Curta sits beside my desk along side a Pentium IV – 2.5 GHz desktop computer – talk about the old and the new!
Never-the-less, I occasionally hand the little device to someone and ask them if they’d like to see one of
the very first handheld computers. Problem is, 90% of them can’t open the case…. End story! Only a Curta
owner would understand that little ploy! After a laugh or two, I get to show them one of the marvels of early computing.
After all these years, she (he) works perfectly and isn’t subject bugs, worms, trojans, and other inherent
failures of today’s modern computing. And, as all navigator’s know, I’m pretty damn good at manipulating
the machine with one hand. This puppy will probably take up residence in my coffin with the time comes…
It’s amazing how many times this little device has been considered superfluous junk and came within a inch
of being tossed in one move or another.
theses machines. His grand father gave to him on his death a Type I n°28037. He is looking for a
manual of use. Can you help ?
Thanks a lot for all the information you ve put on your web site ;o))
It helped us to understand what was that Wierd Machine ;o) This Curta was an incredible mechanical genius.
SN 2096 (THE 2nd OLDEST KNOWN)
1 – Type II
utterly useless it would be to own one. The whole story started
when I bought a printing adding machine for three euro on a
fleamarket. From there on it was a long, steep and slippery slope
down with another printing adder, a Schubert stepped drum machine
… and well, here I am, crossing the Rubicon, Curta in hand 🙂
It’s in nearly mint condition, with one previous owner, and hardly
ever used, having been stored in a drawer for the past forty or so
years.. I’m wondering, since all the rest of the machine is so
good, if the paint on the knurled rings has really worn off, or if
it came that way from the factory. The knurled piece of the handle
is all black, with no signs of wear. Just wondering.
After finding out about mechanical calculators, and discovering the Curta as the ultimate
development in that area (albeit saying that may be controversial) of course I had to have
one to add to my collection. I found the type II. Then, a couple of months later I had the
good fortune of re-locating type I nr. 2096, which I succeeded in buying as well. Lots of you
people will be apalled to learn that it was at one point during its life sold on an auction, without
anyone so much as noticing. Both machines are standing here on the upper shelf of the “calculator
cabinet” between a couple of pinwheel machines. The type II is especially useful in keeping track
of the scores of three players in a scrabble game, although one of the newer pinwheel machines is
more user-friendly in that respect, as they often have a reset lever for the setting register.
“Competition Limited” in Dearborn Michigan. I used it to run TSD rallys in the Detroit
area during the 70’s and then put it away. In 2002 I dug it out as my son and I started
competing in SCCA Touring Rallys. It is in pristine condition and works flawlessly.
Your website is great!
I started in 1954 and retired in 1994. The name of the company is VTN Eng. & Surveyors.
I purchased my curta in the late 50’s used it every day until the electric pocket calculators came out.
It is in a metal case, Paint is a little worn, but it works good.
I also have a leather case which I used in the field. I have a book of instructions,51 pages.
The name of the book is Computing Examples for the Curta Calculating Machine.
I have others merchanical calculators, more the 50.
it turned out that another engineer in the office had one to sell
I’m sorry to admit how much I paid but I love my curta. I had lunch with my friend today
and asked him to show me division but it has been some time since he has done that
in the mean time someone saw us and said he had another curta for sale
so maybe next week I’ll have another Curta at a much better price i hope
sale amongst some typical things one would see at such an event. I paid $40.00 Canadian for it
or about $28.00 US. I purchased if from the original owner. He is a retired engineer from the
Lever Brothers Co. He purchased it in 1954-57 and said that he had see an ad in a trade magazine
and suppose it would be a time saver for some math problems he was working on. This Type II came
with it’s metal case and the orginal Computing Examples book as well as the original Care and
operation guide. It seem to be in great shape, some small scratches on the lower right side of
the base plate. I am now going to spend the afternoon figuring this unit out.
I am 78 and you have my permission to put my brief story on the Curta Registry.
I have had my Curta II for over 30 years and still use it for fun and demonstration with natural trigonometric tables.
Perhaps an old surveyor friend somewhere might see it and contact me. There are so few of them still
alive and I don’t know where the few are.
Several of the Land Surveyors exams were given [in Blacksburg] years ago.
A graduate of VMI whose last name is Digiulian, a son of an old surveyor friend of mine in Springfield,
works for some large engineering firm there that does a lot of state highway design and that is about
all I know about Blacksburg. Excepting that Benjamin (Ben) Clark, long deceased, the second president
of the Virginia Assocation of Surveyors was a Survey instructor at VMI.
aviation. Nimble talking allowed my grandmother to part with it on a contingency basis. Now it’s in use
as a car rally instrument.
in a shop which was also the local agent for surveying and drafting equipment (Wild, Kern, Rotring, etc.)
It was (presumably) imported into Zambia as a surveyor’s tool for field calculations as its
operation is very similar to the horizontal carriage Facit(?) used extensively by land and cadastral surveyors.
It was not priced. There was no box & no instructions but apart from that the calculator was in “showroom”
condition and the nylon case almost unmarked.
It was standing in the corner of a display cabinet amongst other obsolescent equipment. The staff working
there did not know what it was so I also played dumb and started to negotiate so that I could add it to
my (then) collection of slide rules and mechanical calculators.
I think I paid 100 Kwacha which at that time was about $25 and is now about 2.5 cents (such is devaluation in Africa!)
Seattle gave the Curta to me when she was cleaning out her desk (she was
retiring). I didn’t know what it was at the time. The calculator has been
sitting on a shelf in my home office for several years, and I decided to do
some surfing on the Web to see if I could find out anything about it. That’s
how I discovered your collector’s web site and tons of info about it. Boy, was
I surprised. I don’t know how to calculate with it, but it appears to be good
working order. It is in the black metal case, which also is in good condition – no scratches.
The case does have one sticker on the outside which indicates it came from the
Calculator Equipment Co. in Seattle.
1 – Type II
The Type I is the curta he used in his 40 years of TSD rallying. I can still remember all of the
times we rallied together and the “scrunch scrunch” noise it would make as he calculated our way
around a course. It may be that this curta has won more SCCA regional and national events than
any other curta out there.
He delighted in giving me challenges to try to figure out such as S.E.I. photmeters and other early
metering devices. One day in I think about 1988 he showed up with this and dropped it on my desk. I
looked at it and did guess it was some sort of a mechanical calculator. The challenge was to see if
I could make it do anything. It became a display piece on my desk that my clients from time to time
would look at but, none knew what it was. I did figure out how to add, subtract and multiply. It’s
been in its plastic case all these years and outside of a minor rub mark under the clearance tab, does
not have a mark on it. Until tonight when I stumbled on this sight I still had no idea what it was or
anything about it. It’s been sitting in my kid’s hutch gather ing dust, guess I’ll move it t the
curio for safe keeping.
precision device fascinates me.
inherited a model II (with metal container and manuals in german and
english) in very good condition from my dad who probably bought it in
Europe. I’m not considering selling it, but I was interested in the
approximate value of it, partly out of curiosity’s sake, and partly
for insurance reasons.
1 – Type II
are interested in those beautiful machines, especially people like you and
Jan Meyer/Germany, who took so much time to present the Curta story in the
Both of my Curtas are in an excellent working condition.
The Curta II was the first one I bought for 605 Euros, it was
used for many years, but it’s still in a very good optical condition.
The Curta I I bought a few weeks later for 505 Euros. It almost looks new
and it seems as it wasn’t used a lot. The clearing lever was replaced by a
rebuilt one, but fully-functional.
Both are in their original cases, which are in a very good condition either.
Herzog, Fisher, Grayson & Wolfe
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
the curta cal. Company in Van Nuys. And was the exclusive U.S. distributor for many years. He is
now 95 years old and I am sure would be thrilled to know that there remains such interest in the
Curta. Of course I have my own, in perfect condition type II. What else may be around is unknown…
Registered Land Surveyor
of the late T. C. Collins, who was a renown Land Surveyor in Palm Beach
County, Florida. It’s truly a remarkable device and is in perfect
working order, complete with original box, black metal canister, manual,
instructions and warranty card.
5 – Type II
My web site: http://machineacalculer.free.fr
leg times as a rallymaster, since in TSD rallies I competed in a class for which the Curta was
“too sophisticated.” When I began doing stage rallies, the Curta wasn’t needed, but I sometimes
took it along for good luck. About 10 years ago I started rallying in Vintage class with Eric Jones
in his 1964 MGB. The Curta really gets a workout now!
If anyone reading this would like to sell their Curta, please contact me. Eric and I are always
trying to interest new people in vintage rallying and the required equipment (Curtas and Halda odometers)
are hard to find. We don’t pay collector prices and we resell them at zero profit, but be assured that
they get used as God intended.
of interest, although I had been intrigued by the ingenuity of the device.
I have a Curta in the original metal case. I used this in
my work over a number of years and it never gave any trouble
Congratulations on a fantastic website
useful it was for lots of other calculating. Used it a lot and it still purrs without complaint.
Am amazed at the universal appeal for their artistic and useful merits.
1 – Type II
North Miami, Fl 33181
I used for Rallies for about 4 years, it has been sitting in a drawer ever since it has a plastic case, I still have the instruction sheet as well as ” computing examples for the Curta.
It looks to be in excellent condition although I have just discovered that the #6 setting register will not move.
Surveyor) I obtained mine upon his death in 1965. It is complete with case, manual, and leather
carrying case. I used Curtas from about 1959 until HP introduced th HP 35. (I also am a Civil Engineer
and Land Surveyor). It is in excellant condition in appearance but doesn’t work correctly. It must
use the new math.
and used the Curta for navigation calculations. This ended (the
calculating… not the SCA events) when HP 35s came into pricing
realizations. It was purchased originally from a Saab driver`and since
has been (unfortunately) separated from its manual and leather case. It
does have the two-piece, twist-apart metal shell case. However it’s in
immaculate condition both cosmetically and functionally.
a Free Port Shop in one of Jamaica’s international airports, date 4-5-70, invoice
no. 49642, for US$121.00. Was used in a couple of car rallies (“Caracol” and “Cocodrilo”)
and then at the university in Santo Domingo until the first electronics calculators
started to arrive popularly at the country (around 72-73). It was a curiosity then
when I was 20 years old for its fast speed; today my kids—now in their twenties—can
not explain to themselves how Dad went thru university with such an slow machine! I
keep my like-new CURTA in its protective cartridge and original blue box with the
Manual, a leaflet on the 4 arithmetical rules, guarantee and purchasing invoice.
I still love and admire my CURTA. Someday my kids will understand!”
birthday. It’s in immaculate shape and I’ve been
excited about it. I found your site and saw the
photo of the three different models I. The base of
mine is different from that of the three shown (it’s
a model I). Just thought you’d be interested to know
that. It has the original manual and packing box as
manyfold from all the information to be found there.
Story; Was reading the book Advances in Digital Computing and I remembered
years ago playing on several Friden electromechanical calculators a friend
had in his basement. After doing some searches on the web to find some
photographs, I kept coming across the Curtas. It was immediately obvious
what a marvel the Curta is and I was hooked. It was only about 2 weeks after
that first day that I acquired my Curta via the web from the U.K. I probably
paid too much but I really love my new machine. The Curta is a very rare
blend of brilliant function and beautiful art. Mine is in excellent
condition and works as if it was brand new even though it was made in the
mid 1950’s. I am thinking of acquiring a Type I. The symmetry of having both
types somehow seems right.
Adelaide, South Australia
an architect. It came with a case and a Model I instruction booklet.
The Guarantee says it was delivered to a Mr P W Seymour on 14/10/55.
Thanks for a fantastic site.
Georgetown IN 47122
a manual, also in great condition. I found it at an antique shop but didn’t know exactly what it was.
On the bottom it says: System Curt Herzstark Made in Liechtenstein By Contina AG Mauren
80 Harrowby Road
Grantham NG31 9DS, UK
3 – Type II
No: 69125 Metal case – exceptional condition
No: 10300 Metal case – used condition
No: 536131 Plastic case – good condition
No: 543402 Plastic case – fair condition
No: 538236 Plastic case – good condition and with original cardboard Curta
box with serial number printed in a frame on the lid and brief description
on the bottom.
First saw a Curta in the Museum of the History of Science [many years ago –
ca 1985] in Oxford and wanted one; ran a small ad in the Oxford University
news magazine and bought the first from a Professor who had obtained it from
the English agents. He told me that there had never been an instruction book
made for them.
He was extremely proud of his Curta, and he like to show it to me at every opportunity.
I have had it sitting on my office shelf for these past 8 years with no idea that it
had become a collectible. My Curta came
with tree “manuals” or pieces of literature: “Curta The Universal Pocket Size Calculating
Machine System C. Herzstark,” Your Curta Calculator” (a 12″x25″ folder out explaining
its operation) and “Computing Examples for the Curta Calculating Machine.”
Ile de France (Paris area) France
garbage, while we were moving our office from Paris to Versailles.
by a co-worker. Being recently married and a father of a new baby, I couldn’t afford
to buy one, the price of which was about a weeks salary. Years later, I finally settled
for an HP 35 which also cost about a weeks salary, but could also handle trigonometric
functions and natural and base 10 logarithms.
During my career as an engineer I accumulated a drawer full of electronic calculators,
each more powerful and cheaper as time and technology progressed. However, I never lost
my fascination with the Curta, which for me represented the epitome of beauty and precision.
A few years ago, retired and children grown, I searched for and found my Type I for sale,
by a member of the Oughtred Society. Gulielmus Oughtred was the inventor of the slide rule
and the society is devoted to the study of the history, and to the collection of slide rules.
My CURTA is in immaculate condition and came with the original left hand threaded metal case.
The large O ring below the threads is still pliable, which is a testament to the quality of
the material used in its construction. According to the algorithm given in your website, it
would have been manufactured in 1958, about the time my lust for the device was first aroused.
Incidentally, I still have and can use my K & E Log Log Duplex Vector I bought as an undergraduate in 1953.
I finally bought one a few years ago (about $400).
It is in perfect condition and came with 2 copies of mint manuals.
Story: I worked at Burroughs in my home town, Caracas, Venezuelas in the early 60’s and a
salesman offered me one, I had it in my desk for several days but didn’t have the money to
pay for it and returned it, never have forgiven myself for this.
When I began studying the device, I was fascinated by its remarkable history, its
pre-semiconductor prescience, its brilliant ergonomic and functional mechanical design,
and its perfectionist engineering. And then manufactured in exotic Liechtenstein to boot!
What more could one ask. Mine is in perfect condition, gently used by a west-coast
engineer, hardly ever out of his house, and well-maintained, with some paint missing
from the metal case where a name label was removed.
I’m trying to get more histoy on the previous owners to compile a lineage.
Purchased from Louis Skelton in Long Beach, CA in Dec 2003.
It was just after the Scientific Amercian article so the units were popular.
There’s an orange sticker on inside bottom of the storage can:
FOR FAST SERVICE
CURTA Calculators of Canada, Ltd.
1871 Davenport Road
Toronto 9, Ontario
Telephone: Roger 6-6184
knowledge, works well. There is a # etched onto it (296303529), but this
seems to long to be a serial #. Can anyone tell me what this number means?
equipment and still in the metal container. Since the canister unscrews
counter clockwise the people running the estate sale had not opened it. I
did not really know what it was but figured for $3.00 I couldn’t go very
wrong. I was delighted when I purchased it and the salesman gave me the
original manual to go with it. My Curta has been well cared for and has no
scratches. I presume that the original owner did bend the clearing ring up
to make it fit in the canister without retracting it, but it works
sale at least 10+ years ago. After my parents split up I managed to retain it and it
has been kept on display since then on a book shelf in my house.
15th 1955 from a dealer named Juan Brettes, while my father was working for Talleres
de Erandio workshop, near Bilbao. Then the family was living in Algorta (my home town)
near Bilbao. I still have the invoice and the original user manual which is written
in a clear and parfect spanish. Tha machine is working perfectly and stored in its
original tin case.
** 2004 **
and how to calculate the age.
I have a Curta I, #44423, with case and manuals. The machine is like new, and works as
new, but the books are a bit dog-eared. This machine was used by the doctor in charge
of the Institute of Anatomy (Dr Hipsley from memory). This institution (long since disbanded)
was part of the Australian Department of Health, where I worked for many years as machines
officer. I “arranged” a trade-in of the Curta for a new electronic calculator in the mid
1970’s and then purchased it back from the dealer. I have several old calculators that I
acquired in this way, all in working order.
I’ve seen a Curta listed in antique catalogues in Australia, and I suspect the current
market price would be about A$400-500.
0198 Oslo, Norway
around 1920 i guess. He was in the process of dropping out of family and formal life. He
had just divorced, was burning a lot of bridges and gave away most of his posessions. I
remember I suspected that he was developing paranoid delusions.
I also got a Luger pistol he had used during WW2. I later returned the pistol, but kept the
Curta. I later regretted not doing it the other way around, as I got worried that he might
use the gun to kill himself. I have not had any contact with him for the last 15 years, as
he moved out of town and lived a secluded life. I suspect that he is now passed away, he
is no longer in the phone book.
The Curta is from the first years of type II production, with the domed case in art deco
style, and simple,engraved lettering. The O-ring is missing, but the foam inside is perfect.
The machine has little wear, but has my friend’s name hand-engraved with a steady hand.
I have repaired a broken ray on the star spring under the top, and the rivet on the zeroing
arm had to be reswaged. Otherwise the machine is in perfect health. I do not use it much,
but keep it both as a memory, and to marvel over its history and the perfection of an era long passed.
San Jose, CA 95120
when he died. He had been a gadgeteer who always acquired the latest fad item. I
believe he bought this while traveling through Liechtenstein. I recognized it as a
mechanical calculator but thought no more of it until the Scientific American article,
January 2004, appeared. That article was fascinating and has gotten me much more
interested in this device, which appears to be in perfect condition.
The unit is in excellent condition complete with its original box, but no instruction manual.
This was probably thrown out with other paperwork when the house was cleared out.
The calculation shows it to be manufactured in April 1950.
Congratulations for your very intresting web site.
decolletage manufacturing, as well as administrative calculations: production costs,
accounting… It replaced a Brunsviga tabulating machine and a very good Aristo slide rule.
It is still in a perfect state and I sometimes take it out to show my daughters how to use
it. Fascinating object… the smallest most complicated mechanical object ever industrially produced!
and used it only indoors. I was always afraid of anyone else even touching it. I purchased
it in the late 50s or early 60s for $165. I have the manual, computing examples, and the
mathematical handbook, all in good condition.
seems to work faultlessly. It came with the metal canister; the original bill
of sale (in German); the original certification statement (in German); a
pamphlet, “Rechenbeispiele for die Curta Rechemaschine” (in German); a
pamphlet, “Der Schlussel zu zedem Rechenproblem!” (in German); a
pamphlet, “Computing Examples for the Curta Calculating Machine” (in English); and
a pamphlet, “Your CURTA Calculator; the Four Arithmetical Rules” (in
I bought the unit in January 2004 from Willie Allan in Scotland. He
bought it in 1993 from Capt. David Larive, who was the original owner. Capt.
Larive bought it new on 5 February 1967 from Dorrbecker & Company, Bremen,
I am a retired electrical engineer, with specialty in microwave
technology. I worked with a VP of engineering in 1959-1963 who used a Curta for all
of his calculations. I always wanted to get one, but never did until after I
retired. I used Fridens, Marchands, the HP-35 (which I still have), and
the HP-41CX (which I still have) during my career.
I was on a field trip to a radar tracking ship in the South
Atlantic. In a conversation with a fellow engineer I happened
to mention how unsatisfactory I found the slide rule to be and
how nice it would be if I had a Curta calculator. He said he
had one which he would be willing to sell me. We struck a deal
and I’ve owned it ever since.
When electronic calculators came out years later, my Curta was
relegated to storage. Just as well, since storage has preserved
it in like-new condition (carrying case and all).
job was working for Marian Weber who owned a company called
MG Mitten in Pasadena, CA. They made car covers for sport cars
and also sold racing and rallying accessories. I remember reading
about how to use the Curta for TSD rallys in one of the books for
sale there. I was impressed partly because my dad had a precision
machine shop and I had some idea of the mechanical complexity of
the Curta. I’ve always appreciated well-made machines whether
they be cars, motorcycles, sewing machines or calculators, so I
was interested in acquiring a Curta, but they’ve always been a
bit out of my reach financially. Over the last 5 years or so
my wife and I have been going on TSD rallies and the thought of
using a Curta to do the calculations sparked my interest, but again
the price of the little machine was out of reach. Then, in late Jan.
2004, as I was returning from dropping off my sons at school I saw a
sign advertising an estate sale. I went home and picked up my wife
and we went back to check it out. After about 30 min. of browsing
around I noticed a fellow looking at a little booklet titled “Computing
Examples for the CURTA Calculating Machine”. My first thought was,
cool, if I can’t get a Curta at least I can get a little booklet
about a Curta and find out a little bit about it. When he was done
looking at it he put it back on a shelf I hadn’t noticed right next to
a black metal cylinder with the name “CURTA” emblazoned on the side. I
picked it up, opened it and removed an absolutely perfect type II. The
only thing barely noticeable was a very slight darkening of the paint
on the back of the machine where it had rested in the previous user’s palm.
Otherwise, it was flawless. The canister was also in perfect condition,
including the foam base and the foam pad in the top. I wondered if my
luck would last as I approached the lady running the sale and asked
“How much?”. When she replied “Fifty dollars” I had to try really hard
to act cool and not let out a whoop as I pulled out my check book and
paid her. The previous owner was, I believe, employed in the airline
design field. He had a number of books and magazines on avionics as well
as a number of manuals for one of the large airliners.
I am absolutely overjoyed with owning this great machine. I’ll
be using it with my wife for rallying and teaching both my sons how to
use it as well so they can take turns navigating for me. I’m hoping my
luck will carry on just long enough for me to find a type I for an affordable
price so that eventually I can hand one of each on to my sons.
Thanks for this great list. I’ve really enjoyed reading other people’s
experiences and insights about their Curtas.
I remember as a boy in the 1950’s seeing the ads for the Curta and wanting very much to buy
one. But the $125 price, which might be the equivalent of $2000 today, was prohibitive.
For my interest in calculation technology I settled for buying a Geniac.
I own a nonprogrammable 8 significant figure RPN Novus calculator, made by National
Semiconductor Corp, serial number 141220. I believe that this was perhaps the first
cheap handheld calculator in mass sales. I still use this calculator often and it works perfectly.
Bath BA2 8AW United Kingdom
find out how to operate it. Was galvanised into action by this month’s Scientific American.
Previous owner Christopher Bailey was an English electronics consultant and used his Curta
extensively in connection with his work. He died some 20 years ago and apparently specified
that I should have his Curta and his wife (my aunt Phyllis nee Pickard) duly passed it on to me.
I now have downloaded the operating manual and, being retired, will hopefully learn to operate
the machine. I hope that one of my grandchildren will be sufficiently interested to take it over one day.
I have to thank you for opening up the Curta world for me.
December 2003 (learned of his Curta from the curta.org bulletin board). Cleaned,
adjusted, and lubricated in January 2004 by Jack Christensen of Timewise.
Jack also fixed it: he replaced two numeral digits that had sheared off ten carry
pins, and corrected the ten carry lever alignment that caused the damage (he
reported that this took 9 assembly/disassembly cycles!). Plastic case. Nice machine!
and was going through some of my old stuff and found the CURTA Type I my Grandfather had
given me! I always treasured this as a boy growing up, and I regard it as a family hierloom.
Now I’m on a mission to learn as much as I can about these marvels of early technology! Thanks!
several trips to Vaduz throughout the 70’s.
used to make mentally his field calculations during the Spanish civil war 1936-39 to construct
nights a bridge that used to be cannoned during the day and that was essential to keep the
university district of Madrid communicated. In the late fifties he went to Liechtenstein and
saw there the CURTA and bought it but it was not used long since short afterwards the first
HP calculators began to be available. I would like our calculator to end in the Science
Museum of Madrid so that everybody can enjoy this small marvel.
It’s an early model I with serial no. #5856 which appears to date it as early September
1948, although the calculation appears to assume a straight line production model, which
I doubt is right for dating earlier machines, but may be a good approximation as production built up.
I would sell it for the right price.
It is in perfect working order and comes in its black plastic case.
There are obvious signs of use on the bottom of the unit, where there is a ring-shaped area where
the black paint has been worn off and the silver-coloured metal shows. This ring cuts through the
last digits of the serial number, which is still legible as 73545.
10-Type I above # 8000
2-Type I cut model
6-Type II black
10-Type II grey
2-Type II silver
1-Type II gold
1-Type II light blue
7-Type II cut model
total 43 pieces
Serial Number(s): oldest Type II # 500088
bought a Curta II on the Web from an American fellow. This machine did not work at all.
I felt myself cheated and did for the moment not know what to do. After a while I
was surfing around in the Internet and found the web site of Rick Furr. There I could
read how to disassemble your Curta. So I started to work on the thing and after a
closer look at the inside, I realised that it was missing four tens carry lever springs.
I had no idea where to get some. So I started to make these springs myself out 0.2mm
spring steel. After close to a days work I had these springs in the Curta and it worked
perfectly. After this I was completely fascinated about these Curta’s and I started to
buy some more. In the web site of Rick Furr I read that Hilti bought Contina in 1966.
In summer 2002 I was told by Hilti that there is a man named Gerhard Kleinecke who has
all the spare parts and tools to work on the Curta’s. I got in contact with him and told
him the story about the tens carry lever springs. He could not believe it until I showed
him the Curta. He was very surprised about my abilities and after a while we developed a
close friendship. In spring 2003 I was able to buy his complete stock of Curta’s, tools
and spare parts. Since then I have become a real CURTA SPECIALIST.
that was enough to put her on a quest. She found one for sale on the web by a chap who lives on an island
(as do we) in England. It was his grandfather’s. She presented it to me on 3/2/04 for our 20th Wedding
So I did not find it, I bought it at a time when it was still manufactured and clearly the machine to have
for an engineer on the move.
I used it quite a lot until the HP engineering calculators became affordable. I spent almost 7’000 BEF on
it, which at that time was the equivalent of 120 EUR and would now be the equivalent of between 1’000 and
2’000 EUR. My two reasons for preferring it over larger and cheaper machines were portablility and number of digits.
These days I only get it out to show it to youngsters who think everything should be done by software (they are
so unconscious of the fact that the electricity driving their high-tech computers is actually almost 100% from
good old mechanical turbines, fed with steam).
One thing which I could not find anywhere, except gleaning a detail on the poster, is the amazing construction
of the “commas”.
I have attached a few photos of one of them, taken out of my model II. A comma can be taken out by removing the
small bolt in the comma rim at the bottom of the machine. The first time I did this (several years ago), the
comma sprang out of the rim, because there is a little spring in it! Fortunately I found the very small parts
after a meticulous search, and could assemble it all again.
The whitish object in one of the photos is a grain of rice.
Another thing that nobody seems to have referred to: the superb choice of materials. For mechanisms like
this, it is of the highest importance that there is no welding friction anywhere. That means that parts that
rub over each other should preferably be made from different metals so their atoms do not weld together.
Oil is to be kept to a minimum, because dust will accumulate in it. Only a good choice of matching materials
will give longevity. This is another mechanical engineering wisdom that few people today understand.
Photos taken with a ProScope.
Elle est en parfait etat de fonctionnement et possede sa boite. Malheureusement il me manque le mode d’emploi.
This Machine Who Belonged to my father used to work for 1958-1970.
It is in perfect condition and Has Its box. Unfortunately I Lack the user manual.
at Farleys Infant Foods in Plymouth UK from 1950 until he retired in 1977. I was taught to use the Curta
at the age of 10 and never forgot! It still works perfectly. There is a note in the bottom of the case
that my father wrote probably in the 1970’s; A=52, A^8 (with the Curta) = 53,459,728,531,456 precisely!
A^8 (with electronic calculator)= 5.3459 * 10^13 approximately
Wales, United Kingdom
retired. He gave me this little machine, as a going away present, as I
recognised it for what it was, a truly gorgeous piece of workmanship. I
Now, as a Corporate Director, I keep it on my desk and use it as a
‘calming tool’. Most people in my office have had”a play” with it and
taken it home for extended periods, but it took the son of one of my
colleagues to think of looking Curta up on the internet! Never dawned
The only time I ever heard of Curta was via the BBC, when they reported
the sale of 39 Curta’s (I think 1997 ‘ish) being sold in Sothebys for
£400 each, to a single American Company. The BBC said that 40 were
manufactured, but that the whereabouts of the 40th was unknown. My then
partner was an outside broadcaster for the BBC and wondered if mine was
the missing 40th. Looking at your website, this is probably unlikely –
unless they reported on a single batch.
I have just downloaded the Curta Calculator operating instructions.
Over the years I have attempted to write a “How To” procedure myself,
but yours is much easier to understand.
For interest, details of my Curta are: Black metal case –
anticlockwise twist. Case paintwork showing wear on the lid.
Otherwise, machine in perfect working order. Front top just says CURTA.
Red sticker says: Automatic Business Machines Limited, 15 Cromwell
Road, London SW7. Telephone – KENsington 8877.
On the bottom of the Curta it say:
Made in Liechtenstein
(Custom Union with Switzerland)
by Contina Ltd Mauren
System Curt Herzstark.
Being the clever enthusiast you are, you could probably tell me ‘circa’,
when it was made!… That would be Jan 1958 -Rick-
in auto rallys in the 1960’s but never used it. This Curta, in its metal
case, has been stored in its original box for all these years essentially
untouched. It is therefore in mint condition.
I have been aware of Curtas for some years now but my interest really got a
shot from the recent Scientific American” article.
I must admit the whrrr and click of this fine mechanical instrument is as
pleasing as the results that it produces.
When he died in 1982, I picked this up at a garage sale.
1948, he passed away in 1952 and the machine was
untouched since then, it has the original metal case.
I am interested in selling it for a good price because
it is in a flawless condition.Regards.
my father’s technical drawing board. I grew up and learned to [make] architectural drawings using it.
Then came the big manual FACIT [calculators]. Later, the first electronic calculator. The CURTA went to my
father’s drawer until he died four years ago, and among 10 brothers and sisters I chose it [for myself].
For the time I spent in the glorious (to me) atmosphere of my father’s office. That’s it, it is in perfect
conditions and in the aluminum case .
Now, that I took this site, I want to know if you may tell me the year of the manufacture of my CURTA
and how much it may cost in the colector’s market.
on February. I’m very enthusiast for this wonderful machine and then, finally I’ve bought a Curta Model II from
London for 565 GBP. Maybe the price is high, but the Curta is in fantastic conditions and is an unique object.
elle a probablement ete utilisee par les etudiants de cet etablissement.
La calculatrice est en parfait etat avec un boitier metallique noir et un manuel d’exemples de calcul en francais.
This Machine Was offert to me During the transformation College (Business School) It was probably used by the students of this institution.
The calculator is in perfect condition with a black metal box and a manual calculation examples in French.
was so I sent a letter to Contina AG in Liectenstein but got no reply. It looked
interesting so I put it away. Have recently searched for “Curta” on the internet
and found this site. Unfortunately the Curta did not work. The handle turned both
clockwise and anti-clockwise (which I didn’t think it should do) and nothing
happened when it was turned. I emailed Hans-Rudolf (above) in Switzerland to see
if he could give me any advice. Hans asked me to send it to him to see if he could
fix it. He has done a fantastic job and I now have a fully working Curta. I can
highly recommend him for any repair work required to your Curta. I believe this
is a very early Type II, being made in January 1954, the first month of production.
It is possibly the oldest on the Registry page (Hans has 500088).
history, but I think it was bought for him as a gift during the 60’s, in Durban, South Africa. Still in perfect
condition in its metal case. I unfortunately don’t have the instruction manual.
stuff online to our department for charity. I saw this Curta in there, and
realized it was worth a lot. It included the instruction booklet from The
Curta Company in Van Nuys, California. (The clearing ring is broken,
though.) Only one other person researched it (in a department of 200
people!), and I won it on 04/26/2004 with a bid in the last minute of the
auction for $212. The other guy would probably have sold it, but I think
I’ll keep it. I have a few other historical calculators: a troncet, a
1970s red-LED calculator, an abacus. It will make a nice collection,
especially for a math guy like me.
One strange thing about mine: the case is like brushed metal on the
outside, kind of dirty-looking. Thick aluminum or something like that.
Does anyone else have one of these? The inside of the case is black metal
like most of the cases I’ve seen online. Can anyone tell me about this?
P.S. I wrote earlier about the “brushed-metal” case on my Curta. As I look
at it more and more, the paint appears to have been deliberately taken off
of the entire case at some point, probably with something like a Dremel
tool with a sander attachment. I have no idea why!
1 – Type II
on metal case and signs of wear on the dealer label inside the case.
Had a type II many years ago but sold Ir. when the HP35 came out.
Regretted it ever since.
When my colleague, Leo Burge (ex wartime RAF aircrew) retired as an
industrial engineer, he cleared his desk drawer and proudly gave his Curta
to someone younger who would appreciate it. I had used Plus adders (0-5
only) elsewhere, but the specialists would never let us trainees use their
Comptometers or Marchants (the Marchants were on thick felt pads for noise,
so when the (same sized) electronic calculators arrived they overheated
because the felt was by then traditional underneath). Curtas were the
ultimate aspiration for senior accountants to make their point in meetings:
I beat them all by learning to touchtype Cobol on a hand cardpunch instead,
but was ultimately delighted to have my very own Curta too, albeit after
pocket calculators had arrived. This one has been gently used although, or
perhaps because, the metal clearing ring has one clean break near the root,
but is not much distorted. Anyone tried silver solder? (what’s the metal?)
Epoxy with reinforcement of some kind? Not for sale, of course, it’s an
found it and the operation manual that came with it. It used to have a foam type base but that deteriorated
and fell off a long time ago. Other than that, it is good shape, with it’s canister and all.
I believe she used it to calculate pay role for my fathers machine shop business, or it was just a fancy
gift at the time. We lived in Orange County California at that time.
physics major until calculators took over have original box manual sales receipt. It is still in pristine condition.
to find out how brilliant the machine is.
The condition is weary fine. Only the clearing lever is a little deform.
and no one knew the combination so they cracked it open. The condition my uncle found it some more than 25
years ago is the same as today. From the serial # I believe it was manufactured in January 1948. It is in a
very fine condition and works as it should.
My uncle gave it to me just recently. He found it some 25 years ago when they cracked open an old safe that
used to belong to a US Oil Company in Tampico. The safe was being audited but all they found was an old US
flag some documents and the Curta. The serial number is 3602 so it was manufactures around January 1948.
It is in a very fine condition and works like it did in 1948.
many years. My father, Otto Kallir (a native of Vienna, as am I), intended to study engineering in the years
prior to World War I. Discouraged by the rampant antisemitism at the Technical University, he switched his
field of interest, became an art historian, owner of the Neue Galerie in Vienna, and eventually the founder
of Galerie St. Etienne in New York City. However he retained his love of mathematics and of “gadgets,” as he
called them. On his first visit to Europe after World War II he stopped in Liechtenstein (he was also an avid
stamp collector) and purchased one, or perhaps two Curtas.
The Curta he gave me is in perfect condition: Type I No. 56790. I’ve used it often, along with a Japanese
abacus. I decided not to buy an electronic calculator until the price had come down to below $100! Then
I got my first clunky Texas Instruments calculator. I lost the Curta instruction booklet, so it was helpful
to print the instructions from the Web site.
office as much of our work consisted of endless number-crunching.
The Curtas were replaced circa 1967 when the first inexpensive electronic calculators came on the market,
but I was so attached to mine that I have kept it for nearly 40 years.
Other than the ‘O’ ring being kaput, it still works as well as it did nearly 40 years ago.
The only failure I ever heard of was with one of my colleagues who was a demented biscuit junkie – over
a year or more the crumbs that he dropped into the machine eventually choked it to death.
Even now, I am still amazed at the simplicity, elegance and sophistication of it, not to mention its
The most interesting thing however that I have discovered is that the machine still has such a following.
Purchased new in the early 1970’s from a stationery store in Chicago. The finger loop is cracked but complete.
I was a newly minted architect earning minimal pay when I saw the Curta in a store in Chicago.
Electronic handheld calculators were just coming out and the firm I worked for had arranged a
deal with TI for employees to purchase their early calculator – add, subtract, multiply, divide
and percent, for $120, an enormous sum for someone on my salary. The store was selling the
machine for $50, because of the new technology I reasoned. $50 was still a lot of money and
it took a week for me to decide, but I went back and bought it. My friends kidded me by saying
that I had found the energy free answer and now wouldn’t have to carry around a car battery to do my computations.
I used it for a year and then had to opt for an electronic handheld that calculated dimension conversions.
I’ve held on to the Curta all this time.
I wouldn’t have even thought about this until it was mentioned in William Gibson’s latest book “Pattern Recognition”.
Serial Number(s): 553929
This must be a late model, because the condition is still perfect. I
got it while I was in high school during the first half of the
seventies. At that time, I was heavily involved in photography. We
lived in Columbus, GA, near Ft. Benning. My father and I spent lots of
time at two local pawn shops looking for cheap camera equipment that was
usually bought by service men overseas or at PX, then pawned for cash.
One of the owners had this thing in a case and told me I could have it
if I could figure it out. I showed him some basic math calculations and
got a CURTA Type II in perfect condition for free.
My friend, Mike Galos, prominent in Lotus car circles, now retired from
Microsoft, told me that it was used in car rallying and showed me an ad
in Road & Track magazine where they were selling for something like USD
$350 for the Type I and $450 for the Type II.
I finally got a manual a few years ago while purchasing some slide rules
from Gemmary. I keep it in my office with my fountain pens and slide
rules to show folks that the newest technology isn’t necessarily the
Type II No. 524263 [METAL CASE]
Type II No. 543335 [PLASTIC CASE]
I also have an aquamarine (green), black and white brochure entitled
“Your Curta Calculatator” and A 4″ by 6″ booklet with a light mustard yellow cover entitled
“Computing exercises for the CURTA Calculating machine. [cover printed in red ink]
I purchased a Type I Curta in 1963 for use as a Navigation Rally
Time/distance calculator. I soon after bought the first of my Type II
Curtas and later the second Type II. Somewhere along the way I sold
off the Type I.
I used my Curtas to become Canadian National Rally Champion
(Navigator) and Ontario Regional Rally Champion (navigator) many times
during the mid to late 1960s and early 1970s. My Curtas accompanied me
on many competitions in the United States and as far as The Republic
of South Africa. I also competed in the Shell 4000 cross Canada Car
Rally four times and finished 8th, 7th, 3rd and 4th in 1964, 1966,
1967 and 1968. The last two years for Nissan Motor Company (Japan) in
Datsuns. (as an aside we was robbed of second place in 1967 due to a
change by Jim Gunn toi the results. When we left final scrutineering
in Montreal we were in second place only to arrive at the Olympic
Stadium to find out we had been penalized for a frayed alternator seal
which all of the scrutineers had agreed was frayed when my driver
rolled the call on the second last day and not because the part had
been changed. Que sera, sera)
Both of my Curtas are well worn, marked and scuffed from much use, but
I will not part with them. Each time I look at them they cause me
recall many, many good times and friends.
inherited a Curta from my grandfather almost 40 years ago and the serial
number is 3440.
I guess per description it corresponds to first set of calculators.
My Grandfather a Civil Engineer (concrete specialist) used it as to replace
his slide calculator. Early 1940’s??
He was responsible for the construction of underground in Argentina as well
as the construction of the Buenos Aires Obelisk.
The company he worked for and was General Manager was Grun u. Bilfinger for
The machine has a metal case seems to be aluminum and is in best conditions.
mine to your list.
My father has had his longer than I have been around and so I remeber it as always
being around the house. He recently passed it down to me and so I wanted to include
it in your registry.
My father recently passed this Type II down to me. He was a manager at an
electronics component manufacturer in the 1950s (among many other careers). They
were designing electronic filters and doing a lot of resonance calculations.
He purchased about a half dozen of these Type IIs and gave them to his engineers,
confiscating their slide rules at the same time. He said there was some grumbling
at first, but then he started seeing design specifications taken out many decimal
places, critical when analyizing sharply peaking curves. The serial number places
it shortly before I was born so we are about the same age. I just sort of remember
it always being around. Anybody remember the Freeden carraige calculating machines?
My dad claims he could handly defeat one with his trusty Curta. As electronic
calculators came on I remeber the Curta soldeiring on with my mom balancing the
check book with it. This unit has seen many years of service and barely looks used.
It has never needed cleaning or servicing of any kind. My dad credits a lot of that
to the very secure can it lives in. I am a project engineer for Raytheon Aircraft
(Beechcraft) and took it into work the other day to show the sparkies an example of
the time when mechanical engineers ruled the earth! Few knew about them and they were
amazed. I enjoy reading these stories. The places these wonderful machines have been
and the work they have done!!
info you know about the Curta” Complete in its carry case. Zero ring either broken
off or removed for some reason. Discovered in a collection of unused surveying
to Europe in 1960 or 1950 I really don’t know. This Curta was the only one in my city.
He was a civil engineer
World War II newspaper articles about the LAST TRAIN FROM BERLIN Jan, 11 1942.
I have had the Curta for 35 years not knowing really what it was. A friend of
my son’s found it in a book by William Gibson. From that we were able to find
it on the web. I have no manual for the Curta. The black case is in good shape,
just missing the top center emblem on the cap. The Curta itself is in perfect shape.
passed on to him from his Father.
My Grandfather was a chemical engineer sometime during and after WWII.
Using a known formula, the serial number brakes this item to be dated – April 1948.
Australia on 6/2001 for $470. I came with only the hard shell which only showed
evidence of a label but was otherwise intact. When I received the curta I was
sadly surprised to find that it didn’t work correctly. I obtained a copy of the
repair manual in German (which I don’t read, but the diagrams were all I needed).
As a home machinist I was able to fully repair the unit and keep all the original
parts intact. So it now is fully working.
Even repairing such a machine really lets you appreciate what Curt had accomplished.
– he could never figure it out, so I ended up using it for years. I babied it and to
this day it is in perfect condition.
works well. I worked for a very large Scietific
Research facility for many years and when one of the old scientists retired I
helped him sort through his stuff. He was going to throw the CURTA out but
seeing I was fascinated with it he asked me if I would like it. Its been in my
posession ever since. (Over 20 yrs) I’ve never had a manual for it and only
logged onto this site yesterday. Magic stuff!
good condition. It would be excellent but for a blemish where it looks like
something was glued to the side.
My dad gave it to me and I’m not sure where he got it from.
It is in very good
condition, and was just repaired (10/04) by Jack Christensen, who replaced a
bushing that kept the drive shaft from lifting into substraction position.
The machine is currently on long-term loan to Bob Tredwell
Wednesfield, Wolverhampton, West Midlands,
WV11 3RQ United Kingdom
Model # 505068 in immaculate condition complete with water proof (left hand thread)
case, original handbook, (as shown on your site)1 basic example fold out sheet and
an original Computing Examples for the Curta calculating Machine booklet.
Discovered my Curta in my bosses junk draw at work one day. I asked him what it
was and he just said “Oh just some old calculating thing from way back” I asked
him if I could borrow it as it amazed me at the precision in its manufacture (Me
being an engineer). Few weeks later I asked him what he was going to do with it.
He just said “keep it if you want, its no use to me”.
Left hand thread can, handbook from Cortina, simple example fold out sheet and
Buff coloured in depth example manual. I was stunned as to the calculations a
mechanical device could achieve. Never realised it had a following till I
discovered this site.
1 – Type II
France (10 years ago ; 15$)
Type II : nr 553780 : After a “wanted” ad (15 years ago ;50$)
There is a picture at : http://users.skynet.be/Fredscalculators/main.htm
One day an admin employee passed my open office door having a black cylinder in his
hands. I stopped him and as an interested engineer in a trading company I asked him
about this black cigar. He opened it and I saw the first time in my life the
incredible CURTA, not knowing that this calculator was standard equipment of our
auditors since the early 50’s, but now obsolete because of the electronic progress.
I asked him, what he intended to do with the calculator. “I am going to scrap it as
I have been instructed to do that. They all got electronic calculators now” was his
reply. “I have a scrapyard right here in my office” I replied absolutely cool. He
understood, came in my office, closed the door and put the black cylinder on my
desk. I opened a drawer and the CURTA was “scrapped”.
home, I supplied him to give it to me, because I like ancient and beautiful technology.
Kindly, he offered me this calculator that we didn’t know anything about. So, I
looked after information on Internet and found the fantastic Rick Furr’s web site.
I discovered the Curta universe! And I’ve seen how many collectors and Curta’s fanatics
are chatting round the world. And I’ve liked…. I’ve loved…. Unfortunately, my Curta
needed to be repaired. Thanks to Jack Christensen, I’ve contacted Hans-Rudolf Roshard
(curtaservice.ch), a charming Swiss man who succeeded to repair my Curta perfectly.
Honestly, Hans is a honor to Swiss quality; my Curta is now as new, 100 % operating!
I sincerely recommend Hans for any European person who needs to repair his Curta.
The quality of his performance is justified (Before him, I’ve asked some other
specialists in clock-making in my country who gave up quickly!).
So, I’ve got now a complete vision of calculation with an old wooden slide rule,
a very nice Japanese abacus and…. a mechanical calculator! It’s wonderful to explain
to pupils who only know computers and electronic machines what is the genius basis
of what looks apparently easy to their eyes.
a black plastic case.It works perfectly.
I have received it from a friend.I have not the operating manual.
TSD rallies. Ran many SCCA and local events using it.. Then entered several Pro
Rallies including the Big Bend Bash in Texas and the Press On Regardless in Michigan.
a three straight nights event iin our MGB with 11 inches of ground clearance from
Huntsville, AL !!
Boy those were the fun days! I recently purchased Rick’s Curta Type I Poster
and now have it framed and hanging in my Study. Great Picture of this wonderful
calculator. And, Yes, I’m searching for a Type I ie I in good condition to be
a mate to my Type II. Anyone out there interrested? Please contact me at the
Thanks again Rick for a great site for us retired but appreciative Curta owners.
Jack Christensen clean and repair it and now it’s right as rain.
I was probably 12 or so, in 1966. I used to watch him sit and crank out values in
his chair as he watched televison. He passed away recently and I found the
calculator in the basement of his home. He also had one of the early Hewlett
Packard engineering calculators, I should have grabbed it when I had the chance,
not sure where it is. If you want this Curta and can make a reasonable offer, it
could be yours. Thanks
Up until a couple of minutes ago I wasn’t sure what a Curta really was.
Mine (Type II No. 518400) has been passed to me from my father who I think brought it
back from Germany just after the Second World War.
metal case. Complete manual an a proof of purchase certificate dated 12-12-1952
in its original box. I did not known about this electronic page. Roman Bacalao-Romer
** 2005 **
and a mechanical calculator
buf. He also had a few Marchants and a Cockshead Mercedes as well.
Used the Curta daily in the late fifties. He left it to my dad, who
left it to me.
recently purchased it to my great satisfaction on the Internet for a hefty sum !!!
who had two of them along with his slide rules. The extensive background that I have to these
machines has all been obtained from the web. Mine is cased but has no manual. It is in superb
working order and is unmarked in any way.
(519) 376-0552 (F)
and north of Kapuskasing, Ontario (Iron) in the 1950’s. When we started surveying these claims
we had to work out the angles using logarithms (great fun in the mosquito filled bush).
When we got the Curtas we thought we were in heaven. We surveyed many hundreds of claims under
extremely difficult conditions, had to fly into most locations with crews of 10 and live in tents,
summer and winter, and the little Curtas were lifesavers.
My Curta is in absolutely mint condition – not a mark or sign of wear except for slight wear on the ribs of the case.
I am a retired Ontario Land Surveyor (and Civil Engineer). My brother, who was not an O.L.S.
at the time but became one later, has a Type II Curta, although I don’t know the condition or SN.
We had a third (Type 1} but it got lost sometime during the last 50 or so years.
Thanks for bringing all this information to us.
Alex (Sandy) Mackay P.Eng., O.L.S. (Retired)
I found your page (not hard 😉 )
I tried calculating the manufactuer date but it doesnt quite work out.
It is a Curta 1 (according to the instruction book) and its serial number is 501471.
I have no idea about much of its provinance, except that it belonged to my grandfather,
who was a tool maker at an engineering firm, and it was a gift from Contina for some work they did for them.
educated at the LA Art Center, subsequently employed by Ford, GM, Ben Pearson (archery equipment),
Hydro-Rain (sprinkler valves), and several other companies, all of whom did everything in
their power to keep him from leaving–he was always looking for new experiences and new challenges.
His career spanned 45 years, plus wartime involvement (he passed away in 2000). Richard purchased
the Curta new in the 1960’s–he needed a compact unit because he spent lots of study time on
the production line. Richard gave the machine to me in about 1988 and it remains one of my
most prized possessions. It is in pristine condition, with case, instruction folder, and
example problem manual equally pristine. I had no idea there was such a enthusiast organization
(though I should have suspected as much just from the sheer coolness of the machine) until I checked
it out on the net last week. Thanks
it for $456.00. As was advertised, the clearing ring (plastic) was broken off. (I plan to
contact Jack Christensen to talk about getting the ring replaced and getting the unit cleaned.)
Otherwise the unit is in very good condition. I find the design, construction and history of
the Curta very fascinating and I am having a blast learning to use it and showing it to some
of my engineering colleagues. Last, but not least, I enjoy the wealth of information that your
website provides – keep up the good work! Also, I purchased the Curta poster and am totally
pleased with that wonderful “work of art and technical depiction” as well! Thank you very much.
previously owned by member Jack Chidester who sold it to me in 2004.
1 – Type II
Serial Number : 10949
Story : (french) : don au musee par Paul COMBIER, ex-geometre-expert a AMERIEU-EN-BUGEY (Ain) France
(english) : gift to the museum by Paul COMBIER, past land-surveyor expert in AMBERIEU-EN-BUGEY (Ain) France
CURTA type II
Serial Number :520344
Story : (french) : don au musee par Pierre FADY, ex-geometre-expert a LA-TOUR-DU-PIN (Isere) France, vendue par INNOVA
concessionnaire exclusif 10, rue des Ours PARIS France.
(english) : gift to the museum by Pierre FADY, past land-surveyor expert in LA-TOUR-DU-PIN (Isère) France, sold one by
exclusive concessionnary INNOVA 10, rue des Ours PARIS France
This calculator was very used by land-surveyors in France, in the years 1950-60.
president of GEOMUSEE
The Friends of the Museum of the Land-Surveyors Experts of the Region Rhone-Alpes (France)
1 – Type I
I by a couple of Curtas in the early 1990’s. I did, and I have loved them ever since.
a strange shaped calculator in Hokkaido, Japan about 25 years ago, then I did not know anything
about Curta. Unfortunately I missed it. After learning more about Culta, I was fascinated by
it and thus determined to have it someday, somewhere.
In 2000 I visited Tucson, AZ on business and finally I find long searching master piece.
It was quite expensive but I made no hesitation to get it.
It is a perfect mechanical condition in black plastic container and also perfectly fit my hand.
I often enjoy calculating using it. I also enjoy smooth, even confortable sound and movement of Culta in operation.
I am also fascinated by this website. It is excellent.
I bought mine on April 7.1970. As a surveying apprentice it was getting futile to do survey calcs
longhand in the field and classroom. About six months later the surveying classroom got real quiet
as the electronic calculator became popular. I have the booklets and the box plus the receipt.
The leather field case looks almost new. Unlike the electronic calculators the Curta will never
suffer the fate of having batteries that were left in it, leak and corrode the insides. Kind of
nice to open up a container and find it just as it were left.
Just like never forgetting how to ride a bicycle, the Curta just falls into your left hand and
your index finger and thumb get ready to lift the bezel as the right hand cranks in the numbers.
A better quality mechanical device would be hard to find at any price.
services manager for British Steel in Sheffield from the mid 1950s and had this when he retired in 1979.
The calculator has the instruction manual and is complete with the container tightening ring
and both top and base rubber pads. It has a left had thread lid and is labelled with the supplier ?
Automatic Business Machines (abm) Limited15 Cromwell Road London.
a civil engineer for the US
Bureau of Reclamation (US Department of the Interior). According to the formula, this calculator
was manufactured in late February of 1961. Assuming he purchased it soon after, it would have
traveled with him from site to site across the American southwest as he surveyed power lines,
to Afghanistan in the late 1960s when he helped engineer an irrigation project, and to Zaire
(now once again Congo) in the mid 1970s when he worked on the Inga-Shaba project (hydroelectric
dams and power lines). The calculator has seen some wear: the operating handle seems to be
bent but some of the pictures of other Curtas also show this, so what I thought was damage may
not be. The ring on the clearing lever is broken off, too, but that doesn’t seem to interfere
with its operation. He must have taken very good care of it: the mechanism is still smooth and –
dare I say it – eminently satisfying.
electronic company. One of my colleague’s had a Curta. He didn’t seem to use but as we
had adjacent desks and by far my senior ( In age and attitude ) on a quite moment he would
pass me the Curta and say “Get this working clever clogs ” .
He gave me no clues other than you have to twiddle things and became an ongoing project in
thouse spare moments ! Eventully I could perform basic calculations and that was the last
I saw of it for many years.
Tragiclly at about normal retirement age he was diagnosed as being terminally ill and on
his retirement he walked up to me, put his hand in his pocket and took out the Curta and
said “I would like you to have this”
My Curta is in absolute mint condition as is the plastic case. The only thing missing
is the box and the instructions. I would not be supprised if he threw the instructionns
away in case I was tempted to cheat ! On recollection we did have a few waste bin fires.
It was only today I thought of looking on the web to see if there was any information
about this bit of ancient mechanical craftmanship. The only one I had ever heard of
before was in a magazine “The engineer ” and it was the prise for a competition.
I now intend to endenvour to master this piece of engineering with the help of your web site.
Every time I see my Curta I think of my colleague as a friend who is sadly missed.
A very interesting artical,
re note 15a . I think the translation to English is known as KNURLING. It is done on a
lathe by the use of hard steel wheels which are forced onto the work piece and is very fast,
perhaps only taking 5 to 10 seconds to complete. It can be diamond or straight , xxxxxx ,————,
depending on th wheels used, often found on screw heads that are tightened only by hand.
PS, I have a Curta type 1 ser No 76175 and looks though it has never been out of its case !
had no real idea how to operate it. In Pre -Internet days, information was hard to come by.
The unit is in excellent condition and is cased in a metal cylinder with t left hand thread
( I assume to make it easier to open with the left hand only) The case shows signs of age
and use, but has done its job of protecting the CURTA splendidly.
estate sale items near McCart St. and Seminary Dr. in south Fort Worth. I didn’t know
what it was and neither did they but it looked pretty cool. I talked them into selling
it for $20. I also bought a ‘Last Whole Earth Catalog’ at the same time. Imagine my
surprise to find a listing for Curta calculators on page 320. So now I knew what it
was but I didn’t have any instructions for it. Adding, multiplying and subtracting
were easy to figure out. I didn’t discover division until the day I was teaching my
little brother how long division works. After explaining it on paper, I got out my
Curta and showed him how to do it on the Curta. We both learned that day. I’ve also
used my Curta during a presentation on ‘Tool Makers and Tool Users’. The Curta is quite
effective when talking about how tool makers since the 1900s have empowered our society.
The calculator is in fair condition and the metal case looks like it took all the abuse.
Lots of dents and scratches. I think whoever owned it before me used it regularly. The
only problem I’ve had with it is the anti reverse ratchet on the bottom got stuck open.
I noticed the clicking noise was missing and before any damage occurred I cleaned it up.
regular basis until the first “SUMLOCK COMPTOMETER” – electronic
calculator came in at a cost of £475.00 in the 1970’s.
The CURTA was serviced every six months by Automatic Business Machines Ltd of London from
whom it was purchased and as such the quality of the calculator was
maintained, thus being in excellent condition today.
It is stored in its original black steel case with left-hand threaded cap with the original
“Instructions for use” booklet.
My current interest stems from an article on antique calculators my wife was reading in a
recent womens magazine which referred to someone who was “about to throw his CURTA calculator
away until whilst at an antiques fair he was told it could be worth around £600.”
I have always been intrigued by its design and intricacy which has led me to preserve it in its pristine condition.
Have used it a lot before the advent of the electronic calculators.
It is still in perfect working order !!!
I’ve proudly kept it for many years-it works perfectly-and plan on passing it on to my grandson.
Just a beautiful piece of machinery.
according to your formula. The calculator is in mint condition, it was
given to me by my father a decade or more ago.
The case opens clockwise, i.e. it has a left-hand thread. The brown foam
pad in the bottom of the case has deteriorated, it has cracked into
several pieces that crumble to dust if handled. Otherwise, the case is
I also have an instruction booklet in German.
On page 2, there is printed “Zu CURTA Nr.” and then, written in blue
ink, “Type I; 29.26/=” This is probably not a serial number, maybe it
means this manual is for a range of serial numbers?
In addition, the Finnish importer Oy Konema Ab (stamped on the back
cover) has written, in black ink, on the same page:
Oy Konema Ab
On the last page, there is a little “footnote” 55 56 02d, which probably
means the manual was printed or distributed in 1955-56?
I just love the sound of the fine mechanics while cranking the Curta. I
remember that I was allowed to play with it as a kid, but only when I
was sick and in bed. A little consolation and a respite from the boredom
of having the flu!
We had a chemist who had a type 11 he used in his work. I saw the machine and had to have one.
I purchased mine new and have used it very little so it’s just like new. My metal case is average
as the black finish is worn in places.I still like to try to work out math problems my curta.
I would like to locate a metal case in like new condition and finish.
classes. We had to be accurate to four places and the slide rule wouldn’t do it. It saved me tons of
time and I was the envy of the class. I believe I paid about $160 for the II. A semester’s tuition was $163!
I looked for and bought my Curta in Breman Germany, in 1963, while visiting there on a U.S. Navy port call.
a trip to ferry an aircraft to the Shah of Iran. He was an early gadget freak who had seen them used in auto
rallies and thought it would be great to replace his circular slide rule E6B for flight planning as well as
bookkeeping and I took it to school for a show and tell math class in grade school. He loaned it to me several
times later in the 60s when I started running road rallies and he continued to use it well into the mid 70s.
I refound it in 2001 when my mother died and she had put it away in a box of some of my fathers “toys” as
she had called them and have had it sitting in my office ever since. My interest to learn more about the
Curta came when my neighbor (the space shuttle technician) read Cliff Stoll’s article in Readers Digest and
started telling me about the Curta until I stopped him and took him to my office to see mine.
1 – Type I
for your service to all the CURTA owners and collectors.
I started to learn about this wonderful piece of equipment as I started rallying with vintage cars, since then
I was lucky enough to find one of each type in very good shape at a reasonable price.
I now intend to endeavour to master this piece of engineering with the help of your web site.
p.s.: The poster arrived yesterday, it is wonderful.
company in Liechtenstein (Vaduz) bought out Contina. Hilti offered
their employees a chance to buy the remaining stock. (Note from the
serial #, this one was made in August 1969. It was said at the time
that Hilti bought out Contina for its workers as, at the time, labor
was in short supply in Liechtenstein.
1201 N. Tioga St.
Ithaca, NY 14850
with some engineering co-workers
after they got all excited when they found out I have one.
I have a fully-functional CUTRA 2 (Serial # 502818). Near as I can tell from the website, it was made
in September 1954? It is a little worn from use, but is otherwise in great condition. It has a
container with a rounded dome, not like the beveled versions that I have seen on the website. And
the container sits snuggly into its own leather holster that has slots for attaching to a person’s belt.
The CURTA was left to me by my father who used it in the 1960-70’s to do outdoor survey calculations.
He was a civil engineer who, though he worked extensively with 1960 computer technology (remember IBM
punch cards?), loved this little computing marvel! He died and left the CURTA to me in 1977. I was 17
at the time and while I knew how to operate it, I had little appreciation for what a unique machine it really is!
I’m not interested in selling it, but I had no idea there was a “CURTA-lover’s society” out there.
The website was a real revelation.
Here are my details below. Thanks.
My curta has serial number = 4744 which seems to suggest a date of 1949
or maybe 1950. It belonged to my grandfather. I don’t know how much he used it but it looks hardly
used to me. It is in excellent condition and perfect working order. It has a black metal container
but no instructions. I’ve owned it for years and always thought it was a beautiful piece of
equipment. I had no idea, until I checked on the web recently and found this site, that there are
so many Curta enthusiasts out there.
Reader’s Digest, July, 2005 and we did a little web surfing.
I have two Curtas left of the eight that I purchased from an auction at Arizona Department of
Transportation in 1978 for $20.00. I figured out what they were very quickly because I had used a
Monroe mechanical calculator at a previous job and knew the theory behind the multiple column
calculator. I sold 4 of them for more than I paid for all 8 and gave 2 away to family. In all the
years that I have had them, I have only found one person who knew what it was. He was a civil
engineer and considerably older than me and had started as a surveyor.
One is serial number 507358 and is in very good condition with the metal left hand thread case and
leather carry case with shoulder strap. Both the metal case and leather case are in perfect condition
with very few scratches. Is this a Type I or Type II. It does not say Type II on the bottom but it
has the 6 digit serial number. It is all black.
The second one is serial number 532649 and clearly says Type II on the bottom. This one is the gray
body with the red slides for every third number and the red ring when you lift the crank. I have the
metal left hand thread case for it also. This one is also in very good condition but the metal case
has much more wear and a brass tag from ARIZ HWY riveted on top and a decal on the side of the case.
He & Mom ( Georgianna ) were an internationally ranked road rally team in the 50’s & 60’s. Mom drove
a hot Mercedes Benz with racing harnesses, a radio that picked up time beacons, tire temperature gauges
& special odometers. Dad, armed with half a dozen multifunction Swiss chrono / stop / master clock /
watches, a Stevens’ Dual, a Thomas computer, a customized clip board & a lucky mechanical pencil, cranked
the Curta for all it was worth. Ahh, my childhood. In that I inherited my Mom’s driving skills & not
my Dad’s math wizardry…the “Curta in a can” lives in its’ original labeled, corrugated cardboard box
with its instruction guides – amongst crates of trophies & race badges. I’m sure that my niece & nephew
(children of the 21st century) will never appreciate the “funny looking pepper grinder” – but, for me
it is a reminder that change is inevitable. When I was in 6th grade my Grandfather, Julian Apolant, sent
me a very expensive gift – a Hewlett Packard “pocket” calculator, it was roughly the size of a cassette
tape player & not even capable of square roots. But, it was what would prove to be the demise of the Curta.
Thanks for letting me share – Susie Apolant
40012 casalecchio di reno
in 10 or so years and still works perfectly
Sheffield S1 2EL UNITED KINGDOM
Mine is in “used” condition – case has a few dents, anodizing is a bit worn on the knurling and the
crank-knob pin is broken. I like the fact that it’s showing its age – around 55 years, I think – because
somebody has actually used it!
Speaking of the crank-knob pin – does anyone out there sell parts? I could make a new pin, but I’d prefer
to have the real thing.
October 10, 1966, 7 months after I was born. He gave it to my father a few years ago and my father
passed it on to me today. Coincidentally, I just read a letter to the editor in Readers Digest this
past week about Curta’s (they must have had an article about them recently) and I didn’t know what a
Curta was. Now I do! I’m a CPA and consider my calculator
office until electronic calculators took over. I have carefully looked after the Curta ever since
as it gives me great pleasure to link me back to my early work career. I am amazed at the interest
in collecting these – but, I’m not really surprised when considering the total quality of the instrument!
“Pattern Recognition” and a search through the internet gave me an idea of the history and interest
surrounding them. Also just how much buying one would cost.
Since then I’ve had a copy of the MK1 poster as my Windows background and spent idle minutes waiting for
things to load marvelling at the devices intricacy. Ever so often I skimmed through the Internet to see what was
there. A week ago I saw a MK1 for sale at a lower than normal price and decided to put in a speculative
bid, as much to help the seller realise a decent amount as out of any expectation of winning (a piece of
advice, don’t do this unless you can afford not to lose the auction!) Two days later I was explaining to
my wife that I’d bought a Curta and while I was happy with the price, it wasn’t cheap… Luckily she was
reasonable about it. It arrived in the post this morning, an immaculate example of a late MK1 (plastic case
and crank handle) running the serial number through system it looks like it was built early Feb 1970, so
we’re pretty much the same age as I’m mid January 1970. Handling it just gave me an insane thrill, it is
an truly wonderful piece of engineering, feeling the gentle clicking of the mechanism as you make
calculations with it you just can’t help but visualise the complex mechanism turning inside. Oh, and
finally I feel I qualify to be on here . Keep up the good work. Mik.
apartment. I found this device in the bottom of a filing cabinet but did
not have a clue what it was. It had an old leather case made to be
attached to a work belt so I knew it was something my father had used as a
surveyor. I remember as a child all of his HP calculators but I had never
seen this. I got on the internet and what I learned blew me away. It is
in very good shape but the case is a little beat up from field use. In
addition, my fathers name is engraved on the top of the case. This just
makes it more special to me. I don’t know where he got it but he worked in
the San Fernando Valley for VTN (surveying outfit) for years and his name
was Clyde Thomason. Maybe someone knows him and how he got it. It is very
valuable to me and I will never part with it. I love to show it to other
He was mathematician and full professor at the main technical University in Caracas.
I do not know how he obtained this wonderful machine. The calculator is in optimal conditions.
My students (I am also a professor) are always surprised when I show them this machine.
in the early 80’s to a broker who was retiring at the age of approx. 70. He told me
that he use it very frequently but it is still in excellent conditions with metal case,
instructions manual in Spanish and outer carton with a label indicating its serial # 501944.
I was always fascinated by the excellent engineering work that resulted in the Curta but
did not knew the full story until a cousin give me a copy of the article published in Scientific
American in January 2004. I found the second unit in a flea-market [Bio Bio] in Santiago de Chile
in October 2005, this one has the metal case with some bruises. Both units are in perfect
wilderness survey job in 1967. The Curta was used to do azimuth calculations from star
observations. I received my Curta as part of an equipment swap with another surveyor
in the late 70’s. I used it a while to do survey calculations until I started using a
TI 59 programmable calculator. It is in perfect condition with two copies of the instruction
sheet. It resides in a display case next to a WILD T-0 theodolite, another forgotten
instrument from that era.
Three year ago, I have seen a model in a shop of many ancient things, and the buyer didn`t knew what thing was it.
I have search in internet and discovered the historical and economical value of Curta. I have bought it inmediatly.
Now is , with a Thomas de Colmar Arithmometer, one of the queens of my collection.
I met my husband in 1976. He had a trucking business out of Watervliet, New York. His secretary rarely
had time to take a vacation until we dated when I said I would help with the billing in the summer.
Since I was in education I had summers off to do that. I asked for an adding machine and was handed
the Curta… and I said ” now what do I do with this.” He gave me a few quick lessons and I thought
it was the greatest thing. We all continued to use it until he closed the business in 1990. He has
since passed on but I still have the Curta and the memories that came with it.
and used it for navigating in sports car rallies. I then used it in college and in various accounting
jobs. I continued to use it for field work in my accounting practice until I purchased a HP 12C. After
graduating to the 12C, I gave the Curta to good friend for his collection of interesting gadgets.
He used it for several years to “one up” physician friends who also collected gadgets. About four years
ago, he returned the Curta with an entire binder filled with information about the calculator, the company,
and its history. Therefore, the ownership of this Curta is a joint venture as listed above.
1 – Type II
engineering firm where I worked as a surveyor. I don’t remember how I ended up with the Type II, I
hadn’t given it much thought until I happened to see what they were selling for on e-bay. The
engineering firm folded years ago and I moved on to another surveying job.
The Type I was the perfect size for surveyors. I could never understand why other surveyors bought the
Type II . They wanted it for the extra 4 digits which they had no need for in the field.
Both metal cases show quite a bit of wear but the instruments them selves are in excellent condition.
I doubt that you could find anything now days that is as rugged and as well made as the curta. Once I
saw another surveyor drop his curta and we watched as it rolled and bounced 200 feet down a steep hill,
over a 50 foot cut bank and into the middle of a road just as a grader was going by. Luckely the blade
of the grader pushed it off the side of the road, the operator never saw it. I’ll never forget the look
on that poor guy’s face as he watched what he thought was the end of his prized possession. When we got
to the bottom of the hill and dug his curta out of the dirt we were amazed to find no visible damage
except for a few little nicks. As it turned out, all it needed was cleaning.
1 – Type II
captured. A few months later I was able to find an affordable Type I in excellent condition.
The previous owner gave me the history, short and complete. It was purchased new in late
1965 for a chainman on a survey crew. It was to be carried as a backup in case the party
chief’s CURTA failed. He said he didn’t remember ever taking it out of the case, however
he did remember the party chief grinding away on his own CURTA for hours at a time.
I have since purchased a type II. I’m in my late 50’s and feel no need to explain this
insanity. I simply admire mechanical works of genius and art; the CURTA is among the finest examples.
SN # 515316 – This one is a quite good condition and very well functioning
SN# 515907 – This one is in good condition two, but it misses the handle (sincerely I do not understand
how this can happened !). I would appreciate to find a spare part, or to sell the machine in this state
to somebody having the spare parts.
I’m 63 and during my scholarship to become and engineer in topography, we at first (say years 1963 & ‘1964)
were proceeding calculations through “logarithm tables”, say “by hand”, with the help of a Pascal’s type of
mechanical calculator (Remington) to sum and interpolate logarithms.
In 1964 we were given this astonishing all black machine Curta type I, smaller than the type II, and, in
my opinion, easier to handle in one hand.
These machines were owned by the highschool and we were not allowed to keep them with us, that I do regret, of course.
The ones I own have been bought to a “sale by auction” operation of the french Army, in 1985. I bought the
two pieces for 75 $.
Happy new year to all of you, eminent Curtaddicted !
** 2006 **
I had a professor who assigned problems requiring greater accuracy than sliderule. With the Curta
I could do the work without the necessity of using logarithms. When I went to work in 1962 as a
process engineer, I had less need for it. I’ve kept it all these years as a memento of my years
in graduate school and an example of a machine well made.
over Automatic Business Machines Ltd who were the importer of Curta into the UK. I was initially more involved
with the Cash Register side of the business but can add some details.
We had three war displaced technicians, all trained watch makers. Initially Ukrainian, polish and Italian, later
the Italian was replaced by a Russian.
Display models. We had three sets for our main offices, London, Birmingham and Manchester. There were at least
3 x Model 1 Service manuals and 2 x Model 2. I think the 1 had brown covers and the 2 green covers or other way round.
Sir Edmund Hilary and Sherpa Tensing took a Curta when they climbed Everest. We had in our London showroom an
enlarged copy of a letter from Hilary thanking the company for the loan.
BOAC had a huge quantity for their flight crews, most machines came into our workshops. Occasionally a technician
would go out to Heathrow for a day and service the machines with minor faults, more difficult coming back to the
service department. On a site there is a photograph of Curta tools. Missing is the paxolin block for supporting
the handle whilst driving out the tapered pin.
The London Science Museum have a Curta in their collection. Was on display some years ago not sure now. From
memory a Model 1.
I have asked my ex Sales Manager (LOM) then Managing Director (ABM) who was involved with the Curta from beginning
to end in the UK to give a, from his view, definitive story of the Curta. Having visited the factory and knowing
the people, including the prince, involved in Lichtenstein. Whether he will or not I cannot say.
People may not know that ‘Hilti’ make hammers to drive nails into solid walls and the Curta factory when closed
made ‘Hilti Guns’.
As an aside LOM and ABM were two successful companies run by the same man. LOM apart from Curta introduced the
SWEDA Cash Register which with good service successfully competed with National Cash Reg. At ABM in 1968 we
introduced Casio Calculators into UK and for most of the time sold more Casio machines than the combined total
of all the other Japanese imported Calculators. We also imported the PDQ stamp machines from USA used for
giving bonus stamps in shops and garages. Whilst still selling the Curta.
The block I referred to was made of Tufnol not paxolin about 3″ wide
x 2″ deep x 1.5″/1.75″ high. The 3″ side was machined away to accept,
I think, the carriage and there was a piece of 2mm steel let into the
block onto which, I think, the handle rested. How it accommodated
model 1 and 2’s don’t know, I am trying to think back 20 or so years.
I know where one of our technicians lived and am trying to see
whether he still lives there or has passed on.
I would not think there are any cased display Model 2’s. Due to the
extra diameter of the body it would have meant a different display
case, why go to that trouble when a Model 1 does the job adequately.
I first bought a TYPE I and later sold it for the newer, bigger Type II, used in field survey
and office work for many years. Also used it to complete the Flight Engineers course with
United Airlines in 1964. Received a grade of 100% using it on the math portion of the FAA
ground school tests. FANTASTIC MACHINE ! I love it !
1 – Type II
Subsequently bought my Type I from a German antique dealer; it is absolutely pristine – in mint condition – and it
sits under a glass bell jar in my office.
CURTA Type I SN 20122 (for use) and SN 38600 (mint condition for exposition)
The last one is interesting because have the case without the writing CURTA but: COMPLIMENTS GAYNOR & CO
Being a Curta from UK probably it was a lot purchased by Gaynor&Co (sports store) for best clients compliments!
– Harry Oman) its case is in very nice shape and it and works really fine. No scratches or wear, except for
miniscule wear at top edge of case. No damage or repairs. Wonderful condition. From an MSU professor’s estate.
The reasons that I have bought it are two, first because my dad (Jacob) has been also as a teenager at the
same concentration camp Buchenwald like Curt Herzstark and I’m proud that Jewish invent this wonderful and
genius machine, secondly because I’m many years computer engineer (30 years at Intel) an I adore this first
“computer” engineer – Curt Herzstark.
DK-8000 Aarhus Denmark
the early sixties (196x) in a bric-a -brac shop in my home town. The shop
owner expected it to be some sort of an adding machine but he thought it was
not functioning properly. At least he could not operate it. I bought it
for – as far as i recall – for 10 or 20 DKR ($ 1.50 or 3.00).
It has no flaws. The man simply did not know how to operate it. I have
disassembled it 20 years ago to clean and lubricate it. A very interesting
and delicate work indeed.
(Harlan Greenwalt). I have been fascinated by this the engineering of this item for many years
and the combination of complexity and simplicity all in one device. I had never seen nor
heard of this ‘calculator’ prior to discovering your website. My CURTA is in absolute pristine
condition with it’s original black case. There is not a scratch or mark on either the Type
II or the case.
California, in 1964. I still have the sales reciept, the box it came in, the plastic case,
instruction manual, and its brown leather carrying case with shoulder strap that can convert
into a hand strap. I used this CURTA to perform stress calculations on the crew storage
lockers that went into the SKYLAB spacecraft, to perform trajectory analysis calculations
on an experimental ejection seat, when we built our house, and now within our Engineering
Office it occupies a place of prominance (inside a custom-build glass case along with my
Hemmi #10 slide rule). It’s fun to get it out every now and then and demonstrate it for
the younger (PC) generation. The CURTA is truly my most prized engineering tool.
British Columbia, Canada, V8S 4Y4
wanted one since 1969 when I was at the University of Texas working on my dissertation and had to
cope with an old Freidan mechanical calculator that didn’t always work. A dream come true after
only 37 years! It is a Type I, Serial number 71667
Thailand. Perfect condition but no case. I had never heard of them
until one was mentioned in a Readers Digest a patient left in my
waiting room. I love fascinating mechanical pieces, and this must be
the most complex and intricate totally mechanical device ever
Bequeathed to me by my father. He got it in the early 1950’s for several reasons. By trade he
was a toolmaker and used it a bit in the shop. Also, he surveyed and built a few houses for the
family back when there was a prairie to view, here.
He was an accumulator (not collector) of gadgets of all kinds and I was also left with many
strange tools and tiny cameras.
He let me use the Curta in college in the late 60’s to get through chem and physics, and it
did help. Also wowed the profs, who had never seen anything like it. And, yes, I did use it
in a couple of car rallies. In great shape, almost looks brand new.
In the mid 70’s he was grousing to my mother that he could use one of those new electronic
pocket calculators in the shop. We bought him a Texas Instruments SR10 for about $170, which
he used until he passed on in 1980. I still use this TI as my desk calculator every day
and it is priceless as in the downside of the word…couldn’t give it away. The Curta, with
its can, certificate and instruction book, stay in the treasure box with the Minox and some
unidentifiable stuff. I expect it will be part of the grouch bag I leave for my daughter.
this calculator is. I said “rare” as I was surfing the Internet today (April,15 2006) and found
one Curta bid (I was looking for something else). One click or two later I was astonished
reading your page.
My Curta belonged to my father who was a Civil Engineer and died in 1963 in Venezuela. The
family moved to Spain (Almeria) where I lived during twenty some years. One day my mother
handed the Curta to me. I remember two things: i. the funny sell (oil) and ii. the case
doesn’t open clockwise (I need to say it took me some time to realize that!). I could make
additions and multiplications easily. It took me some time to make substractions and …
well; I was not able to realize how to make divisions! I lost my interest and laid the Curta
on a shelf until I returned back to Venezuela (1985). I opened the case 4 or 5 times at most.
The Curta was still on a shell (different country) and I took it today and tried to solve the
examples on your web. It works pretty well except when I tried to make subtractions as it
doesn’t turn easily, so I didn’t force it!
Other than that the Curta is almost as brand-new.
I was thinking to lubricate the device but I don’t dare as I don’t know what type of
lubricant is recommended.
box of stuff that was given to our family when our grandfather passed away in 1980.
Inside was the Curta II that I used when my grandfather and I went on car rallies back
in the 1960’s! It’s still in perfect shape in its metal can, with all the owners
manuals intact. It brought back great memories of our TSD’s way back then.
an near 80 years old mechanical engineer, in Europe, probably in the late 60’s.
It is brand new, since by that time he was more in the administrative area. I probably took
it off it’s cardboard “brick” and metal case than he did.
university in Aachen, Germnany. I bought those calculators on markets for
very little money – most of the sellers there did not have any clue about
these mechanical masterpieces.
In 2005, I read an article in the “Spektrum der Wissenschaft”, the German
issue of the “Scientific American”, about Curt Herzstark and the Curta.
That’s when I started to get interested in the Curta.
I watched the auctions at E-Bay for some months. Finally I could buy one in
February 2006 for a moderate price.
My Curta II is in fine condition, the plastic tube has some have scratches.
The accompanying documents are missing.
Thanks for the nice Curta-Page – I will set a link from my HP to it.
in the very early 70s to use in TSD rallies. Now I’m using it with my daughter and son
as I introduce them to rallying.
A collection like this needs at least 1 CURTA.
I bought mine on the Internet.
meaning it could be the oldest one known now.
I also live in Montevideo-Uruguay (as the previous owner of the 2185), and I recieved the Curta calculator
when my grandfather died, and remember and using it since I was 5 or 6 years old (I’m 42 now) and treating it always as
a jewel. The good thing is the calculator is in perfect condition and works as never being used.
I’m preparing a set of pictures to send to you, and will stay in contact if you need more information.
It’s in the original metal can but I dont’t have the original instruction manual.
Alton, NH 03809 USA
that took me a while to figure out that it opened the wrong way.
When I opened it, I fell in love! I had no idea what the hell it was, but being fascinated
by mechanical gadgets, I knew that it had to go home with me.
I took it home and figured out that I had sort of a mechanical slide rule. Trial and error
finally resulted in some reasonable results.
It is a Model II – Serial #507656. There is only one tiny scratch on the unit ( which I
did), and a little scuff under the lever.
In all my 72 years, this was possibly the best $2 I ever spent !
It is a very early model, clockwise closing. For a pic see http://fransamsterdam.web-log.nl/fransamsterdam/2006/05/fransamsterdam_.html
I feel proud and happy with it!
Everglades in Florida, I became good friends with a Cuban Immigrant and graduate engineer from Georgia
Tech. Jorge Silva was responsible for several survey crews working on lands purchased (40k acres) by
the King Ranch (of Tx) for which the engineering firm we worked for designed a ranch with drainage out
of raw Everglades. I watched Jorge work wonders with his CURTA calculator in the field. He had purchased
it while in school at Ga. Tech. Over the years (now 30+) I founded my own survey firm and worked all
over Florida. One day Jorge called me and wanted/needed a survey of his home. We quit surveying residential
lots some time ago (now surveying over 100k acres throughout FL) but for him, no problem. Jorge wouldn’t
accept my survey for free no matter how we argued back and forth. Jorge was proud but also retired and on
a fixed income. Finally, I suggested that he pay me by giving me the old Curta he had. Jorge jumped at
the suggestion because he hadn’t used in ten years and he had no one left to leave it to. Deal struck,
I helped a friend and he made my day too. Since then, Jorge has passed away. I salute this proud man by
keeping it in his memory.
I purchased it on June 16, 2006. The unit is still in excellent condition, with no
visible signs of wear that are worthy of note. The unit was purchased
with the original plastic case (in very good condition) and documentation
(fair/good condition for owners manual and sample calculations manual).
The sale of the item included the 1970 customs slip from the original
owner when the unit was brought into the USA. Based on the ownership
history, it looks like I am the third owner of this fine instrument.
died she sent it to me. I remember seeing it previously at this home but did not know what it was until
he began letting me chart road rally courses with him. Hendrix TenEyck my grandfather organized Road
Rallies primarily in the Syracuse, NY area I believe. He used the curta during the races. I am
currently searching for more information on my particular curta which I own the device case and I believe
a full set of manuals to.
around 1965, where I was working. Unfortunately I can’t remember where I put the “use manual”., very nice
to find your sit on the web”
father, my grandfather. I do have also the origannaly discription
from this model. It is a nice piece of work!
school in 1948 when I started to work at my father’s soft drink
bottling plant. Since the day I bought it, it travelled with me in
every business trip I made until the electronics came around. Today
it looks as good as the day that I bought it.
I purchased it on the internet, but did not get any information on its history.
who was a chemist. I used it some during college years earning a BA – Physics. In 1963 – 1965
I was employed at Jet Propulsion Labs testing an instrument for the first unmanned space flight
to Mars. It got some use then. Later I used it while earning an MBA. Subsequently I simply
enjoyed the pleasure of a hand-held device of such incredible precision. About 20 years ago the
clearing ring was broken while one of my children was using it. It has been kept as a collector’s
item since then. It operates smoothly for addition. It’s a bit sticky for clearing results and
still stickier for negative operations. It has the original case, and except for the clearing
ring it is externally in perfect condition. S/N 12743 estimated manufactured July/August 1950
I saw a Curta advertisement in Scientific American. They were expensive compared to slide rules
(which I had recently learned to manipulate), and they did not multiply directly, so I decided
against purchasing one. For the next forty years, I never saw one. Well, I recently purchased
one from a gentlemen who found half a dozen in an old tool shed – and it works perfectly.
What a brain Mr. Herzstark had! For Curt’s a jolly good fellow!
I signed on to run with a Driver, whose name was vaguely familiar, though we had never met. The Driver
informed me that I would be calculating using a Curta. I was intrigued! I remembered seeing the
unique pieces at rallies many years before, but had never known much about them. I did catch on
quickly, after some expert help from other rallyists, and loved developing the rhythm of cranking
out due times with the Curta. I determined at that time that I needed to own one. It is now nearly
2 year later, and I have just purchased my own. I was delighted to have the machine shipped with a
very pleasant letter from the previous owner. He had used the Curta for rallies back in the 70’s,
when he and his wife campaigned a BMW 2002. I’m looking forward to my first event with this wonderful device.
moving soon to Dubai, UAE
I tought I was a little bit stranger for loving this thing!
Well, I own a Curta Type I, Serial Number is 12016, early model.
It was a heritage from my deceased father, who was an engineer and loved his Curta.
It is like new, for he treated it with loving care.
the Astronomy department in the 1960s. I still have the original box and “Computing Examples” book.
(currently living in Antofagasta – CHILE)
On 30 November 1996 during a vacation in Buenos Aires I saw “my” Curta type II in the shop of
an antiquarian in San Telmo (Elias, very nice person !): grey body, all metal, in good condition
even if with signs of usage (that personally I like) together with its own metal box. From the
serial number, manufactured around 1955-1956.
** 2007 **
He must have been a CURTA repair man because he had several cabinets filled with parts and subassemblies.
I did not know anything about the CURTA at the time and junked everything with the exception to the one I have.
SN 77621 (prime #)
2 – Type II
intrigued. I also own an old Friden electric calculator and thought the
Curta would be a nice addition. The Curta is in mint condition purchased
from an original owner who apparently never used it.”
“I liked the Curta so much I bought 4 more. These calculators are really great!!!”
about 10 years ago as a curiosity.
and engineering supply business. The Curta I presently own is brand new and was never used in the field.
I took it off my store shelf and kept for myself. It is complete with the instruction manuals and box
that it came in.It has been kept in the original box in storage and in fact as only been out of its
case a few times. I now have it out and am going to frame it for people to view. These were sold to
engineers and land surveyors. Land surveyors in particular loved the Curta for what it could do in
the field and the amount of time it would save them.
Champaign County Sports Car Club (CCSCC), and national SCCA car rallies. Working with a set of
time-speed tables (to correct for odometer error on the rally car, used for the 3 decimal place
input numbers for the Curta, and three split/action stop watches and a resettable 100’s reading
odometer, many a rally was won. One crank of the curta give anticipated odometer reading and elapsed
time for comparison to the watches, every 10th of a mile. Nowadays cars have electronic computer
rally equipment, making the Curta in a class with the sliderule, but I’ll never part with mine.
metalico a rosca. La tengo adornando el mueble del salon de mi casa.
Already several years ago my father gave me a Curta. It is without using, I have manual original
and the box where it came, a metallic spiral case. I have it adorning the furniture of the hall my house.
It had remained locked away for the past 20 years with only my son playing with it as a child; I think
he thought it was a Darlek. These machines were recently covered in a newspaper article which led to
the cupboard being unlocked and all of us trying to fathom its mysteries. All I can say is thank
goodness for the internet, where we have found out, how to use it, how old it is and now just how
many other people own these marvelous machines.
rule, Curta, Breitling chronograph etc. which belonged to my late
father-in-law. A few days ago, my jeweler and I were peering into
the inside of the Breitling and marveling at the complexity of the
works. We had some discussion of what else that my father-in-law
left behind and I was reminded of the Curta. The jeweler found your
website which led me to the instructions for using the Curta as well
as the registry. I found the oral history for Curt Hertzstark from
the Charles Babbage Institute really fascinating.
Always wanted one. Finally found one in good condition with manuals.
model NO 504659 is. Any help would be greatly appreciated. (It was made around Feb 1955 – Rick)
bought about 3 years ago. It was advertised in our college internet site.
magazine of January 2004, and without really intending to buy one I decided to check on the Internet.
To my surprise there were quite a number available for sale. 539499, from seller Julie
Marchand in Austin, TX, USA, stood out: besides the plastic case, it was complete with its
original box, instruction poster, and examples booklet (English). I couldn’t resist bidding;
luckily I won–in the last 24 seconds!
Thanks very much! ..Bill..
article in WIRED magazine about the collections of rich CEO’s of computer firms. I was
fascinated by the description of a Curta. A few months later a gentleman fron Utah listed
a Curta which he had purchased from a US Forest Service surplus auction on the Internet. It was my
first-ever Internet purchase, and has the Forest Service’s property number, FS 159086 engraved
on its bottom under the Curta serial number.
He used to be a bank manager in country side of our state. It seams he received
his Curta calculator as a gift from his superiors in early 60’s. The machine is
in superb state without any scratch and working smooth. Since I was very young I
learned from him how to operate the machine and after he passed away my family
decided I should keep it working to preserve his memory. I love my Curta and I am
very pleased to possess one in so perfect state. Thanks grandpa!
With her I did my exams of mining engineer with great surprise of my professors
I believe it is a Model [II] with dome metal case. The base plate is different from some on a few web sites
I have looked at but its number is 503425. There is no logo as seen on others.
I have a one page brochure in English, the original guarantee, a quick “how to” fold-out with illustrations
and the CURTA Computing Examples booklet.
My aunt bought it on 24 August 1971 for her husband who was an engineer. The sales agency was Automatic
Business Machines Ltd, at 15, Cromwell Road, London, S.W.7.
I have never used it but I was familiar with the principles involved from my time as a Chartered
Accountant in London when we used “coffee grinder” desk machines doing the same four functions.
I seem to recall that Monroe came out with a mechanized version of a desk-top calculator which
was much larger. There may have been others in the field but electronics quickly put them all out of business.
manager of a technical department in manufacturing industry. It had been used
as the precision calculator for work in the department. It was no longer on the
inventory of departmental property and I was allowed to keep it when I left the
rallies with the Bickingham Sports Car Club in Bucks County, PA and
SCCA National Rallies. It still sits on my desk in its metal case and
reminds me of great times.
My grandfather bought it in the 1950th I think.
I received it as a gift 1967 as I had “played” with it as a young boy.
At that time I had taken up club level rallying and everyone else was
using very large office calculators. I found the Curta by accident in a
store, and only recognised it from photos I had seen in rallying
magazines from America. I snapped it up and it has never left my
possesion since. I demonstrate it occasionally to ‘young’ work
colleagues who never cease to be amazed by it. It is in its original box
70’s at college (Lycee International de Saint-Germain-en-Laye in France), where a
number of these machines, probably about 40, were regularly used by the students.
If I remember well 2 types where being used, one in a nice wooden box, the other in
a black plastic box.
The Curta I my possession today was found in the cellar of offices in Paris by some staff
that had no idea of what it was. It stayed there on a desk for many years until I saw it.
Everybody in the office was impressed that someone knew what it was, and could use it!
I manage to convince them to let me have this very nice object.
fellow worker back in the early 90’s, and he told me about the interesting old mechanical calculator
he had. I ended up trading him a modem for this Curta.
I recently had it refurbished by Jack Christensen at Timewise, and it works like new. What a
beautiful piece of machinery!
wanted one. I saw one on the Internet and had to get it. It is in good
condition, still works, and came in the metal can. The outside of the
can smells slightly of mildew.
when I was much younger I used to play with it. It is in a very good condition and I am surprised
to see that there are so many of them out there.
bought in New Zealand in 1972 while I was working for a land surveyor there…it was pre hand held
electronic calculators era, so anyone in the survey business was really stylin’ if they had a Curta.
Some time back, unbeknownst to me, the O ring fell out of the case and when I closed it the winding
handle was compressed to the point where the shaft broke at the pin hole and the handle fell off,
rendering the machine completely useless.It had been languishing in a drawer and every once in a
while I would take it out and wonder if I should just chuck it away but could never bring myself
to do it. A co-worker asked me about it one day and so we Googled Curta just to find him the history
of Curtas and that led us to your site and to Jack Christensen. Jack has just returned my Curta to me,
sparkling clean and in as good a working order as when I bought it all those years ago. He happened to
have the right pieces at hand and was able to do the job(replacing the whole center drum assembly)
can’t tell you how tickled I am to have it back and I’m busy amazing everyone at work with it.
Great site by the way….Curta’s Rock !!
without any inkling as to what a Curta even was, I had read, years ago,
about this child of a scion of this most advanced mechanical, electrical
calculator company in 1930’s Germany spending the War in Buchenwald,
designing what was to become the penultimate handheld mechanical calculating
device ever built. In the last several years, I had, on occassion, drifted
past a search for one of these wondrous machines on the Internet. Finally, on a
whim, on a late night, I cast fate to a fickle wind and cast a ballot. I
won. My prize, for what I thought had been an extravagant amount of money,
was a perfect Curta I serial number 27767. I’ve since come to realize the
luck of that fantastic draw. As I now have a tendancy to monitor Curta I
offerings on the Internet, I’ve come to realize I came into this beautiful piece
with a divine fortune, one I had never thought myself capable of. A recent
listing featured a Curta I 32312 with a broken clear ring, four days left
with bids already rising past my procurement. I felt compelled to send the
seller this, knowing it would be posted with the item, and hoping it might
“In order to clear correctly, the magnitude carriage ring MUST be distended
to avoid placing undue stress upon the clearing ring. An ignorant avoidance
of this simple procedure is probably the biggest misuse of the Curta I.
People receive a Curta I that they’ve paid a huge sum for, and the
first thing they attempt, after retracting the clearing ring, and without
reading so much as line from the instructions, is to attempt a clear…the
ring doesn’t move, then, with a bit more pressure, it begins to skip around
the carriage ring. Owners who question the hard skip immediately desist and
read the Usage Manual, realizing with a cold sweat that they have just
dodged a what would have been a non-recoverable bullet. Those who don’t end
up snapping off the clearing ring, irreparable, this side of a cheap plastic
replacement knockoff piece. Those who have bothered to read the
instructions, before ever touching this beautiful machine, have never had to
I came close to apllying this misuse when I first extracted this Curta I from
its case with its solidified bottom and top sponges. Luckily, amazingly, an
alarm went off and I stopped. I read the manual. 27767 is doing well. I now
have Rick Furr’s brilliantly composed schematic framed on a wall of the
study, and a week doesn’t go by that I don’t hold Curt’s jewel in my hand,
take a breath at its fifty-some year old countenance, and calculate. Not
simply because its there. But because a problem has arisen that begs
solution. At such times I back away from my cluttered desk, release the
keyboard of my requisite computer, and spin away.
He passed when I was 9 around 1971. I don’t recall when I first picked it up, but I didn’t have an
instruction book for it. I remember not knowing how to fold the finger holder back into its storage
position so I could put the lid back on. Luckily I didn’t break it, and after a day or so I figured
it out. It is still a prized possession both for its sentimental reasons and for my love of mechanical beauty.
while clearing out an old accounting office in
Commerce Ca. At first i had no idea what it was, then
i was amazed when i found out what it could do. I am
25 years old and i never really knew that there was
such a thing as a mechanical calculator, never saw or
heard of anything expect the digital calculators i
have been using since childhood. Such an amazing
example of precise enginerring. It is serial #527898.
To my untrained eye it appears to be in good shape, no
discoloration or scratches, and mechanicly it operates
well( although i havent gotten into very advanced
mathematics yet).I am interested in the history and
advanced operation of these calculators. Also what is
the best way to figure out the current market value of
I have known of “The Curta” since the 60’s from a friend who was a serveyer.
I wanted one ever since. I captured this one from the son of the original owner
(Alfred Lachterman MD. in Scarsdale NY). He did not know what it was or its use.
He gave it to me as a gift for some work that I preformed for him. No papers
of any kind with it, however, thanks to web sites like this I am making good use of it.
electronic calculators are not allowed.
Good luck with that teaching the daughter to drive thing, I just went through it.
case and manuals in its original cardboard box. I also have a privately produced manual on advanced
calculation techniques. I purchased the Curta in 1964 in Glasgow.
He was an Electrical Engineer for Western Electric and a Land Surveyor. He collected and
restored antique British motorcycles. Both of my parents participated in Road Rallies in the 50’s and 60’s.
Kindly register this CURTA to my Father, who passed away on May 26, 2007. I am selling it, so there will
be a new owner as of tomorrow, but I thought for the record it would be nice for anyone interested, to
know it’s origin.
work out a study with an awful lot of statistics to calculate. The slide rule, which was usual at that
time, was too inaccurate for that work. So I asked in a shop for a second hand calculating machine.
There was just a big and heavy one like a typewriter and with a defect – to divide was not possible.
I was very disappointed and left the shop. But the dealer called me back and offered to me the CURTA
II which I saw the first time. Some months before an architect bought this CURTA II. He brought it
back to the shop some days later. It was not possible for him to adjust the slides exactly because
his fingers where too thick …..
So I got the CURTA for a special price, which was nevertheless a lot for me as a student.
The CURTA was undeniable for years for me – in spite of the fact I had to hear a lot of mockery from
people around me: “The guy with the coffee mill”!
Today nobody is mocking any more – I am envied, because the CURTA is as new and calculating very
well as at it’s first day.
and other vintage calculators. Fell in love with the device. Took me
some years to buy mine on the Internet, but it was well worth the wait “
1 – Type II
in Van Nuys California. The Curta replaced my slide rule (except for transcendental calculations)
in my college science classes. It fell into disuse when I acquired an HP-35 in 1970. The HP-35
replaced both the Curta and a book of trigonometry and log tables.
I disassembled the Curta once. It took weeks to reassemble. The Curta dealer kindly supplied
replacements for several tiny parts which went astray in the process. I believe that these parts
are made from an alloy called vanishing steel. Set one down on a table, leave the room
and it will vanish. Unless you have unlimited free time, dont take one apart.
wonder of the Curta calculator. I bought mine through an online auction and I plan on making
a pest of myself by demonstrating it as often as possible.
Mortgage Banker and used it to calculate interest and payments. He tried to teach me how to
use it in the 60’s but then the electronic calculator just came out and I lost interest. I
still have the original Computing Examples book that came with it and the metal hard case
that screws apart with left hand threads!
calculator that I could use for vintage car rallys that might not permit the use of
electronic calculators. I bought the unit from a person in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada who
had obtained the unit from a local surveyor. The name “Ted Carter” appears on the
plastic storage container and the initials “JGF” are scrtached on the bottom of the unit.
A sticker on the inside of the plastic container indicates that the unit was originally
sold by “CURTA Calculators of Canada, Ltd., 3286 Dundas Street West, Toronto 9, Ontario.”
I bought this unit to be used and the few scratches on the bottom of the CURTA do not bother me.
and since then this little marvellous belongs to me. I have read the Reader’s Digest article
writed by Mr. Cliff Stoll some months ago and I got new interest on it and I have just
checked the page of The List of Curta, so I ask you if you can add mine.
the Curta ads in Scientific American. Flash forward to me working in a New Hampshire
bookstore in the 1990’s. A co-worker’s husband dies unexpectedly and she brings in a
bunch of his “gizmos” that she thought I might want. Among them is a mint Type I Curta.
He was into road rallying and had several for that, but was also an architect and this one
was his office unit. Not a scratch, dent or ding. Not even any signs of wear. I’ve been in her
debt ever since. I wish I had aged as gracefully as Mr. (or Ms?) 39353. (p.s. I’m also an HP
fan. Love my aged HP41CX and 12C – both still working hard)
Mother was at the “splurge”).
I had been a computer programmer back in the punch card days. I work in health care now. I read
about the curta in Smithsonian several years ago and decided to try and obtain one. I finally bought
a type I in the original metal case with the top rubber in very good condition. It functions very
well, and passed all the tests as mentioned on the website. The serial number is 60736. I think it
is a 1965 model made in March I think. It has the metal ring and the knurled crank handle. No dents
scratches or blemishes of any kind. I am now looking for a type 2 to add to my new hobby. Thanks for
the good information, and the link to all of us who enjoy interesting devices!! Best wishes Randy
still in mint condition, in the plastic box. I use it as an educational
marerial at 1st day of my computer architecture class.
time and distance rallyes. After using it for five or more years, Howard Roth (deceased) gave
it to me and I have held onto it ever since.
I still have the service agreement and paperwork. He never really used the machine.
He gave it to me while I was finishing my engineering degree and I have stored it in my
desk since. The machine is in mint condition. I have attached two pictures.
Works fine, but is somewhat worn. That is, a small amount of paint is gone from edges, particularly on the bottom.
Came with what appears to be the original metal container. This has paint wear in a few places. There is a small hole (does not go through) on the top of the lid that looks like it once had a small screw.
Have two or three others of various models, including one brand new in box which I bought from a retail dealer. However, this latter one has problems: misalignment of the top right.
I collect adders and calculators, especially 19th century American ones. Also, of course, slide rules.
enthralled with these wonderful little machines. After searching for several months,
I acquired my first Curta (a black body Type II) through the Internet. I’m now looking for a
Curta Type I. I’m enjoying talking with other Curta enthusiasts and learning more
about the history of these devices. I’ve also learned of the Curta’s connection with
road rallying and feel myself being pulled in that direction as well.
I stumbled onto Curtas about 6 months ago and have become quite enchanted by the little devices.
I first purchased a black body Type II, and then a gray body Type II. I’m now waiting for
delivery of a later model Type I. I’ve enjoyed reading all the great Curta information you
and others have provided on the Internet.
Il l’a achete neuve en 1956. Comme je collectionne les instruments de calcul (regles a calcul, calculatrices mecaniques et electroniques) c’est “naturellement” qu’elle m’a ete confiee.
J’ai fait l’acquisition de la seconde en 2006 grace a la generosite d’un Internaute, collectionneur d’avion, qui me l’a proposee pour 150 euros. Sans doute m’at-til trouve sympathique.
C’etait un cadeau qu’un de ses amis lui avait fait dans les annees 1970. Il ne voulait transmettre cet objet a quelqu’un qui en prendrait soin. J’espère ne pas le décevoir.
En France, c’est la maison INNOVA, 10 rue des Ours a Paris, qui commercialisa les Curta. Sur mon site. J’ai depose une publicite des annees 1950 qui represente la Curta I en action !
(English) The first belonged to my wife’s grandfather, Professor Jean Chevreau, professor
of medicine at University Hospital in Creteil. He bought new in 1956. As I collected the
calculation instruments (slide rules, mechanical and electronic calculators) it is “naturally”
been entrusted to me. I had purchased the second in 2006 thanks to the generosity of an Internet
user, a collector of aircraft, which I had proposed for 150 euros. Undoubtedly he found me
sympathetic. It was a gift that one of his friends had done for him in the 1970’s. He only
wanted to convey that object to someone who would take care of it. I hope not to disappoint.
In France, INNOVA, 10 rue des Ours in Paris, which sold the Curta. On my site, I put an
advertisement of the 1950 which represents the Curta I in action!
My father gave me a Curta calculator many years ago that was presented to him: Type 1 – # 12991
** 2008 **
It is in mint condition with almost no sign of use. It was originally bought from the Curta sales representative in Paris, as indicated in a
sticker placed just above its serial number:
INNOVA concessionnaire exclusif
10 rue aux ours – Paris
9 r n d des victoires – Paris
Tel 887 46 80
and he got it from a friend. He was very proud of it, but still preferred to use a slide rule.
’60s by her then Boss, she treasured it throughout her working life and
still used it when everyone else had switched to calculators.
Despite being used daily it shows no sign of wear, I do believe that it was
regularly serviced by “Automatic Business Machines Limited” London SW6.
Sadly my Mother passed away four years ago this is how I have it.
It is in its original metal case and has the suppliers ID fixed to it.
I have never seen another Curta and it was only because I had forgotten how
to use it I did a search on the internet, I am quite surprised to see what
an Icon it is.
University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. He was an avid Veteran & Vintage car enthusiast, and no doubt
bought his Curta for rallying in the mid-fifties. Of interest is that he and his wife, Elizabeth (Betty) Gaudie were instrumental
in introducing the first ultrasound machines into South Africa. Leon died two years ago, aged 86, and Betty followed a year later.
The mint-condition calculator in its black steel reverse-thread canister stays as a reminder of a truly superb couple.
The curta was my father’s who collected all types of calculating devices from abacus to the very first electronic calculators.
This is the only remaining piece from his collection unfortunately. As far as I can tell this is one of the very early Curta
Type II machines. Learning how to use it using the online manual. Such an amazing piece of kit.
scratched) container with the “normal” righthand thread. The machine itself is in really good conditions, on the innerside
of the bottom baseplate there is 6.4.71 (6 april 1971) scrached in it, I suppose that’s the date of the last maintenance done to it.
My father had this “thing” around his office but he didn’t know what exactly it was, he just told me it was some kind of
calculator but he had no idea how it worked, he had received the CURTA from my grandfather wich was an accauntant. A day
I got the CURTA in my hands and decided to find out what exactly it was and how it worked, and thanks to the internet I found this site here.
It is somewhat a curious coincidence, I am studying mechanical engineering right now and this great mechanical device
just happens to pass into my hands. I think it will help me greatly also on the exames, as the rules there usually are
sated as “no electronical device”, so I’d actually have a good advantage with my CURTA .
Recently It came back to me and picked this one off E-bay; Very pleased.”
shape. I did lose the black knob on the turning handle. My question is how do I get a Manuel and black knob as I misplaced my
Manuel years ago. Any information would be appreciated. My friend in the next office saw the Curta which I keep on my desk and
found this web site . I am utterly amazed that there is such interest in this amazing calculator which I forgot how to use.
Your help is needed as I would like to learn to operate this again.
My mother kept it with a number of items my father cherished for a number of years. Sometime in the early 90’s the
family accountant who had worked with my father showed me how to use the unit for the four basic arithmetic operations.
It has been in my possession ever since, brought out of it’s case to show curious visitors. I have the Curta in
the original left screw metal case and a slim paper manual also. The unit appears to be in very good condition,
thought the clearing ring sometimes “misses” the first result column. I would like to get it serviced at some point.
This calculator is in excellent working condition. The serial number 3103 A rough estimate from the vcalc website would be about mid 1949?
I have no idea how it works. Where can i get an operation instruction manual? I am keen to use it.
Caracas Venezuela. Is in perfect working condition. As new. Realy.
1 – Type I Demo
the last item seen on our 2week holiday to New Zealand.
I saw them in a display case and thought I knew what
it was but the cut aways on the boxed one through me!
thre owners had no I dea what it was and thought it
may be drill bits! I was prepared to take a punt on
it being what I thought and we started to chat. when
talking about the price he said said it is a precision
instrument and I said But you dont know what it does
so we all agreed… what ever it is it does it very
I purchased them both for $40 NZ
I understand from reading you info page that the demo
model is rare. This would be the 4th known?
The numbers are type 1 -17253 Used -Excellent inside the case and
some wear to the exterior of the carry case.
The boxed demo is type 1 -14387 in near mint all
intact all spaces filled and clean all over.
The cut aways had us worried we did not know why bits
wew missinf till we read your blurb – Very Helpful
If as you say there is only 1 per country then this
would be the New Zealand one we assume. Can we tell
Any way I thought you may be interested and if you
could give me an indication of the Value that would
me as a child, though I never really understood how it worked. However, now that I have the machine, used but in
good condition (in its metal case, with foam), and also pristine copies of the instructions and computing examples,
I shall attempt to work it out!
This is a Curta II which Dad bought in Dec 1956, just before I was born, though there is also the date 1953 written
on the Computing Examples. Can you tell me whether a 1953 manufacturing date sounds likely? The serial number is
510400, made by Contina Ltd Mauren in Liechtenstein and bought from ABM Automatic Business Machines Ltd of 11,
Wyfold Rd, London SW6.
I’m so pleased I found your site, and so many Curta enthusiasts, as I’ve been able to fill in a lot of blanks about
this amazing little machine.
1 – Type II
Curta’s couldn’t be a miss in my collection along with Mr. Curta’s book (“Keine
geschenk fur den Furer”) and articles about these faboulous mechanical jewels.
Congratulations for the faboulous website about Curta’s mechanical jewels. I liked it a lot.
still in its original storage.
Mexico City, Mexico 11560
never used. Just only today I found your web page that showed posters that I can buy and I would like to do so.
My problem is that I do not understand which poster applies to my Curta. Its serial number is 540996. From the
photos I down loaded it is a Type II-2.
I have the following questions: Are new Curta calculators available and what are their prices? My Curta is in
its original outter box, in its original plastic protective case, with its various instructions, and other papers.
Is it a collector’s item? If so what the approximate value it might have? Where is the market for this calculator?
I’d like to know if you may tell me if the year of its manufacture is 1949 and how much it may cost in the colector’s market.
Haverstock Hill, London NW3, UK
remember what I paid for it.
It is engraved:
Sole SA Agents
PO Box 6490
I bought it as a tool for use in car rallying, where one “handle turn” for each tenth-mile completed could display
the scheduled exact due time.
In conjunction with a variety of Halda equipment, equally mechanical and remarkable, this brought me moderate
success and great satisfaction
The Curta, sadly having lost the finger-hole of the “clear” lever, features proudly in my small collection of
mechanical and early electronic calculators.
Regards, and keep up the good work.
So he sent it to me about a week before final exams with no instructions.
What a dirty trick! I sat for hours trying to figure the thing out. I was in
my junior year of my BS degree in mechanical engineering. I was never able
to figure out how to subtract until I saw one on a drafting store display
case. Now I know to lift the crank. My small children used to ask if they
could play with “gadget”. I wonder what it’s value is. Not that I would ever
My english is very bad! I am French I have a Curta Type II N° 556895
Made in Liechtenstein
Professeur de Mathematiques a la retraite (no active..; 62 years old)
J’ai enseigne a Lyon avec ces machines dans les annees 1974 environ
he’d got and only one other serious collector saw the advert, so I got it relatively cheap.
Of course, it’s only the oldest type 2 until someone finds an even earlier one! Still, the 25th one ever made isn’t bad.
A dozen or so years ago another attendee had a CURTA which, like a Questar, had aroused my lust for many
years. He was a better “swapper” than I and relieved my of all the spare dollars I had plus several expensive
expensive Nagler eyepieces. My CURTA was and still is in pristine condition and I suspect that I didn’t
do too badly in the swap after all. I am interested in learning what the going price is for Model I CURTAs
now adays. Note: I eventually was able to obtain the long lusted for QUESTAR telescope in another swap and,
although it was a beautiful example of optical and machine work, I quickly learned that it hadn’t been worth
the wait. I swapped it off in fairly short order.
Purchased on the web from an antiques dealer.
I’d never heard of them
before this, but got introduced by an article on the internet a couple
of weeks ago. There happened to be one for sale on the web, as well,
so I bought it. Turns out to be a pretty early one (Jan, 1952, if I
have it right), and it’s in amazing condition (except for the case).
What a stunningly beautiful piece of machinery. I am in awe.
it new. It has a black leather carry case with strap. I was wondering if this was an option with the Curta or did
my father have the case made especially?
I have had the Curta now for 25 years and never used it. The manual didn’t come with the Curta when I inherited
it and I am now trying to find out how to use the Curta from the internet.
I would love to purchase a manual if someone out there has one.
Please register me on your site. I must admit I didn’t know there was so much information on the Curta out there
and your site is absolutely amazing, has totally blow me away to see how many people enjoy this calculator.
Thank you for a very informative site.
Fair Oaks, CA 95628
started a car rally club – California United Rallying and Touring Association (CURTA) in Davis CA. The
Curta still works smoothly after all these years and has that common discolored spot from all the hours
being held tightly as we bounced around the back roads of Northern California.
badly. Not only because they are rare but because I marvel at the fine details in which these machines were built.
I mean we wonder today about our current technologies which (so it seems) haven’t reached their summit yet but the
Curta was by all means one of the most intricate and elegant machines build by men for the sole perpose of crunshing
numbers back in the days.
So, after watching several online auctions I got lucky and was able to secure a Type I Curta (clearing ring and handle
in metal – silver subtraction ring) with a rather low serial number (11307). It is in extremely good shape and purrs
its numbers nicely. It has a red sticker from ABM of London on it and came with no manuals. The pads inside the metal
cylinder are still inside as is the white o-ring to make the whole case watertight.
The man who sold it to me is a collector of everything mechanical and old and he said he picked it up in London on a
collectors fair. The trace of the machine ends there for me but if anyone out there knows more about the origin of
this machine, feel free to contact me.
Your website was one of the best locations to get an overview about this lovely machine which was produced about 50
years ago. Thanks in advance for your work and keep the spirit of Hertzstark alive
Bloomington, Indiana in October, 2008. While on my way out of town I stopped at an antique mall and saw the
Curta in a display case filled with a variety of collectibles. An accompanying card indicated that the Curta
belonged to a single individual. I contacted the seller through the antique mall and found that the Curta
was purchased by Raglind Binkley in Germany for her father, Walter Herrel, an electrical engineer working
in South America at the time she purchased the calculator for him. He returned to Frankfort, Germany where
he worked for AEG until he retired. Upon his death a couple of years ago, the Curta passed back to Ms. Binkley,
who later decided to sell it in her booth at the antique mall with the hope that it would end up with someone who
would appreciate it. It did.
542195: I purchased this Curta at the estate sale of David B Selby who was involved in media production at Ohio
State University and an avid tool collector.
PS: Great web site.
I think, about £400. It is in excellent condition. I had bought one
previously but it was stolen from my house. I first came across the
Curta when I met Professor Cornelius Lanczos in 1962. He was a very
distinguished numerical analyst (among other things) and used it
extensively. I always wanted one since then. He worked at the time in
the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies
that appeared in Reader’s Digest in July of 2005.
1 – Type II
My Curta II has some flaws but is in working condition.
I’m an enthousiastic collector of slide rules and the first mechanical computing machines. So I knew that the
Curta exists, and I looked everywhere in Holland and I advertised many times, but I seemes that there are no
Curta’s in Holland or people does not want to sell them.
And of course…the money was a problem. At last I bought the Curta’s on the Internet. Not so romantic, but now I have them.
** 2009 **
The calculator is in an absolute mint condition. There is not even a smalest scratch on the metal case.Unfortunately the papers ( purchase note and the original instruction ) have been lost.
When I took my first 16 hour licensing exam in 1968 electronic calculators hadn’t been invented yet, office type calculators were not allowed because they were too noisy, and slide rules were not precise enough, so almost all the applicants used CURTAs. A few old-timers used log-trig tables. Imagine a room full of 50 to 100 surveyors all cranking away like crazy; it sounded like “The Attack of the Killer Bees”.
I often show my CURTA to young surveyors who weren’t born yet in 1972 and sometimes even let them hold it and do a simple calculation.
I enjoy your site very much. I think Olaf Veenstra’s animation is amazing.
Michigan, where the hotbed of the best rallyists in the United States belonged to the Ralligators.
Bill Braund taught me how to use his Curta and then I acquired my first one around 1970. I lost that Curta and then
happened upon my current one in the mid-70s from a mathematician/astronomer who used it to calculate star positions.
It went into retirement until 1985 when I entered One Lap of America with Gene Henderson and Su Kemper. Rally rules
did not allow electronic computers of any type. It was like visiting an old friend.
I was also working with a true German craftsman, Walter Dahm, who took a professional interest in this machine.
By “craftsman,” I mean when he graduated from his technical school his graduation project was to make a pocket watch
which he still possessed many decades later.
He would clean and lubricate my Curta meticulously while explaining to me why the cases have left-handed threads …
delicate optical and measuring instruments were stored that way so that you would pay particular attention as you
opened the case not to damage them. Meaning, it required a conscious effort to gain your attention so that the
device would not fall out and be broken.
It’s not only my love of mechanical ingenuity that will keep me holding on to my jewels from our past that include
a Halda Speedpilot and my abstract and ever-capable Curta, it’s the fact that I have a “war wound” on my chin from
the impact of my Curta clipping me during a M O N Y series event!!
My surveying career began following
my graduation from Wayne State University in 1960. Over the years I became a licensed surveyor in the states of :
Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Florida. I was appointed to the Board of Licensing for Surveyors for the State of Michigan
where I served for eight years; four years as the Chairman of the Board.
When I started surveying in 1960 all trigonometric calculations involved the use of a book ” Natural Sines, Cosines and
Tangents to Eight Decimal Places,” a pencil and ruled sheets of paper ; thus all calculations were ” long hand !” This
process was cumbersome but it taught ” attention to detail ” a must to be a good surveyor!
I am not sure of the year but believe it to be 1963 or 1964 that the Curta Type II became available and I bought one!
It was revolutionary, I could at last get rid of those ruled sheets of paper and not have to add those endless columns of
numbers. This change was for me, every bit as stunning as the HP electronic calculator was when it appeared in 1970!
Today, my Type II is in it’s original numbered box with the literature as sent by The Curta Company, Van Nuys, California.
I could not have passed the licensing exaninations in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Florida without my Type II curta!
In 1975 I found a place in Van Nuys that repaired Curtas and sent it in. Finding the damaged unit good only for parts, the repair person (John Hariton) sold me a reconditioned Type II for $55.00, with a trade-in allowance of $15.00. It’s now on a shelf with 2 slide rules (ca. 1928 and 1948), Leroy lettering set (ca. 1946), highway curves (ca. 1962), and a planimeter (ca. 1962). The Leroy and planimeter still see occasional use.
dome top case, as also the original sales brochure, instruction
manual and calculator booklet which all came with the calculator. It
is excellent condition, in fact the same condition as at time of
purchase. Every ounce in a while I take it from the case and lightly
lubricate it with sewing machine oil. It is a fantastic build hand
held mechanical instrument and I would never sell it.
I purchased the Curta Type II when I was a University Engineering
student before purchase I used a slide rule, I am now retired and so
is my Curta. I am sending this e-mail to you after reading many
interesting items about the Curta on various Internet web sites and
thought I would provide this info to you of interest.
to contemplate. At some point in the early 90s, I decided to go looking
for one. This was before the web, so I posted ads on Usenet. I found
one about an hour South of me and went to look. The owner lived in
a classic Santa Cruz mountain “squatter’s house”, spread wide and
furnished comfortably. He brought out a pristine Type I in its can,
and we quickly struck a deal. (Sadly, no documents.)
He told me “It’s a little sticky” and indeed it was. I had no idea what
I was doing, really, but I did a partial disassembly and got solvent
into the right places on the setting shafts to set it right again. A
little bit of Kano Microil and I haven’t had to lube it again in 15
The can is in good shape, with the white O ring intact. The bottom pad was
missing – I didn’t *know* that it should be there, but it seemed really
unlikely that the original design was metal on metal, so I installed a
pad of black closed cell foam.
I use it, very occasionally, for vintage rally… and wish I’d gone
looking for a Type II before everyone figured out what they’re worth!
its aluminum case. At that time I used it for time, speed, distance, (TSD)
sports car club rallyes. I participated in the 1960 (SCCA) Sports Car Club of
America’s Gaspe Canada) Rallye [ le Rallye Gaspesian ] with it. That was
an International Rallye which ran approximately 1000 miles from Caribou,
Maine, through the Gaspe Peninsula to Perce, in Canada, ending up in
I also used it for general calculating purposes (since this was before
electronic hand-held calculators) and a lot lighter and more convenient than
the Marchand and other heavy desktop electric calculators, and by far, more
accurate than the extensively used slide rule. I have also used a Type II
CURTA for the same purposes.
At the time, I did a lot of research on these calculators prior to purchase, on
the product and the developer, Curt Herzstark, an Austrian, who conceived
the idea for his calculators while a prisoner in the German concentration camp
Buchenwald, during World War II. A most interesting story!!!
Mine is still in mint condition and hardly ever used anymore because of the
availability of current electronic calculators and personal computers. I do
occasionally take it out and refresh my memory about its functions and
its proper usage…and the fun we had being able to make instant rallye
calculations and/or corrections with a simple turn of the crank.
While working intelligence, a source brought it to us thinking that it
was some sort of charging device for IEDs. I was the only person who
had ever heard of or even seen a mechanical calculator and I quickly
identified it as what it is. To this day, no one believes me unless I
show them your website.
After my father deceased I heritated of such a clculator which I find a very beautifull object and wich I’ve known for my entire life but I think it’s time for me to get rid of all that things from my past and look forward, so I want to sell this CURTA machine.
Here are the necessary informations : type I N° 63359, according to the informations on your site it seems to be a newest type I … I don’t know the production year !
Can you tell me if you are interested for purchasing my CURTA or if you know someone that could be interested in.
1 – Type II
Perfect condition except for some very minor scratching of the anodizing
on the bottom outside ring from the plastic case and from sitting on
I found out about the Curta calculator when doing a search for a large
electro-mechanical calculator that I used at the Alcoa Plant in Point
Comfort Texas back around 1973, when I was in College and working there
during the summer. I remember how neat it was to watch it perform a
multiplication. At that time the electronic calculators were already
available, so it was odd that these were still being used. Before that
time I had never seen any mechanical calculator other than the standard
add and subtract (10 key) type. When I was in Grade and High School in
the 1950s and 1960s, I was not aware of the Curta calculator.
So, several years ago (around 2001), I did a search for
electo-mechanical calculators and found out that the one I had used at
Alcoa was a “Friden”. As soon as I saw a picture of it, I remember it.
Well, I ended up buying one on the Internet. It is not fully operational,
however. Then I leaned that Friden produced a Square Root
electro-mechanical calculator. I have not bought one of these yet, but
would like to.
During my search for mechanical calculators on the Internet, I ran across the
Curta calculators. Wow, I was amazed! I then searched the internet for
information on these machines. Of course I had to have one! I bought
mine on the Internet from a guy here in Houston Texas (that way I could see
one in person) who bought it new and used it (rarely) for road rallies.
His name was W. Peter Romfh and he worked for Continental Airlines. I
believe that I paid about $850 for it. No steal, but about a normal
price at that time. I have since purchased a stepped cylinder for the
fun of it. And yes, like everyone, I would love to own a demonstrator
model. The Big bucks required for that purchase has put a damper on
that, at least for now. I love showing the Curta to friends. The young
guys are always amazed that calculations can be done mechanically. I am
always amazed that they can be done electronically. The mechanical way
is more mathematical and much more interesting. That is why these
machines have intrinsic value and old electronic calculators are throw
I just bought a Curta I to add to my Curta II and extra Stepped Cylinder. I had been thinking about getting a
Curta I for a long time. The size difference very apparent between the I and II, when they are placed next to each other or held in
your hand. Both are very contemporary looking in appearance.
Serial number: 50483
Assembled about 1962
Metal clearing ring
Metal case w/stick-on label
The machine is in un-used condition for all practical purposes. It is absolutely pristine.
1 calculator with #10253. The picture attached below is not the best photo, but it does show the metal case. The case has slight blemish, minor paint chips.
The calculator itself looks unused, and to be honest, I am afraid to use it since I do not know what I am doing.
I was given this from my grandfather, who was a civil engineer in the 50’s and 60’s. I would have thought he would have used this, but it does not appear so.
The reason for my email is that I would like to sell the calculator. While I found the history and background fasinating, I think it would be more appreciated
with an avid collector. I am not sure on how to go about finding out if it is in working order, valuing it and inevitably selling it. If either of you could
advise, I would be most appreciative.
I was (something like) 10-12 years old. It is in good condition (except for the crank but I hope I’ll be able to
have it repaired) . I have the original metal case and the handbook.
1 – Type II
I acquired the Type II from an engineering company I was working for in exchange for items they knew how to use. It has a leather case.
I was fascinated from the mechanics. It’s amazing to see such a complex mechanism in such small volume.
Later, I bought the Curta II myself as a birthday gift and I still enjoy it.
The unit is still in its original metal canister and is in excellent condition. Unfortunately I do not have the manuals.
use of calculators (with results shown in good algebraic form) I was well acquainted with the development of electronic calculators. I also had experience using and breaking
comptometers and various other electrically powered mechanical and simple mechanical calculators. I knew of Curtas from reading about automobile rallye events. Given all that
plus a habit of searching for the unusual piece of machinery on the Internet, it was only a matter of time. A few weeks ago I did a search for Curta. I was smitten, bought my Type II,
am thinking about collecting a few others and have been mining you web site on a daily basis. Great job!
The serial number is 5974 and it is in perfect condition. I am sending you some pictures.
If you can help me or give another person who can. I wonder if it is a piece of value and it is rare.
Sorry for the English blame Google.
listed on the Internet by a new user with no feedback. I took chance and got it
for a low price and it turned out to be a really nice machine. I always
look for mechanical calculating machines (and old specialty tools for
working on my old cars) whenever I go to antique stores. Glad to finally
be a Curta owner!
trade at Los Alamos National Laboratoy). I remember my father using it for various calculations in his shop. He tried several
times to teach me how to use with no luck. Then in 1973 he purchased an HP-45 and the CURTA was essentially never used again.
This one is in excellent shape and remarkable device.
Complete with casing, box with no. 50632 and manual in danish
It has been under my bed for the last 10 years, and now I would like to sell it.
3 – Type II
I am a systems engineer and within a year I made a complete collection of Curtas. Now I have 7 examples from
differents models and manufacturing periods. Bought in differents countries, all Curtas are in very good condition.
A brief description of each machine:
Type I #4312: (Condition: 8/10) Purchased from Marino H. of Aix en Provence, France, who overhauled it before being sold.
This machine is very old, with rounded input dials instead of the rectangular ones of the later design and the metal case opens counterclockwise.
Type I #45327: (Condition: 8/10) Purchased from Bernard R. of Neuchatel, Switzerland. This is my favorite example to use and
learn about the Curta and show to the people.
Type I #59504: (Condition: 9.5/10) Purchased from Francisco L. of Lima, Peru, originally bought in France. This machine has a
minimum (almost null) use and the condition is superb, with no scratches in the body and its metal container. It was stored
for more than 20 years without use.
Type I #78223: (Condition: 10/10) Purchased from Tony B. of Derby, U.K., please see description of Curta #558449 below.
Type II #501934: (Condition: 6/10) Purchased from Gabriel O. of Chascomus, Argentina, this is a very old type II example. As with the
#45327, I use this machine to learn about Curta algorithms.
Type II #531501: (Condition: 8/10) Purchased from Jerome G. of Les Sables d’olonne, France, originaly purchased in the USA. It is in
mint condition, with very few signs of use.
Type II #558449: (Condition: 10/10) Also purchased from Tony B. of Derby, U.K., this machine and #78223 was originally purchased to
a collector in London who purchased in 1972 for investment purposes at the end of production when nobody wanted them, preferring
electronic calculators. Both machines NEVER were used and they have the original card box and manuals in new condition. Possibly,
both machines are within the best preserved Curtas in the world!
Now I am building my own web site www.curta.com.ar devoted to my collection of Curtas and other old calculators and computers that
I have. I think it may be an early version available on october 2010.
I knew nothing about CURTAs until I found #9278 in a flea market in Birmingham UK, back in the early 80s; however, I know a bargain when I see one, so I paid the dealer his £10 and went away delighted (and have remained so ever since — if you’ve never owned a CURTA, you’ve never lived!).
#9278 came with a black LH-threaded dome-top metal container (no gasket), in its original serial-numbered corrugated cardboard box, all in mint condition and perfect working order. The box contained the statement of sale, plus a 6″ x 4″ 16-page instruction booklet that says a lot about the CURTA, but contains just 1 worked example (a multiplication — you have to figure out the other 3 operations for yourself). This booklet has a mustard-coloured cover showing a large hand holding a small CURTA, and has a part number of ’37 51 5 e’. On the rear cover, someone has hand-written ‘Douglas Brown Tel. HIG 3649’ (the original salesman perhaps, or maybe the service engineer).
Also in the box was a pre-printed letter from London Office Machines who, by now, were a division of Sweda Limited, based at Sweda House, Lower Belgrave Street, London SW1 (Tel. Sloane 0407). It is dated 3rd July 1963 (nearly 12 years after the sale; how’s that for customer service). It says:-
In view of the considerable expansion which has taken place during the last two years in our Sweda activities, it has been thought desirable in the interests of our Curta users to transfer this side of the business to a company, Automatic Business Machines (A.B.M), which will specialise in calculating machines. The whole of the Curta sales and service staff have now transferred to A.B.M. and will be fully equipped to give you every assistance in your requirements.
To those customers who have a service agreement with us, we are hereby giving formal notice of our intention to terminate these agreements at the end of the current year’s service, and A.B.M. will send them a new agreement for their approval on or before that date. In respect of those customers whose machines are still under guarantee, A.B.M. has agreed to take over this responsibility for these machines.
The address of A.B.M. is 15 Cromwell Road, London SW7, telephone number Kensington 8877, where all Curta enquiries should be sent in the future. We thank all our customers for their support in the past years, and know that they will receive every attention from the staff of the new company.
1 – Type II
find them impressive…..if only he knew! I was immediately taken with the brilliant design,
the incredible craftmanship, the beauty, and of course the genius that went into its invention.
I have been in the software business for 20 years, and since we can never ‘see’ what we
create, I love being able to touch a masterpiece like the Curta. I have 2 and hope to keep
buying them! I have even taught math class at my son’s school and had all the kids working
the Curta’s and the online simulator. It is far more ‘engaging’ than bunching buttons!
Time went by and my Curta Type I accompanied me during my college years and later on as a student at NYU where I got my MS in Physics. I couldn’t have made it without it! My Curta Type I also came along with me while working in the aerospace industry for almost thirty years.
It has been a long time since I first used my Curta and I STILL ENJOY PLAYING WITH IT and showing it to my friends. I have never dropped it and it has no scratches or dents. It has never been lubricated or repaired and it works like the first day I got it.
This morning I tried to remember how to calculate square roots on my Curta but my memory failed me and decided to search the procedure on the internet. I found not only the precise instructions to operate de calculator, but I also found Rick Furr’s site. I am pleased to register my calculator with the information given above.
Proud owner of a pristine Curta I.
** 2010 **
given to me by an old dear friend in 1970 and I just found it in a box of old Fishing paraphernalia.. 40 odd years later,
anything you could tell me about this very cool little calculator would be appreciated. I would like to sell it ! Look forward
to hearing from you. I understand how busy you must be. Best regards Russ
1 – Type II
SN 513431 – prime number CURTA
Visited Vaduz and the factory in 1962 but still couldn’t afford to buy one. With the advent of the electronic calculators, I lost
interest but revisited the issue in the late-90’s. Both great condition.
This Curta did his job with the mine surveyors. I found this when cleaning up the trays. It is the only “methane safe” calculator (because of the pure mechanical system) I saw in my career.
It is in a good condition and has the left threaded water tight container.
It needs some overhaul. By removing the bottom plate I saw an inscription on it from januari 1959 as: “xx.01.59 M”. I suppose this is a repair date. I saw also that there was a little spring out of his “hole”.
I think and hope it can be functional with a minimum of overhaul.
so nice a machine !!!!!!!!
equipment, and gave it to me for my collection. The case has 4 scratches on it and is missing its lower pad. The calculator
itself is clean, working and in good condition. Any idea what it is worth? I don’t intend to sell, just wondering.
and he was held prisoner until the end of the war. When he passed away 20 years ago, I found a pristine Curta calculator in
the metal case amoung his belongings. It is an amazing piece of equipment and an even better conversation piece.
Union with Switzerland) by Contina Ltd Mauren (System Curt Herzstark).
It was purchased by my father, former civil engineer, in April 8, 1959 here in Brazil. It works perfectly and has the original stell
case, warranty certificate and the manual for some reason was from Type I, but I was lucky to download one from Type II in English.
It became mine when I went to college in 1965. I have carried it around since and am interested in letting it go to a collector,
if anyone is interested. It’s in excellent condition with just a bit of rust on the bottom of the inside of the metal can it came
in. The can has an opposite open top and I have a “Computing Examples for the Curta” book , an instruction manual, (both from
Liechtenstein, where the device was made ) and a sales pamphlet from the Curta distributor in Van Nuys, Calif. (that is stamped
with a company in Seattle, WA)…..
I live in Brazil and I found and buy a Curta I , serial number 6321.
currently 21. It was said that the giver didn’t know how to use it. it
is so intricate even I get confused. I love the thing and I hope I
never lose it.
In the 80’s I was talking to a friend and the subject came up. He said he had one in his desk and I asked to see it.
He was not interested in selling, so I asked him if I could borrow it. I did. By the time I was ready to return it,
he was in Japan on assignment for 2 years. When he came back, I offered to buy it. He hesitated, said yes and said
he would sell it for $20. SOLD.
It is in great condition with the case.
My name is Eric Francis and I’ve recently become a Curta Type II
owner. My father, who passed away last month, had one among his
effects. I don’t know the circumstances under which he acquired it;
his infantry unit served in Europe at the end of WWII, and he stayed
on as a civilian employee of the occupation through about 1950, but I
believe his Curta was manufactured several years later. However, he
was a lifelong admirer of Teutonic ingenuity and I suspect he bought
one Stateside when he ran across it.
The Curta is in excellent condition as far as I can tell, except for
one thing: The carriage ring will not turn past the numeral 8, though
it is numbered up to 15. I’ve run it through a few of the exercises in
the Your Curta Calculator fold-out instructions and it came up with
the correct sums/products/etc. I also have the booklet Computing
Examples for the Curta Calculating Machine, though I’ve not delved
into it as of yet. I also have the black, bullet-shaped case.
The Curta’s serial number is 521119, and it was made in LIechtenstein
by Contina Ltd. Mauren.
I love this little machine and hope to get the hang of working it
better. It’s all very steampunk!
Theatre in Houston for the properties department. We are doing a new play called Intelligence Slave by Kenneth Lin about the
invention of the first Curta in the concentration camp. We need to build multiple prototype Curtas for the play and while
researching online has been very helpful, it is difficult to find out information about the history behind these calculators.
Any information you have either historically or just from actually holding one of these calculators that you think would help
us to build something accurate would be greatly appreciated. Also, if you know of any resources or people around Houston, TX
that might be helpful that I could contact I would appreciate it. I’ve emailed the three people off the Collectors page that
put Houston in their address already and hope to hear back from one of them. Thank you so much for your time.
hand grenade (teenager) I don’t think it has ever been used apart from me seeing if it worked it is still in its corrugated
PS amazing web site.
can take part in a mid-day auction. So, I got a really good deal.
My Curta is in new condition. No signs of wear on the body, or case. It came in the original box. The box is also stamped with the
same serial number as on the calculator’s base.
While in high school, In the late 50’s and early 60’s, I read Scientific American every month. I did not understand any of the articles.
But, I could understand, and enjoyed Martin Gardner’s monthly column; Mathematical Games and Derivations?. In almost every issues there
was an ad for the Curta Calculator. Now I own one. It is a piece of history, a work of art, and a mechanical wonder.
Martin Gardner died several weeks ago. All of us, who enjoyed his column, morn his passing.
would be good to ask you to include myself in the list just for the record that a Curta was also landed in Indonesia around 37 years ago.
I got this incredible machine from my uncle in the early 1973 as a gift. I personally used this beautiful calculator during my first
year in college in 1973, but then replaced it with an HP-35 pocket electronic calculator sometimes in 1974.
I have no idea when and where my uncle purchased it. Also, I have no knowledge about such machine prior to getting it and, after I
got it, I just used it with pride as my all other classmates were using slide rules at that time. Operating Curta during an exam or
a lab work had always put a little bit of embarrasment and “joy”, as the sound generated by the machine when I performed the
calculations by cranking it spread out to the whole room.
Since 1974, my Curta has “retired”, but I still keep it in my storage until today. Unfortunately, the manual is missing. The machine
is still in its aluminium round box, but due to high humidity, the bottom pad became brittle and has disappeared already and the two
screws at the bottom of the machine are already corroded (see the scanned picture attached).
hand threads and is very nice with a small dent and a scuff mark. I received the Curta from the widow of a geophysicist that was
an eclectic gather like me. He had an old Triumph in storage too so he may have thought about rally too.
I too am surrounded by Boy Scouts and now a girl Scout too, so I know what you mean! Thanks for your hard work on the web site.
1 – Type II
38566 is my second Curta. I wanted a smaller one for day-to-day use. This one needs a little work, so will probably go to the shop soon.
a defense contractor company. In order to produce accurate prices that were correct down to the decimals, and to do volume discounts,
etc? he needed something like the Curta. He bought it on a trip to Europe at some point.
He gave it to me after he retired. I’ve had it ever since, and delight occasionally in showing it to some of my colleagues here in
the IT department?
It truly is a marvelous mechanical device!
1 – Type II
HP calculator. I quickly felt the urge to own one and since it would pop up in most of the searches I did on Google, I decided to
try my luck. I did buy two on the Internet but quickly sold them back, making a decent profit both times. As soon as I did, I knew I had made
a mistake! Time passed and I forgot about Curta for a while. Then a couple of months ago, the urge came back. I went back on the Internet
and won an auction for a type I with serial number 10024 in excellent condition. It even has a distinctive mark that is not due to
abuse but to an error in manufacturing : the  appearing on the upper knurled ring is clearly made of three superposed little circles
instead of two. The upper collar also bores the famous “System Curt Herzstark” engraving which I understand was more common on lower
serial number type I Curtas. It works flawlessly!
I am also the proud owner of a very early type 2 Curta (SN 503487) which I found on the Internet in the classified ads! It came with
its original metal can and both are in pristine condition! The ad had been in the classifieds for almost a full month and only a few
people had visited it. I thought I had a chance so I contacted the seller and offered him to buy it. We reached an agreement and the
rest is history.
Knowing my father would probably be interested in these, I contacted him recently and asked if he knew about Curtas. His answer
completely took me by surprise : not only did he know about them but he had one that my grandfather gave him a short time before he
passed away. Even better, I learned that the later not only sold these in the fifties, but he was one of the very few trained and
authorized repairman in North of France! What a coincidence or was it?
I’m still hoping to find a complete kit with the cardboard box, but seing how much these sell for on the Internet. I think I’ll never be able
to fulfill this desire. I would also dream of finding one in a yard sale as many here apparently did ; I think it must be the ultimate
experience for a Curta aficionado to find one this way!
had used it years ago, he was a civil engineer with the forestry department for almost 4 decades. “He used it for counting trees
or something” she said. In March 2010 I was doing some renovations in her house and saw it again. I asked her about it and she
gave it to me. It is in excellent to near mint condition. The plastic can has a few dings and scratches, the ‘target’ label on
top is undamaged and the ‘Curta Open’ label has a tiny bit of the the top left corner label folded over, looks like came that
way, not new damage. It has both top and bottom bumpers inside. The Curta Type I has only a few tiny paint nicks, one on the
crank-knob and a few on the bottom, on the ring not the plate. Some of the paint is worn off the top edge of the bottom ring
where it rests in your palm during use. The biggest loss though is the missing clearing lever. It still has all five decimal
markers on the top ring, but only two of the three bottom ones. I just love precision made tools, the Curta tops my list, just
above automatic watches, watches are not versatile enough to beat the Curta for top spot.
The Curta was lovingly used. The metal case is lightly worn, for the calculator itself, a slight bit of rubbing wear on the knurls is the only evidence of use.
4 Tollerton Ave.,Toronto, Ontario, CANADA
2 – Type II
(very good idea for the Curta community, if there was some way of searching the serial numbers against names it would be
great security for buyers). By the way, I’m very impressed by the poster, nice job. Hope I can do half as well getting
those patent diagrams printed out and framed!
I learned of the existence of the Curta from Pattern Recognition, and after finding a bit more about them, knew I had to have
one – and after finding more about them, knew I had to have one of each type! I got #8335 from Jack Christensen, a near-perfect
example of an early type 1 (thanks Jack!) after a total teardown and replacement of parts from his NOS collection. #511869 is an
excellent, really clean all-metal type 2. #545150 has the plastic canister and crank, and works perfectly, no dings or major
scratches, but needs a good cleaning when I have the time. Both type 2s were bought on the net. Still looking for a nice all-black
type 2 and a “cosmetically challenged” type 1, if anyone’s interested in selling, and would be willing to trade up using #545150,
which is in good shape overall.
(update)As in my previous message to you, thank you for creating and maintaining your excellent website, thanks for the great poster etc etc.
Just a quick note – the Curta on my desk that I use for everyday calculations is 40579; the serial number is engraved above the other
lettering on the baseplate (your website lists the newest known one of these somewhat prior to mine). Also, just FYI I am still trying
to run down just how many early grey-body type 2s had the original setting-slider arrangement – BB-RRR-BBB-RRR rather than the standard
BB-R-BB-R-BB-R-BB seen on virtually every type 2. This variant can be seen at www.curta.li – the site owner, Murff, calls it a “Bernerin”.
The owner of 512132 informs me that his machine is of the later (standard) knob grouping; this makes the series a maximum of 1499
machines (from 510633 to 512132). I own 511869 and would be interested in another one if I ever see one for sale.
I’d also let 29468 go if you know anyone in the market for a very-fine-to-excellent example!
I purchased mine on the Internet from a man in England. His father was its original and only owner.
1 – Type II
with plastic case.
Both are in very good condition.
I got them on the Internet in Spain and Austria to the prices of 496 and 500 Euros respectively.
Concerning me, I am fond of all instruments of calculation.
I have about 100 slide rules and mechanical calculators about 40, apart from abacus and other things.
Greetings and congratulations on your WWW page.
(This is a Google translation)
1 – Type II
instantly intrigued and started to look on the Internet. After over a year of
hunting, I won a Type II. But, as I wanted a Type I, I went to Italy Curta
Service (that luckily is at 25 km from my home town) and we made a deal. Now
I have my Type I!
I’ve been admiring Curtas for years, and finally decided to buy one. It’s not in perfect condition, but everything seems to work; the only
significant flaw is that the foam pad in the base of the case has hardened and partly crumbled. …Oh, and now I see that if I’m not careful
in setting the numbers on the setting knobs, the knobs may fall between numbers, which this Curta seems to treat as a 9. So I’ll have to be careful about that.
Note, I am looking for a CURTA TYPE II in perfect condition with Metal case.
decided that the obsession wasn’t going to go away and I took the plunge. It’s 3 Dec 2010 and I’ve just taken delivery of my Type II, SN 533985. I have no idea
of its history. It came with the original manuals in French, but no information on the original owner. I’d never used one before. What a fantastic piece of equipment!
I’ve been showing if off in the office today. I have yet to find someone who has seen one before, even amongst the old engineers in the office.
Thanks for all your work in keeping vcalc.net up and running. A fantastic resource for us newbies.
during my childhood. Has always sat on shelf and been played with occasionally. Then in 2010 I met a road rally navigator who had one. When I picked it up off
her desk she told me to be very careful with her precious device!! She was surprised that I knew what it was and how it worked!
It was a reluctant exchange as the donor had borrowed the bins and either lost them or preferred them!
but likely it was in England. I’m sure he would have actually made use of it, as he was a scientist. However, since electronic calculators came along, it ended
up in his cupboard, where I discovered it as a child. I recently went back to clear out my house and found it again, in almost perfect condition, probably due
to it being sealed in its metal case. A couple of the adjustors on the side were slightly stuck due to a tiny bit of rust, but I got it working again. Indeed
it’s one of the most beautifully designed and made pieces of equipment I’ve ever seen. I will be keeping it purely in appreciation of this.
I punched it online after reading the fascinating story that appeared in the Readers Digest several years ago.
3 – Type II
SN 548699 (Skeleton)
intrigued by it. Yes, the Curta can do that to you, as attested by so many owners. It has a unique charm that cannot be
described. In addition to collecting the machines themselves, or “pepper grinders”, I also collect some Curta-related literature.
** 2011 **
and from a young age studied computer architecture. At the age of 12 I purchased a brand new completely mechanical
Lancaster bomber bombsight computer via the Wireless World magazine. At 14 I made myself a programmable computer using
old surplus Post Office relays which were purchased in job lots again from the same magazine. This machine had similar
calculating attributes to the Curta but took 20 minutes to perform a division and occupied approx. one cubic yard!
After growing up with all the HP pocket programmable calculators and progressing on to orbital dynamics calculations
using the DEC VAX super-minis and mainframes I longed to revert to the look and feel of the old mechanical era. I was so
pleased therefore, to come across your web site and subsequently purchase a Curta for myself on the Internet. It is in near mint
condition and works perfectly and is a real find considering the most realistic price I paid for it. It is a type II with
the plastic case and flat-topped handle. The metal case of the machine is fine crinkle grey and the sliders are coloured
BBRBBR…etc and slide very easily. There are no scratches or marks anywhere on the Curta or its case and all the numbers
are finely engraved and easily readable. Since it’s acquisition, I’ve worked through all the calculations in your literature
and looked at all the videos and kinematic CAD models. What an amazing machine. Hats off to Curt Herzstark.
it works properly. I got it from a friend living in Munich, and he got it from a neighbor, who didn`t know, what
to do with it. My friend thought, I could be interested in such a strange thing. At first I didn`t know too, what it
is. But now I know it!
dresser’s bed’s boxes bag’s to the curb for trash.I walked across the street and asked what was going on. They said the
person who lived their died and his family paid them to clean out the house. They said if i see something I’d like to have
help myself to it. So i started looking threw the boxes and came across a small brown. Inside i found this curta in it’s
steel case in mint condition also in the box was the Manual and warranty paper’s. If you know or could fined out I’d like
to know the year and month it was manufactured, it’s a truly beautiful machine. Thank you for your time respectfully.
(1975-1978). Curta, saw that they could not compete, and offered the reminder of their stock for CHF 50.- (about $15 at that time)
to high school students. I bought it thinking it was cool. Since then, I became a mechanical engineer, and have shown it to many
engineering colleagues drawing many ooooohhhs and aaaahhhhs!
I found this one on the Internet. It’s in excellent condition.
specifically the HP-67 and the HP-97. Several CURTAs appear on a vintage calculator site daily, but I did not even bother looking at
them until several months had passed. Then I realized that they were indeed a unique item because they seemed to be in great demand.
I began following them, looking up everything I could find on the internet about them.
One day in late 2010, one came up for a good price for 3 days. Realizing that another opportunity like this one would never come by
again, I swooped in and did the deed. It arrived from Washington, D.C. a week later, securely and very safely packaged. It is in mint
condition, always having been stored in its container. The previous owner told me that it was formerly owned by one of the developers
of our modern GPS technology. It has turned out to be quite a conversation piece. I have even started visiting antiques malls,
asking around carefully if anyone has ever seen such a device. One fellow at our local antiques mall told me he knew exactly what
I was talking about, had seen one in Cleveland and bought it before it even went up for display.
The YouTube video showing how to extract the square root of a number using the CURTA is fascinating. With practice, I suppose it
could extract any root of any number. Sure wish someone would write down the steps, however.
can still has an Oscar Mayer metal ID tag on it). He used it at work and in road rallying. I’ve had it since his death in 1977.
well known Architect Prof. Orhan Safa. It is in good condition and still working. Came across your website looking for ways for the
maintanance of the calculator. Your site is full of valuable information and I admire your passion in this ingenious piece of machinary.
I have a collection of slide rules and mechanical calculators. A workmate showed me his Curta and I was hooked.
I searched on the Internet and found this very good condition Series II, I placed the winning bid 10 seconds before the auction
closed by upping the bid by $1 from my mobile phone while I was on the beach.
Two times it was sold here in Sweden at auktion:
2006 Stockholm Type II abt $ 500
2008 Gothenburg Type I abt $ 350
who purchased it in the Middle East and later emigrated to the Canadian Yukon. I presume this unit was manufactured in early 1952.
The unit is in perfect working order thank goodness as I had no intention of letting my curiosity get the better of me by opening it up.
This site has helped cull my need to tinker by letting me see the inner workings with the great illustrations and demonstrations.
The metal case, sales brochure, manual and introduction book are all in great shape. I was intrigued by the seemingly complex nature
of such a device. I get so much satisfaction hearing the gears turn with such precision. I wish I had more to contribute to this site,
but for now I am fascinated by the history and depth of interest by so many people here.
I purchased this calculator in May of 1967. My girlfriend and I were on vacation in Europe from our jobs with the US Embassy in Khartoum,
Sudan, Africa. I was working as a geodetic surveyor conducting mapping surveys in the deserts of eastern Sudan.
While on vacation we visited an engineering supply store in Kaiserslautern, Germany where I purchased Curta #539629 new for around $150 US.
I used the calculator on numerous engineering and mapping projects at many remote locations around the world including the Norsk Polarinstitutt
expedition of 1971 up in the Arctic regions of the Spitzbergen Archipelago. I still take it out of my showcase occasionally to enjoy making
mechanical calculations as a nostalgic exercise. It still works perfectly and I still marvel at its exquisite and precise engineering.
with the 4 arithmetical rules. I have had this for some 20 yaers and used the machine in my job as a engineer.
It was advertised in our college internet site.
far from Sao Paulo City.
Just one Type II unit, with original manual and case.
Recently I became a happy owner of this fantastic device which is Curta Calculator. As a Mechanical Engineer, I am very
impressed with such mechanism and its precision. I researched Internet to evaluate my unit’s age and using all calculation
methods I discovered it was manufactured between 1955 and 1957. It’s amazing!
This Curta was owned by a friend, an old English engineer which spent his last years in Brazil, near my parents house.
Since his widow decided to move to another place, she gave this unit and other objects to my parents as a gift in recognition
of the years of loyal friendship. So, considering I am the only Engineer in the family and that I have particular interest in
ancient engineering devices, my parents decided to give it to me. I didn’t know any thing about such kind of calculator so far,
so I researched Internet to find more information about it. This is how I found this website. Using age calculation by serial
number, I think my unit was manufactured between 1955 and 1957. Besides it works pretty well, it’s embedded of very interesting
history which I’m proud to tell to friends visiting my house! Regards from Brazil, Curta people! Thanks Rick!
and totally forgot about it for 40 years until my daughter alerted me to this web site. It brings back memories of my misspent youth!
HP-41CV w/surveying 1 and math stat. and manuals. HP-48SX w/cogo card. HP-48GX w/cogo gx/sx and 128k. The Curta is in very good shape
and the calculators are used but also in very good shape. Briefcase stored in the field, so as not to be exposed to dust. I have custom
leather case for 48 gx and stock vinyl Hp cases for the others. Curta has plastic case and original instructions.
Chief Scientist at Hughes Aircraft. He designed the guidance system for the first Falcon air-to-air missile and worked on the first
moon lander. I know he used his CURTA and a slide rule on these and other projects. He loved mechanical gadgets – anything from
cameras to calculators. When Dad passed away my Mother gave me his CURTA which is in like new, mint condition.
2011 and I found it while going through his things.
in medicine, in the 1960s, when I was a kid. I remember it well. My sister and I could earn pocket money using Curta to
do some of the seemingly endless calculations for him.
My father died recently, and I’ve now become the proud owner. It’s in quite good condition, not having been used for many years.
(but no original instructions). (Last used by my father, an engineer, in about 1960)
I inherited this device from my grandfather who ordered it from Montgomery Ward on July 2, 1962.
information, magazine add, 51 page booklet of computing examples, instruction booklet and plastic container. It
seems to be in excellent condition.
had to have one. Lost out on many on the Internet and finally won one from England.
gentleman selling it had any idea of what it was, or it’s function. My mother bought it because she felt it was “interesting”.
She gave it to me because she thought I could use it for my work. I was a surveyor at the time.
It has a green body, and has a black plastic case.
Cost a bit ! but rec’d it last Friday & it’s in excellent condition without box but c/w perfect plastic container & all the instructions.
I’ve also a collection of mechanical watches, my contacts in that field are also fascinated by the Curta.
Perfect working condition, plastic storage case
in Geneva in about 1965-66. It has s/n 63721 and was purchased by me
from Papeterie Delachaux S.A. at 27 Croix D’Or, Geneve when we were
in Switzerland on vacation. The project I had in mind for it never
came to pass, and so it has sat on shelves in various houses in
England and since 1968 in the USA. As a result it works just fine, as
it always has done on rare test calculations, is in as-new condition,
with unscratched plastic case, and with printed instructions, a
printed guide dated 1964 and a single sheet guide to “computing
examples”. All are still in the original box too, and that is hardly
marked itself. Looking at the serial number, and the date range in
which I know I bought it, confirmed by the dated literature and the
years in which we visited Geneva (just one time by car from England),
I can see that some of the methods for deriving year of manufacture
from serial numbers must be in serious error. But it’s just one data
I’ve been retired now for about 20 years, and when I see the prices
asked, I think it is time to pass it on to somebody who wants one more
than I do!! I guess I’d better get my camera going and fire up on
the Internet. Many thanks for an interesting web site.
It was in a funny box with straw like string covering the box sides and top. Inside were the two instruction manuals and a guarantee from the
Gilbert Sales Company, Fort Lauderdale, FL. And a glossy black metal case that opened, what I thought odd, backwards (clockwise). Inside the
case was this fascinating calculating machine in very good condition. It showed wear consistent with use and worked perfectly. I was smart enough
to read the instructions prior to attempting use of the device. I put it through the accompanying example math calculations and it performed
flawlessly. I guess it is true the saying that “one man’s trash is another’s treasure”. I intend to keep it unless offered a lot for it…
will check on it for more details and let you know. As told, it was my Dad’s, it looks brand new except for the manual which is kind of deteriorated.
After a several years of lobbying I convinced my wife to let me buy one for my 40th birthday In 2011 I purchased this Curta from Romano at Italy
Curta Service (who I can recommend highly) as I wanted one that had been serviced. Luckily it was also in genuine mint condition. Before this the
Curta was owned by a collector in Germany.
It belonged to my father whom i belive bought it somewhere around 1955 and 1960. If there is somebody interested in buying it, fell free to contact me…
1 – Type II
In perfect condition – barely used at all “It is a thing of joy and beauty.”
Finally found the one I wanted on a website, talked with the owner and made the purchase. Much $$. Number 77194 is in “same as new” condition
and looks as if it had never been used when I received it. It had belonged to a Phd in mathmatics, I was told, and was bought new by him.
He is now in a nursing home and his niece decided to sell what she said was one of his favorite possessions. I told her to tell Uncle Brad that
she sold it to the right person because I will treasure it as he did.
When I returned home I used it successfully for computung payroll for a young business until the electronic calculator took over.
Just sent it to Jack Christensen who replaced a clearing lever and reported that it was in great shape. The details are:
CURTA Type I No. 34206, Black Metal Case, “Instruction for the Use of the CURTA”, Brown cardboard box with the serial number on the cover.
After a craving of almost 6 years I finally pulled the trigger on a mint Type 1 (SN 77545). The person I got it from also got it [the Internet]
and no information on its origin is available, though the manual has “received in 1967” handwritten on its cover.
I got it some thirty years ago. Do you want me to send you some photos?
I’m interested to sell it.
Congratulations for the phantastic work you’ve been doing. Great.
3 – Type II
and links to other useful Curta sites.
I became aware of Curta calculators a few years ago when doing a voluntary work placement at GeoScience Australia (the Australian Government
Geological Survey). Scattered around the building are display cabinets housing all sorts of outmoded but very beautifully constructed scientific
and surveying instruments, including a number of Curta calculators. Curiosity got the better of me, and after reading about the Curta, I was hooked.
Ever hopeful, I am always popping into antique shops and 2nd hand shops to see what I can find, but the pickings are slim in Australia and I
have never seen a Curta for sale. I also tried this strategy when travelling through Spain and Morrocco …. alas, it is only the lucky few that
can tell those $15 junk store bargain stories.
Eventually I bit the bullet, and made a purchase the Internet. My first Curta was a pristine very late type 1, for which I paid way too much …
a fact not helped by the then very weak Aussie dollar. Still, it was a lovely machine, and soon I was thinking about getting a second Curta ….
so I had “one of each” (a type 1 and a type 2). Pretty quickly I discovered that there that many subtle variations out there that there is no way
I could hope to own them all …. and then there’s the whole “prime number” thing.
As a means of limiting my desire for these machines I decided that it would be good to aim for nice examples of what I perceive as the significant
production variations based on the evolution of the canister. For me this comprises a total of nine machines, six type 1’s and three type 2’s.
Of these, I so far have the following eigth:
Type 1 4440 – pin slider – “Curta Reschenmachine” engraving – Right hand canister – engraved “CURTA” with square “A” – original manuals and black sliding carton (original?)
Type 1 7430 – normal sliders – “Curta Reschenmachine” engraving – Left hand canister – engraved CURTA with square “A” – original manuals
Type 1 38872 – normal sliders – all metal construction – unusual baseplate with number on top – Left hand canister – engraved CURTA with round “A” – original manuals and carton
Type 1 52241 – normal sliders – plastic crank – metal clearing ring – Left hand metal canister with decal rather than engraving – all original papers, manuals and carton
Type 1 78106 – normal sliders – plastic crank – plastic clearing ring – plastic canister with decal – original manuals and carton
Type 2 503302 – all black construction, short metal crank – metal canister – engraved CURTA with round “A” – original manuals
Type 2 511861 – grey painted body (transitional type) – grouped coloured sliders – long metal crank – metal canister with decal rather than engraving
Type 2 546850 – grey painted body – “normal” slider arrangement – plastic crank – plastic clearing ring – plastic canister with decal – original manuals
…. I remain on the lookout for an early type 1 in the 2### serial number range with “Curta Reschenmachine” engraved on the canister.
After WWII my father Samuel Koffsky, who was Chief Engineer at the Simmons Machine Tool Corporation (Albany, NY) traveled to Europe at the behest
of the Marshall Plan and his company. Simmons was a leader in building standard and specialized machine tools and had worked 24/7 during the war
supplying arsenals around the country with specialized machines as well as manufacturing basic machine tools installed on the Navy’s largest ships.
He returned with rebuilding contacts for the company. He also brought back a Curta and an agreement for Simmons to become a distributor in the US for
the calculator. He used the Curta regularly along with his slide rule on the job and it was a permanent fixture on his desk. He died in 1953 having
never come into the digital age and I inherited his Curta.
I used the Curta in high-school and took it to college only to have it subsequently stolen. After a number of years, when I could afford it, I bought
a new Curta from The Curta Company in Van Nuys and that is the one I am interested in selling. It is in like new condition as I was by then using
digital calculators and had no use for it. I have all of the original literature that came with the Curta including Your CURTA Calculator,
Mathematical Handbook, and Computing Examples for the CURTA Calculating Machine (from Contina AG).
Additionally I have an original sales brochure in English with the Simmons-Curta Business Machines information overprinted on the back. I have spent
a bit of time searching for information on this early Curta/US connection but to no avail. Please find below the image of the front and back of this
brochure. Any information your could provide would be greatly appreciated. As mentioned above, I am interested in selling the Curta and its accompanying
materials and would likewise appreciate any information you could provide on proceeding forward.
original white O-ring. The calculator is in pristine condition. My uncle took very good care of his toys and so do I. I’d be interested in a manual to
accompany this unit if I could find one.
It has the metal shell, the original instructions, and a leather case with strap.
The metal clearing ring was broken when I received it but other than that it was *perfect*.
I had Jack Christensen ship me a NOS ring. I have a great time fixing that! So, it was pretty cool that I it was damaged when I got it.
I got a German version of the repair manual (thanks to Ernie Jorgenson) and learned a lot about the workings without taking it all apart. I’ll leave that to others…
I like to play with it, and have started trying to learn cube root calculations. A fine instrument that deserves to be used, IMO.
back into the case. His hands were a-whirl and I always wanted to know what he was doing, but he was adamant that we were not allowed to touch his
Curta, which was one of his prized possessions!
My Dad is now gone for several years, and when my mother asked if I was interested in some of his old hats, the prized Curta was hiding underneath!
Finally, I am now the proud owner of my very own Curta Model II (and have also been able to add my Fathers collection of interesting slide rules to my own)!
Dark Roasted Blend dot com ran a full page article today on mechanical calculators, and spent the first half on Curta’s. http://www.darkroastedblend.com/2008/09/stunningly-intricate-curta-mechanical.html
1 – Type II
It is in near mint condition complete with its metal box and original foam rubber shock absorber. The only deviation from mint is a slight patina on the
two metal screws in the bottom – excusable for one so near the beginnings. This is definitely the pride of the collection.
The second is also Type 1, but much later serial 76436. It is mint and comes with its original metal case and the original cardboard box in which it
was sold, all in mint condition, including its instruction booklet. It was owned by the seller’s grandfather who worked for one of the large business
machine companies. It was probably given to him as a gift and was then stowed by him fairly rapidly on a shelf where it stayed keeping in pristine condition.
The third is a Type 2, better than excellent and complete with its metal case and a leather carrying case into which that slides.
All three Curtas are in perfect working order. They were purchased (at very reasonable prices) on the Internet to form part of a larger collection of
approaches to calculation from the first publication of logarithms (in the early C17) through to the “vanishing point” of the HP-35.
he worked as accounting manager at a small firm imporing American cars to Sweden
This CURTA belonged to my father, Marcus Hagen. He was a design engineer and appreciated the design and workmanship of the unit.
I only remember seeing him use it on rare occasions and then it was placed back in its case and stored away. When he died several
years ago, it became mine. I am currently looking for a good home for it.
Silver Pawn” of “Pawn Stars” fame. You have a clip of my CURTA at the end of your site.
They gave me a sweet deal, much less than what they purchased it for (from the video).
I’ve used your instructions and am now fluent with “The 4 arithmetical rules”.
Thanks for the very informative web site!
It is a legacy to the modern computer, and a brilliant device. This one has a sticker from the shop where it
was sold on the bottom that reads:
10, RUE AUX OURS – PARIS
9 R N D DES VICTOIRES – PARIS
TEL 887 46 80
Couldn’t afford one on my allowance. Bought it on the Internet in 2009.
It was well used at the time but is still in excellent working order as it has been kept in its bakelite case ever since it became redundant.
I was searching Yahoo for a user manual as I could not remember exactly how it worked. The internet not only provided the manual but had
links to your site and the history of the machine. Amazing, I did not imagine that so much information would be available.
My Curta was given to me by my mother. It was originally my dad’s curta and he used it for TSD (time/speed/distance) road rallies.
Before he had this Curta he had an older type 1 Curta, which one day when he was using it the gears and springs inside all broke
and went everywhere. He sent it back to Liechtenstein to be repaired and instead of fixing it they sent him a new Curta type 2.
It’s in its container and I managed to obtain an instruction manual FOC from HILTI A.G in 1972.
In about 1973 I had to make a trip to Salisbury which was then Southern Rhodesia and at customs I was made to demonstrate it whilst the
customs officials sheltered in the back of the room in case it was an explosive device. This was during the War of Independence of Zimbabwe.
I thought was a decent deal on the Internet of all places. Unfortunately it currently needs some small parts in the upper lid, and did not come with
a case. Hopefully it will be restored to operational before too long. If it is not repairable I guess I will have to find another one!
Thanks for the neat site and maintaining the Registry.
Way back when I purchase a Type 1(SN 10342) but sadly after consulting with Jack Christensen I decided to pass it along to another enthusiast
rather than repair it. So I purchased this Type 1 to replace it. I bought it, again via eBay, from an old car rallyist’s son. This was great as I am interested in them
for their role in early rallye history. I have actually used this one on a couple of TSDs after reading up on some techniques and talking with the older rally boys who
still come to events.
First heard about the Curta calculators after reading the January 2004 Scientific American article. Could not put it out of my mind.
Such an amazing device and even more amazing story of creation. Finally did the Internet thing until I succeeded. Am still learning how
it works and how do calculate.
I found from fleamarket in Istanbul. Also I never paid! Free of charge!!
Because tthe seller dont know what its for.
I look forward to taking it to work to show some of my fellow Manufacturing Engineers
and some of the other folks who would appreciate it, but never knew the Curta existed.
This past weekend I became the proud owner of a Curta when the FedEx truck stopped in
front of our house….I guess that technically I had become the owner a few days prior
when I hit the “Buy It Now With PayPal” button on the Internet.
It’s a fairly early Type I with S/N 20112 and from the dating method I figure it to be from
around late 1952, possibly early 1953….. putting it a few months older than myself.
Hey, maybe we were both conceived on the same day….I’ll have to ask my father if he
remembers screaming out “Curta” during that magic moment in late September 1952.
The auction write-up had several very clear photos and seller touted the unit as being mint,
along with the case. It also came with the original serialized box, and though a bit tattered I
spent some time patching up the tears and it now looks quite well. Also included was the
original instruction manual dated 10/28/50 and the unfilled warranty card.
The seller stated mint and he wasn’t kidding. I have always had an ability for incredible
attention to detail, which can sometimes be a curse, just ask my wife. I don’t believe this
gorgeous device or the metal case ever spent more than a few brief minutes outside of
the cardboard box…..it’s really that sweet.
I had been checking out the Curtas on the Internet for a couple years prior and once I made the
purchase, I spent quite a bit of time on your website learning how it worked. I never had
the desire forty years ago to own a Curta, since I had to have one of the new four function,
red led-display Bowmar’s, A/C adapter, rechargable batteries and beautiful zippered case.
Eighty bucks new and these days for a dollar at the Dollar Tree you can get more functions.
That’s the story Rick and thanks again for the great and informative website.
2 – Type II
I have two others, but will have to give their serial numbers later, presently being serviced by Master Jack!
You can see, two of them are very early. 3605 came from Australia. 500315 came to me from Wales, but had apparently been in China (has a label,
Shewan Tomes & Co Ltd Hong Kong Distributors, on the case bottom). 73368 has a Servco Surveyors Service Co…Costa Mesa CA label on the lower case,
outside. 511525 has alternating groups of three red knobs-three black, repeating, from right to left: 3 red, 3 black, 3 red, 3 black. My other
type I came from a Canadian surveyor. All from the Interent. My other type II came from the accountants’ area of a major Canadian Beer company,
indirectly via the Internet.
I have taught myself some leather-work, and gotten guidance from Jack C., and have made good leather cases for nearly all my little collection. I taught middle and high school math and sciences for over 40 years, and used one of my Curtas – very carefully! – to enrich a number of the lessons. It fascinated many of my students, and several clearly fell in love with it!
** 2012 **
1 – Type II
I used it until we calculated with IBM 1130 and STRESS (Structural Engineering System Solver).
I found you site, I am glad not to be allone with the mechanical wonder, both work very well,
back in the day (like, starting in the 40’s or 50’s), and had various
other calculating machines, including a “Rapid Calculator” desk
machine, and a pocket circular slide rule.
The Curta is in a nice metallic cylinder storage case, which has a
sticker inside it for “CURTA Calculators of Canada Ltd.” I doubt it’s
ever really been cleaned, so there’s a little schmutz that’s built up
in the slots for the decimal balls. Other than that, it’s in great
condition. Works like a dream. Beautiful design, fantastic
his time in the service. I do not know if it was used by him in the military service for sure but I do remember him and my uncle, also in
the Marines, using it at home many years ago.
I Just recently moved about 2 weeks ago and just unpacked it along with a bunch of antiques I have collected over the years and actually
had it sitting on an end table when last night I saw an episode of Pawn Stars on TV that featured a Curta. I already knew it was a
calculator and due to its extremely precise and detailed movements always figured it had some value but never realized it was actually
After the show I decided to Google it and found your site with all this wonderful information. It appears to be in working condition
however some of the movements are either sticking or I’m just not using it correctly.
The Curta has sentimental value to me of course as I lost my father while I was still in my 20’s at age 56 due to a form of cancer
related to his heavy contact to Agent Orange herbicide during his tour in Vietnam as a supply officer. He was an amazing man who I
have always been very proud of and miss terribly.
in middle east. Looks unused.
Suttner’s, the sole South African agents. The instrument and its case are in excellent condition but the instruction booklet has
been lost. I would be extremely grateful if I could be informed as to how to obtain a copy. Although the instrument was well used
and well looked after I doubt whether it had ever been serviced. Unless I can find a reliable and knowledgeable person in SA I
may approach you again for advice. Best wishes for 2012. Bill de Swardt
Senior Manufacturing Engineer for General Motors in Michigan, and he was presumably the original owner.
upgraded from using a slide rule. The CURTA is in prime condition and still use it from time to time for sentimental reasons.
Computers are now used for Engineering calculations.
and in the early 70’s he gave it to me. Now, 2012, I gave it to my son, he is 15 years old. My CURTA works PERFECT and is in a very
good condition, with the original metal case. I love to use it time to time.
My father (an accountant) had given to me and sadly I broke off the knurled turning handle and one of the adjuster pins playing
with it as a child. However, it is perfect in every other way and still calculates perfectly. I have no idea how my father came
by it, apart from he worked in East Africa in the 1950’s and our family Doctor was a German surveyor of the death camps. So
possibly it was brought from Europe at that time.
From the website it would appear that this was produced in very early 1958.
It was purchased in November 1965 for the Tariffs department of CENTRAL AFRICAN AIRWAYS(CAA), national carrier of the ex- federation
of Southern Rhodesia,Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland. I was working for the airline and in 1974,having moved into the Tariffs Dept
took possession of the Curta and eventually managed to persuade Management to sell it to me as a defunct item of equipment. I still
have the receipt for it – R$9.00( Rhodesian dollars) and at that stage the R$ equalled USD1.50 !
in the mid 1960s. The case and calculator are in absolute mint condition with very little use. He retired from active work not
long after he acquired it. I was taught to use it by him and a highlight of my visits to him were cranking the curta. He became
very ill over the last 10 years and the CURTA disappeared. I found it a few weeks ago after he passed away. He had an enormous
chemical engineering library and it was stuffed into a bookcase. Here in Silicon Valley it is an admired curiosity.
1 – Type II
and a few parts of typewriters. After washing it in the sink, it works perfectly.
I’m not joking : I really made a pin and the plunger with two nails for concrete (they’re made with super steel), and rebuilt
a numeral wheel tooth with a tiny bit of aluminium.
Model II, n° 500740, with the original papers : warranty 1 year from the 13th of april 1953.
It has been orderded in january 1953, with 3 month delay for delivery.
The price was 69500 francs (around 170 USD at that time) and the price of a model I was 59500 francs (with immediate delivery).
This second Curta is in perfect condition, I had nothing to do, exept a bit of cleaning.
Note on the picture that the reverse button has the vertical arrows, while my model I, which is a few month newer, has the older horizontal arrows.
Madrid, by my late father, an engineer by profession, who died in 1955. One day, in 2012, I decided to re-activate this
fascinating piece of machinery, that is now working flawlessly in my hands…
of the observatory about my interest in Curta calculators since 1963 when I was in high school in Seattle Washington where I was
introduced to them by a rally car driver that used them for speed/time/distance calculations. Within a year of that conversation,
he was approached at the observatory by a staff scientist there, Dr. Don Neidig, asking him if he knew what “this thing”was.
He said not only did he know, but knew someone who would buy it if he wanted to sell. The Curta, now mine, was found in a
closet of his widowed mother’s house, having been purchased by his father and never used. He wanted only $250 for it, but
I argued that it was worth more than that, and if you can believe it, I purchased it for $750. It has all the manuals, warranty
card that it was purchased with, and not a mark on it. If there is an interest, I can scan the documents. I am fond of old
mechanical things, cameras, typwriters, calculators, but don’t really collect them. The Curta is just one of the nicest parts
of this group.
grandfather’s or my uncle’s.
and perfectly. Amazing piece of engineering!
edge fom the clearing ring and slight discoloration of the digits and inscriptions. The case is in good condition, no dents
but with numerous minor scratches. The O ring and bottom foam pad are present and intact, but the top foam pad is missing.
I’m working on getting it cleaned and constructing a display case.
He and my mother used it extensively throughout the late 60’s, 70’s, 80’s & 90’s on Time-Speed-Distance rallys until they bought
a dash mounted rally computer. This Curta still looks great and functions perfectly.
by myself (Internet wasn’t the same thing as is today) and I show to him how to make some calcs. He say “I’m whit this for
about 30 years and you discover in 3 weeks, take, it’s yours”. So I keep my Curta in my desk and show to my friends my “cool”
So being an aircraft machinist and love the fine machine work I keep it. That was back in 1984. I move to a new house and found it in my box of stuff.
So I look up on the internet and find out it was a manual calculator, Type 1 NO 62363 I am sure glad I keep it.
IF ARE THERE ANY SERIOUS COLLECTOR WHO SAFE IT BETTER THAN ME, I AM READY TO SELL THIS MACHINE TO SOMEONE. YOU CAN CONTACT ME BY E-MAIL OR CAN USE MY TELEPHONE NUMBER.
NOTE: MY CURTA IS IN NEAR MINT CONDITION AS YOU SEE TO ATTACHMENT PICTURES.
Perhaps you can verify that. I can remember , as a young child, my dad using it for calculations and his hand spinning quickly to get results. It has not been used
for over 40 years maybe 50. Seems to work ok. Does not appear to be many about of that age.
named Jimmerson-Dixon Engineering and Surveying. One day that summer, I was working with one of the principles, Bill Dixon, who was a Registered Land Surveyor, and he pulled out a Curta
to do some calculations. I fell in love with it and saved part of my pay ($1.25/hr) for the rest of the summer and bought one that Fall. My best memory is that it was priced at $125; so,
out of the 12 weeks I worked that Summer to earn money for my next year of college, over 3 weeks of my pay went to buy the Curta.
I used it for the next 3 years of college, even using it to take the EIT exam (I really had to lobby the proctor to use it, because of the “noise” it made, but he eventually allowed it).
After I graduated and went to work as a civil engineer at the Fulton County, Ga Public Works Department, I continued to use it until the cost of electronic calculators with their easily
obtainable trig functions came down to below the cost of the Curta, then I switched over.
I am retired now, but I still have it. It’s in excellent condition, in the original plastic case, and it works perfectly, just like it did in 1967. I have the booklet that came with it,
but the original box was lost 30 or more years ago.
It’s kept in a display bell jar and usually only taken out to demonstrate to visitors. I still love it, though. I think that it represents the epitome of the engineering profession,
it does it’s job easily, accurately and with no superfluidity.. It’s “elegant”.
According to the formula shown in the webpage, my Curta I was manufactured in September, 1969. Maybe I am incorrect as to when I bought mine, since I worked for Jimmerson-Dixon in the
summers of 1967 and 1968, I guess It could have been 1968 when I saw Bill Dixon using his, but I really don’t think that I waited until over a year later to buy it.
It was used by me for many years during my career as a chartered accountant (CPA in the US).It has not had much use for the last ten years or so and it now feels a bit stiff in the movements.
It needs a service.
Are you aware of anyone who can service a Curta in New Zealand? The firm it was bought from in Wellington New Zealand has long gone out of business.
I used to have a type 1 with a metal case but it was stolen many years ago and probably dumped. I have the original instruction booklet for this machine which was bought in 1956.
I also have a foldout instruction sheet which would have come with the type II as it refers to both types.
Further, I have a buff coloured booklet titled “Computing Examples for the Curta Calculating Machine”. By the aged look of the pages which are otherwise in perfect condition I think that it
came with the type1.
Finally I have a promotional booklet entitled “The key to every calculating problem”. It has a green cover with some orange highlights and it is dated 1962.
Any help you can give me regarding service would be greatly appreciated.
Was owned by an RAF navigator who claimed it was used on Canberra (light bomber) operations, but I’m not sure how that would work (as a pilot myself I can’t
imagine using it in a tiny, cramped cockpit). Many years ago we did a swap – his Curta for my Webley & Scott 0.22 air pistol, two beautifully made pieces.
I was born in 1949. In 1971 when I graduated with a in Diploma in Land Surveying from Technical College Kuala Lumpur, I was appointed as a cadastral surveyor in the
State of Perak Department of Survey. This was where I first encountered this magnificent calculating machine. As a field surveyor having to do precise trigonometric
calculation with the aid of 7 figures Log Table, doing numerical computation was a daily routine. Computation speed was the essence as the amount of calculation to
be done per working day was enormous. After years (1971-1973) of practise I was so good at using it that I could slide the counters and turn the knob without even
looking at the machine. It was done quite instinctively. Most of my engineer friends who then at best only uses the slide rule was rather envious of my tool of the
trade. I never thought then that a day would come when the Curta would be replaced by an ordinary looking machine known as the electronic calculator. That day came
in 1974 when an Australian Land Surveying graduate brought back home his calculator to impress us. Since then the Department did not bother to maintain or repair
the Curta as it was much cheaper to replace it with an electronic calculator. I understand that old/damaged Curta was thrown into mining pools to conform with
Government write off policy. This explains the scarcity of the machine in Malaysia.
I proceeded with my career as a Land Surveyor for another thirty years or so as an Academician after continuing with my post graduate studies in England and the USA.
By then the Curta has already been placed in the backyard of history and precise and repetitive calculations were mostly done using computers.
In 2012 while viewing one of my favourite History Channel TV programs, The Pawn Stars, a Type II Curter was brought into the shop by a lady who sold it for US$725.
Since then my yearning to have my very own Curta Type 1 has rekindled. The Curta had been my trusted companion while doing cadastral survey works in rural Malaysia
and surveying the Malaysian-Thailand border as a topographical surveyor. I started to ask around about the Curta amongst my Land Survey colleague here in Malaysia
but unfortunately most have not even heard of it let alone seen one. Some of those whom I know have used it before could not be contacted or have already passed on.
While talking about it with my architect daughter-in-law, she suggested that I browse through the Internet. And to my surprise there it was with loads of other information
which I have not even heard of before. On two occasions I tried to bid for it but was unsuccessful. In the end I gave up on bidding and decided to ask my
daughter-in-law who was in Melbourne to purchase it through the Internet from a seller based in Alberta, Canada for US$900.
This is the story of a proud owner of the Curta Type 1 Serial Number 58260. Holding the Curta in my palm have the effect of transporting me back to the years when
life was tough and challenging as a young field surveyor. My Curta and I are proud of our small contribution to this blessed land, Malaysia.
The instruction book seems that was printed few days ago.
My grandfather who was just a doctor during the world war II. He got it in the 60’s and gave it to me in 1991.
who was a land surveyor party chief for many years. His first calculator was the Curta.
I purchased in Hong Kong in 1968, and has been stored for most of its life.
He tried to explain “how to use” slide-rules to me. I was confused !
After that lesson, he opened a drawer and showed me his Curta ! Afer a 15 minute introduction I was in love. A few years later I saw a second Curta in “Computer History Museum,
Mountain View, CA”. And two years later I saw a third Curta: My !! It was a gift to me from my whife for marriage…. crazy, isn’t it ?
Optical condition is slightly used, but technically excellent. My whife bought it somwhere in France.
1 – Type II
under “interesting, I should have a look on the Internet one day…” and then promptly forgot all about it. Then I read the William Gibson book last year,
and the Curta references rang a bell. So I reread the NS article, and immediately did my web trawl.
I was fascinated, of course, as we all are. So, lots of clicking about on this website (and the other one across the road). Interesting… very, very interesting.
And then during the annual pilgrimage I take with my father-in-law to collect the wine from a Malans vineyard not a million miles from Vaduz, he decided to drive on
a route from his old army days, got a bit diverted, and we went through Mauren, with me straining my neck for some hints of the factory (nothing I could see…).
So by then I was all fired up, so many months of web research and general coveting followed, keeping a close eye on Internet auctions, average costs, what’s what, etc.
I’m now the very proud owner of an early (I think 1949) round pin Type I and an early 1954 Type II.
Very beautiful, a little slice of genius with mechanical watchmaker precision in the manufacture.
The leavers are difficult to slide and the operating handle won’t turn. Any advise on releasing the levers or where I can send it for repair?
I haven’t done anything to it to loosen it. I wouldn’t spray it with a lubricant such as WD40 without advise to do so.
My Response: The numerical entry sliders can be lubricated with a light weight machine oil (e.g. Sewing Machine oil). WD40 works temporary but it tends to evaporate.
You can easily access the sliders by removing the two screws on the bottom of the Curta and sliding off the lower half.
The jammed crank is much more serious and probably requires professional disassembly.
Considering the use it got out in the field, he looked after it very well and apart from a few minor scuffs on the metal storage case, it is in pristine condition.
It was put away in a drawer five or six years ago and I never realised its value or how collectible they are. I have put it up for sale on the Internet at £850.00!
Do you feel this is a realistic price? As I am now the de facto owner I thought I should also register it on your site. Let me know if you require any more information.
and leather case with new manuals. I doubt it was ever used. It is in mint condition. I am also an electrical engineer and now teach math part-time,
so having one of these is PERFECT! I will attempt to keep it in close to mint condition, but I intend to use and enjoy it. I do not want to keep it
as a museum paper weight. However, I can be very gentle with it and intend to be very careful with it. It is in perfect condition and works just
like the new unit it is.
in October 2008. It’s a Type II, in very good condition and working perfectly.
SN 76804 (With cardboard box and manuals)
3 – Type II
SN 546602 (“Cutaway” version showing the inside mechanisms. Works perfectly.)
and started accumulating them several years ago on [the Internet]. As you can see I now have more than the one I originally wanted.
They all work perfectly, are in excellent conditions and have their metal or plastic cases. One has a leather one as well.
This CURTA belonged to my father, Marcus Hagen. He was a design engineer and appreciated the design and workmanship of the unit. I only remember seeing him use it on rare occasions and then it was placed back in its case and stored away. When he died several years ago, it became mine. I am currently looking for a good home for it.
I think it is a Type I with serial number 002154. It is in very good condition and I think it works well.
I send You a some photos and ask You for further Information.
I think it was produced ca. 1948 and that date fits wery well in my personal history. I was born 1945 and my father was at that time auditor. I remember the machine from my childhood, it was not long used, my father died in 1956. He then had a well going office, of course with newer machines, mechanical electric-calculaters and so on.
To the best of my knowledge this Curta has always been in the family. My Uncle bought it new and I was fascinated with it since the first time I saw it. I acquired it about 30 years ago.
** 2013 **
Since then, I never heard again of it.
But about 30 years, I remembered it and tried to find one.
I found it at an antiquarian in Geneva and bought it for 1’000.00 Swiss Francs (about USD 1’000 today).
I just found your site today after I uploaded a picture of my calculator to www.thefancy.com and looked around there.
Very interesting site !
(It took my son 15 minutes to have it perform for him though – entranced by the machine in an age of incomprehensible digital black magic ).
My machine is a type 2, serial # 518648. It is like new, original metal case. Body is grey, though ( apparently this serial # range should be black ??). Original instructions (dog eared and falling apart – glad I’m not the only one that had to concentrate to master the thing), mint condition metal case.
Bought by my Grandfather in Glasgow, Scotland, for £45 (GB pounds) in 1962. That would have been a months wages for many then. I now realise I had seen one in real “use” before too – by the navigator of a Vulcan bomber over the Barents Sea in 1979 that I was lucky enough to fly on. A real pleasure to use, and great fun watching my kids master it too.
“thank you for your letter of Oktober the 25th and for your interest in the CURTA. I have much pleasure in enclosing the requested manuals. The model on the photograh stms probables from the 1965 Production.
1960’s to use on the road to do calculations for bidding on highway
construction jobs in the 5-State area (Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota,
Wyoming and Nebraska) for Peter Kiewet. He never used it and just put it in
his drawer for several years until I saw it one day and asked to have it.
He gave it to me and I spent a few days trying to figure out how to use it
and then put it away. It traveled with me wherever I moved to but stayed in
my box of ‘special stuff’. It looks new with no scratches or wear,
I don’t recall the name of the shop and I no longer have my receipt. I participated in TSD rallies with the Motor City Sports Car Club (MCSCC) in my 1974
Toyota Celica GT during the winters in the mid-’70s. Since it was my car and I liked to drive, and I couldn’t train my navigator on how to use the CURTA,
it didn’t get any actual rally experience. I kept it as a novelty and curiosity and occasionally bring it out to show to friends. It still works perfectly,
very smoothly, and is in very good to excellent condition. I still have the original blue & white box, plastic storage case, fold-out user manual, and
Computing Examples booklet. I would consider selling for the right price.
been doing some research which is how I have come by way to contact you. Admittedly, I know nothing about these unique devises other than what I have read.
When my mother gave the Curta to me I thought it was quite interesting and vaguely remember seeing it in my youth. I was also amazed how good of condition it
was in and that dad had kept the paperwork and the box it came in.
Later on I started looking these up on line and couldn’t help but to realize that there is something different from dads Curta than others that I saw and then
I realized that it was missing the operating handle. How or why, I have no idea. Considering the immaculate condition of the Calculator I really don’t know what happened to it.
I was given this CURTA about 20 years ago by one of my one of my colleagues when I was working in the aerospace industry. He thought it would sit well with the odd bits of early spacecraft mechanisms that adorned the window ledge of my office at the time! Most of these mechanisms we designed for satellites at that time had to operate in space without intervention or repair for 10 years or more and were pretty clever. However I think few of them compare to this mechanical calculator.
was the most amazing machine I had ever seen. So, five years later I have now found one on [the Internet] for a great price and am the proud
owner of one. As I can afford one I would like to get a Type II for my collection.
I purchased my own new Curta in the mid to late 1970s. Immersed as I had been for years in the corporate accounting and finance world I thought the battery-powered electronics would soon terminate Curta’s business so I bought one as a “conversation piece” for my desk.
Regards from Rockbridge County!
And I like to be part of your origination.
I am very thrilled over this little mechanical device J It’s just magic!
And the one I got, is better than mint condition!!
It is never being used!
It is just incredible to get a machine from April of 1961, 52 years old, in new condition.
Not a scratch at the bottom of the can, and even a little bit oil under the clearing ring.
The cardboard box also looks original, with the serial number on it.
It must have been sold in Sweden as new, the instructions is in Swedish, plus how to make square root.
Someone must have bought it, and forgot about it.
But I’m very happy J
Another note: Rarely in life one has an insight into something that they realize as being revolutionary. While attending school I obtained a job as a custodian and would clean the Geophysics Institute building on the west ridge at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. One night while in the Radio Design Laboratory I noticed several HP-35 calculators on a bench. I didn’t know anything about Reverse Polish Notation but I figured things out soon and was amazed at the capacity to do transcendental functions. I went home in the morning and, almost getting teary eyed, I told my wife that I had seen something that would change the world. I still own several HPs including a still faithful HP-55.
1 – Type II
The Curta I came to me through my uncle – he had owned it for many many years, using it only a few times. He originaly got it from a german coal-mine where it was used by a mine surveyor. It is in mint condition and came with its canister.
Go Hokies! I know where Blacksburg is! VPI Class of ’65
I finally after many years by chance saw one on a local classifieds site, and bought it for 5000 SA Rand in 2013. (About USD $500). What a bargain!
It is absolutely fascinating and in pristine condition!!! Included in the purchase; “Calculation techniques”, “Computing examples for the Curta”, “the key to every
calculating problem!” and “your Curta calculator” manuals.
It belonged to my grandfather who was a Colonel in the Army Corps of Engineers during World War II. He traveled all over the world and likely bought this himself as used it for his job. While it is a interesting item, my grandfather passed away many years ago and I would be interested in selling it to a collector/enthusiast who would be more interested in sharing it with the world. If you know of anyone who might be interested, please let me know.
It belonged to my grandfather who was a Colonel in the Army Corps of Engineers during World War II. He traveled all over the world and likely bought this himself as used it for his job. While it is a interesting item, my grandfather passed away many years ago.
After I quit rallying, my Curta rested in my desk drawer at work for about 25 years. When people would pester me to borrow my calculator, I delighted in slapping the Curta into their hand!
I saw your name on the internet and seem to know lots about the Curta. I am curious to find out what mine is worth. Would you be able to help me with that?
It is in near mint condition and has a blue manual with it. It is in a metal case and I learned that it was made in 1965. Serial number 531909.
1 – Type II
These Curtas are now the pride of this collection.
I want to be able to show my grandkids what I used and what my generation used in the days before electronic calculators.
it says made in Liechtenstein and where it says by Contina LTD. Mauren mine says (Custom Union with switzerland) I have viewed every pic of Curta type 1’s
I only found like 2 type 2’s that say that on the bottom and I have yet to find another like the one I have saying that on the bottom and also mine the
printing on the bottom is strait across not curved like every one I have seen and the serial # is on the top line I seen on your page about there being
around 1800 with the serial # on the top line so I was wondering is this a very rare one with the number on top and with the (Custom Union with
switzerland) on it please let me know it is driving me nuts not being able to find any info on this I included a picture of the bottom and if you like I
can sens more of it.
Yes, that is a fairly rare model deviation, only about 1800 (oldest picture: 38600 & newest: 40469) type I’s have Serial Numbers on top row of bottom plate (most Curta’s have the serial number on the bottom row of the bottom plate).
for the calculation of deforestation, land transport and contributions of concrete for filling of trenches always the sense of rotation of
its axles, its softness, its precision and light noise of spinning me fascinated, and knowing that my kids didn’t appreciate it. It is in
perfect condition with its metal cover but without instructions.
To all who read this: keep your CURTAS in perfect state – it is a marvelous piece of technique!!o
as my birthday present. I was so excited because I thought Curta is very rare item
and should be just in a repository of a museum. I am teaching some engineering classes
in a university and then this small treasure will be an excellent sample when I talk about a history of calculator.
Got it in perfectly working excellent condition with original serial number matching box and zero blemishes on the machine that I can detect.
Of course, back then it was like a year’s allowance for a kid to buy one so that never happened. But your site has been a great
source of information so hang in there and keep on keeping on.
I’ve had 3 Curtas as an adult…..two crinkle-gray Type 2s and the one under discussion in my note to you. Like you, I have never
seen the style of can or exterior packaging this one has. Whatever the cause, it’s certainly unusual and I was hoping to find out
if there are others like it. That weird paper cylinder and the matte paint on the top of the can…..not anything I’ve seen before.
The serial number is 508289 (an all-black Type 2) and the previous owner told me (and I’ve found some info to back up the details)
that it was quite a subject of dispute because of claims about the sort of material it was made from, along with a claim that it
was the last one of a series of 30 (or the first one made after the series) made of that material. This, of course, would mean your
508272 would fall right in the middle of that run of 30. I don’t know that anyone ever resolved the dispute but the previous owner
ran it on [the Internet] a few times some years back and got no takers so when we crossed paths awhile back we struck a deal and I got it.
To tell the truth, it’s in such nice shape that I really don’t even like to use it, which is sad.
All that said, when I bought 508289 it came with a Word file of the listing information from the attempt to sell on [the Internet]. You might
know about all that stuff; it goes into detail on the material (duraluminum) and such. If you don’t remember all that info I could
send you a copy to “refresh your memory.”
So, if you have any further leads or clues or come across anything, I’d sure be happy to hear about it. Or if you just want to chat
Curtas, that would be cool, too. (I also wrote to the Curta Registry fellow, hoping to make contact with the owner of 508288 (a Ben
Wright). With a SN just one digit lower than mine, his might also share the peculiar packaging-and material-characteristics of mine.
But no reply so far.)
** 2014 **
After speaking to Larry and being offered a nice deal I took delivery within a week. My Curta was manufactured in August of 1951,
so it’ll be 63 years old this year, and it’s condition is outstanding.
I happenned to watch a pawn type of show on TV were they explained this little mechanical engeneering wonder so I knew this was a special thing.
The state of the calculator is near Mint and doubting about selling or keeping. This [is a] beautifull apparatus.
As you are the owner of an impressive number of Curtas, I am hoping you can provide me with some insight as to the dimensions of a couple
of missing pieces on my own Type 1.
I recently (and joyfully) acquired a Curta Type 1 (SN 12886) in fantastic condition save for a missing storage canister o-ring and lower pad.
In the interest of replacing these pieces with new, are you able to provide me with:
() the cross-sectional diameter (cord thickness) of the original o-ring on a Type 1 metal canister: 58.5mm diameter, .3mm thick.
() the lower canister pad’s thickness and material makeup (foam or solid rubber): 54mm diameter, 3mm thickness.
I use the heavy foam mouse pads to make mine.
I just retired and found it in my attempt to get “organized”. Perfect condition but I have not yet found the manual.
Sadly he has passed away and no one in the family wants it. My father Inlaw used it during the 50’s in London aiding insurance calculations.
I would say by your descriptions it falls into the ‘Excellent’ category.
This CURTA was purchased new in Switzerland in 1958, and has been in the continuous possession of the owner ever since.
Purchased from Jeffrey Barteet (Santa Barbara, CA) in January 2014
Jeffrey said he purchased the calculator from a retired engineer at an estate sale 25 years ago.
I have the calculator (grey body) with plastic case and leather field case.
away after retirement, which I was going through many years after he passed away in 1999. My dad was a civil engineer for a natural gas pipeline
company. I don’t know the story of how he acquired this Curta unit but it appears to have lived in the bottom of a desk drawer. It is still in the
original box and packaging from Curta/Contina, original booklets, all virtually untouched since it was shipped in 1961 and all look brand new –
even the postage stamps on the box. Only the shipping label has yellowed over time. I feel like this unit deserves a proper home in a museum or
well-protected collection (I have vintage bicycles). Curta collectors are welcomed to contact me on my cycling handle, roadscrape88 on the mail at g.
story and importance until recently, now I’m very happy to own a
piece of computing history.
I believe I purchased it as a used unit. My main purpose for obtaining a Curta was for Time-Speed-Distance auto rallys.
All of the Curta owners I ever met were rally enthusiasts.
My Curta is a black with grey housing unit. I have the original case and, possibly, the original instructions. It is still in operating
condition (no surprise there). It mainly resides in my collection of old mathematical devices, including an abacus, several slide rules
and an old TI digital calculator. It’s hard to believe that you can buy a $5 device today that will outperform all of these older devices
(at least as far as doing math).
studies. Immediately after that date, I discovered the electronic calculators and retired this brand new CURTA in a safe place with the multitude
of slide rules I had collected earlier. Needless to say that this unit is brand new, never been used and still have the original carton box it
came with, the Warrantee Card, the User’s Manual and a booklet entitled Computing Examples for the CURTA Calculating Machine. This machine is
an engineering marvel and a beauty to have and to admire. Satisfaction comes from just holding this unit in my hands to feel all the engineering
and craftsmanship that took to develop and produce. It is a great pride for me to own one of these great machines. I love it.
be in like new condition. Mechanical operation is pristine. Calculator has a gray body with alternating setting knobs colors of two black, one
red, two black, one red, etc. Subtraction ring is the fluorescent orange color. Calculator has the metal crank, metal clearing ring, 6 top
decimal markers and 5 bottom decimal markers. Presumed date of manufacture – August 1959. Serial number is stamped, not only on the bottom plate
but also on a metal plate attached to the underside of the body, visible only after removal of the bottom plate. Calculator has reportedly never
been repaired or worked on. It was apparently very well cared for. I intend to keep up that tradition.
Story: I obtained this calculator from Karman King, wife of David Hatten and proprietor of the Windrush Antiques store in North Carolina.
The calculator was originally purchased new by her father-in-law, William Hatten, who was still alive as of my purchase date of February 5, 2014.
According to Karman: “William Hatten lived in London and worked as a surveyor during the 1950’s. He later became a geophysicist and travelled the world,
living and working in such places as North America, Africa, and Australia. William Hatten is presently approaching 90 years of age and is still a very smart man.”
I am currently employed as Senior Engineering Consultant with Heat Transfer Research, Inc. in College Station, Texas and work in the areas of heat
transfer research, software development, and technical support. My first degree was in mathematics and I very much enjoy old mechanical devices that
have so much thought and creativity in their construction and operation. It helps reminds us of the many unsung geniuses that lived in years past and
ensures a degree of humility for those of us who sometimes get caught up in our modern ways of doing things.
The Curta calculator is additionally special because of the consistent high degree of quality put into its design and manufacture over many years.
It’s one of a kind. In this age of planned obsolescence, most corporations would laugh at (or fire) the engineer who insisted on that degree of quality
even though the marketing guys continue to set prices as if that quality were actually there.
Canoga Park, CA and had to make many trips to the test stand in Santa Susanna, CA. when there was a test of the latest impeller/inducer design in a
hydrogen chamber. I bought the Curta II in mid ’60s from Rocketdyne store to use when I was at the test stand. My technician was also a college
roommate and was into sports car rallys (Time, Speed, Distance). We went on a couple and I started using the Curta II both for work and play.
Later, Sam Beal, my navigator, built the computerized Beal Box at UCLA to do all that TSD calculating and we were CA state champions in 1966/67.
I retired the Curta when Rocketdyne did away with the Marchants/Frediens and we went on the computer mainframes.
The Curta remained in a drawer along with the original Curta operating, maintenance, instruction pamphlet and a 51 page booklet “Computing
Examples for the CURTA Calculating Machine” in English from Liechtenstein. Both usages were most rewarding but technology marches on.
2 – Type II
buy a Curta calculator, around 1970, but then saw that they were available as electronic calculators and bought one too, since he
was the Curta calculator is not used and saved.
About two other Curtas tipe II, I bought an offers from the internet, I don’t know their story, except it belongs to family members.
real-estate appraisal expert from Missouri, used it extensively in his work. After he retired, “Cookie” showed me the Curta and gave it to my
father. (This was in Mississippi, in the very early 70s, if memory serves. Daddy was an appraiser, too, and I was already a budding math
geek.) I found it again when Daddy passed away a few years ago. It seems to be in perfect working order!
I have no interest in selling it, but thought you might want to add one more Curta to your registry!
grandfather’ specific job in the army, but I know that one of his job was to make maps for Indonesia. So I guess, the CURTA was dedicated to
calculate things which I can’t say exactly what.
My husband and I used this Curta for sports car time/speed/distance rallies, and were very successful in Sports Car Club of America Rallies in
Florida starting in 1962 and finishing about 20 years later when more sophisticated equipment appeared.
My husband died recently and I was cleaning and found this 1961 Curta.
Near as I can calculate based on your formula posted on your website, it was issued early July 1953.
I want to know its auction value.
It is fully functional. It has its metal case.
It is marred by a bit of rust on the bottom, and inside the case at the bottom. Otherwise it is in very good condition.
4 – Type II
Now I have 8 examples from differents models and manufacturing periods. Bought in differents countries, all Curtas are in very good condition.
A brief description of each machine:
Type I #4312: (Condition: 8/10) Purchased from Marino H. of Aix en Provence, France, he overhauled it before being sold. This machine is very old,
with rounded input dials instead of the rectangular ones of the later design and the metal case opens counterclockwise.
Type I #45327: (Condition: 8/10) Purchased from Bernard R. of Neuchatel, Switzerland. This is my favorite example to use and learn about the
Curta and show to the people.
Type I #59504: (Condition: 9.5/10) Purchased from Francisco L. of Lima, Peru originally bought in France. This machine has a minimum
(almost null) use and the condition is superb, with no scratches in the body and its metal container. It was stored for more than 20 years without use.
Type I #78223: (Condition: 10/10) Purchased from Tony B. of Derby, U.K., please see description of Curta #558449 below.
Type II #501934: (Condition: 6/10) Purchased from Gabriel O. of Chascomus, Argentina, this is a very old type II example. As with the #45327,
I use this machine to learn about Curta algorithms.
Type II #509872: (Condition: 9/10) Purchased from Pablo L. T. of Buenos Aires, Argentina, was originally purchased in New York on August 13, 1958
by an Argentine Aeronautical Mission agent for investment only and he never learned to use it!. This is a classic all-black type II example near
to the end of production of this version (around s/n 510500). After this Contina adopted the classic light gray/green olive color schema.
Type II #531501: (Condition: 8/10) Purchased from Jerome G. of Les Sables d’Olonne, France, originaly purchased in the USA. It is in mint condition,
with very few signs of use.
Type II #558449: (Condition: 10/10) Also purchased from Tony B. of Derby, U.K., this machine and #78223 were originally purchased to a collector
in London who purchased in 1972 for investment purposes at the end of production when nobody wanted them, preferring electronic calculators.
Both machines NEVER were used and they have the original cardboard box and manuals in new condition. Possibly, both machines are within the best
preserved Curtas in the world!
I invite to all readers to visit my website www.curtamania.com where you can see pictures of my Curta collection. I recommend to visit the
“Type & Age of your Curta” page where you can see the estimated manufacture date based on the original Contina production records released on
October 2011. Also there is a large database of more than 3400 Curtas and more than 23000 pictures sold in recent years on the internet.
Somehow, I convinced my father that I had to have it!. As I recall, I paid 500 Swiss Francs, but I don’t recall the conversion rate to dollars at the time.
I have used it for sports car rallyes and occasional other uses. It has not been overworked.
It is in fine working shape. I now only get it out to wow visitors.
As a side note, it seems to vary somewhat from your on-line table of characteristics, in that it has all-metal parts — clearing handle, rotor, etc.,
and squarish slides, but a grey body. This is not a combination that appears in your table.
in the 1970s cranking out calculations with it, even though probably had his early HP electronic calculator by then. There is a sticker on the case that says
it was supplied by Automatic Business Machines of London. It seems to be in good condition, despite not having been used for many years.
seller in 2013). Only later did I learn of the auto rally connection. A wonderful product of the human mind-in concept, design and manufacturing.
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had no further use. Mine is unusual as it is engraved with “S O” and a crown in the middle, which was the logo of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, the government
department which owned all the government’s biros and paperclips. It was liberated in the early 1980s but had been hanging around his office for decades. To my
inexpert eye, this engraving appears to be similar to the engraved “CURTA” on the side of the barrel and I think it is factory-engraved. The crown is painted the
same cream colour as the “CURTA” logo, but the letters “S O” are painted white.
the size and holding capacity of milk holding tanks on sales calls to dairies for our manufacturing business. It was passed on to me as I took
over the sales tasks of the business and I used it through 1961. It is in excellent condition and has a prominent resting place in my office as
a reminder of how things used to be. I remember it was purchased from an office machine sales company in Petaluma CA for $300.00.
it was and it’s value and was pleasantly surprised to discover this amazing instrument. Since my dad has now passed away I can only speculate about
my Curta’s origin. My dad was stationed in Germany during the Korean War and I’m sure he purchased this while there. He was an engineer and loved
anything mathematical so I’m sure he would have found the Curta quite impressive. I have decided to keep it as a reminder of my dad and his love for
calculating and am looking forward to learning how to use it myself. Thanks for all the information and instruction manuals on your website- they are most helpful!
“Geek object of desire” The story is very interesting and I decided that I would like to keep one of them for my own.. So.. I was lucky enough to get this
one. It’s in great condition but itg’s case has some damaged / missing paint. It is an extraordinary object and I feel grateful to own it.
ten years. It is a Type II, no. 530007 and was made in Liechtenstein.
became enthralled with Curt Herstark and these incredible machines. I’ve been in the communications / information technology industry for over 20
years, and love seeing what can be done without mechanically without computers or electricity.
by accident I found this site, then I remembered that I had this item , and now I want to sell, who would dare kira2 high, then I will sell to him.
I honestly do not know how the operation of this tool, but of physical sight, I see this tool almost never used, I just twirling alone.
It’s in very good conditions and working perfectly.
SN 0985 (round buttons)
SN 10418 (round buttons)
SN 80249 (original sales box & manuals)
SN 80250 (original sales box & manuals)
SN 8029? (Cut-out demo model, two lasr digits cut off, so you can see up inside.)
4 – Type II
SN 561240 (original sales box & manuals)
SN 561241 (original sales box & manuals)
SN 559447 (metal turning handle)
we younger guys were totally into programming the university’s CDC 6500, using Algol and Fortran. Solving large linear equation systems with a Curta sucks, was
our attitude. So I never learnt to operate one.
After a career in the Oil Services industry, mostly abroad, I sold my company and retired. Some time later I noticed that a Swiss cadastral surveyor advertised
his collection of Curtas. He said he had picked these up at a fire sale when the factory closed. Anyway, I bought the lot. As I also at the time sold my Swiss
cadastral office, I gave seven machines to long term associates (80255, 80271, 80279, 80280, 80281, 80283, 80310). The above is what is left with me. All Curtas
are in mint condition, never having been used.
I am basically ready to sell the lot, perhaps keeping one for remembrance.
Other stuff: salesman’s attache with all the parts laid out.
Various manuals & articles in various languages.
2 – Type II
It was damaged by someone turning it backwards. Many parts were damaged. The person I got it from said it was in “perfect condition”
but admitted she didn’t know if it really worked. With all the info on the net about the Curta I think you would know if it was
working or not. She listed it “as is” and would not negotiate a reduction in price. I sent it out to be repaired by Romano in Italy.
It came back in about a month all repaired, the cost was $298 (280 euros). I will be sending the others to Italy to be CLA’d. Caveat emptor.
in mechanical engineering and my grandmother gave me this CURTA as a christmas present, she thought it should pass from engineer to engineer and I will pass it on
to my children when I get old. The CURTA is a Type 1 and seems to be in very good condition without scratches.
Looks unused and in excellent condition. I originally wanted a Curta in 1977 at age 21 and on holiday I saw then in Liechtenstein.
The item complements my 30 plus slide rule collection.
** 2015 **
1 – Type II
to do over a 3 month period, the type 2 is not as late as the type 1, but they are difficult to find in brand new condition like this.
Type 1, #79960 (october 1970) purchased from Theodor Bay in Germany (Oct 2014) with original box and instructions in German in unused mint 10/10 condition, the history is unknown.
Type 2, #550234 (february 1969) purchased from Michel Thanos in France in (Dec 2014) with original box and instructions in French in unused mint 10/10 condition with original
importers sticker (INNOVA) on the base plate, the owners father had had 2 curtas but never used this one.
(update) Already have 2 mint curtas, so i wanted another one i could take out and use on a daily basis without worrying about small wear and tear marks.
I found a great early type 1 #7217 dating from May 1949 which is one of the first with narrow rectangular setting sliders and one of the later ones with
the makers name in a circle on the baseplate and “system curt herzstark” on the side underneath where it says “CURTA” sold to me by Tom Wilmot from
Ipswich who says it was originally bought new by his grandfather Major Martyn Sacheveral Wilmot, no box or instructions, but metal cannister is in
1 – Type II
“slighly” repaired by myself (bottom ball on central axel was blocked) and fully functional now
CURTA 2: SN: 55.4322 (1969) bought on internet in 2012
I remember my dad taking it out of the shipping material and reading the instructions and showing me how he would do some things on it.
He put it away and never used it again. It stayed in his home “office” for all these years. This thing has not been used more than a couple
of times and is in perfect, like new condition.
SN 551368 (Perfect condition)
but I didn’t know what it was. A little research on the internet led me here.
It has pride of place in my collection that I use to illustrate my talk on the History of Computation.
It came missing its clearing ring. I bought a plastic ring and rivets from Romano in Italy with the intention of installing them.
SN 40121 (metal black)
in June 1959. I used it throughout my studies for a degree in engineering physics. It still remains in mint condition — with no scratches or marks.
1 – Type II
I bought my Curta on dec, 5th 2014 through the web from Manuel Dierbach – Germany and loved it at once. The machine is brand new and includes the plastic case and the booklet
early type 1 s/n 5420 got on ebay auction.
the machine came without booklet and cannister, with the clearing lever’s ring broken (I’ll get it repaired as soon as possible) but the rest seems to be in good conditions, it seems to be slightly used.
I have no details on the history of the machine but the following anectode told me by the seller: the last owner (not the first for sure!) sold it among other things he wanted to dispose and thought it was a fishing reel.
early type 2 s/n 501181 got on ebay auction, the second oldest registered at this time.
this machine is really in mint condition, with a shining metal cannister, no booklet at moment (I was promised to receive the original one, should it be found later).
With the permission of Adam Parker-Rhodes, who sold it to me in november 2015, I can report that he inherited it from his father Arthur Frederick Parker-Rhodes, a known and polyhedrical british scientist whose notices can be found on Wikipedia. He bought it in 1954 and used it till the 70’s for calculations in noticeable mycology, quantum mechanics and nuclear phisycs studies he published; I feel stunned having it in my hands!
1 – Type II
successfully for it. The Curta was in excellent condition visually but needed some TLC internally, so I sent it to Romano Manaresi in Italy, who cleaned
the machine and fixed a bent carry lever. After that the Curta works perfectly and looks great!
Purchased at auction January 2016
Excellent condition but needed some TLC, so sent it to Romano Manaresi who did an excellent job, as usual!
SN 19588 (Perfect Condition!)
I fell in love with the thing at first sight and always wanted to have one. They almost gave it to me because I knew what it was, but I offered
them $50 for it and they were very appreciative, as was I! There was no box or instructions, but the metal case is in very good condition.
Thank you for doing this site.
Bequeathed to daughter then sold. I am the 4th owner. Clearly had quite a bit of use. It’s complete and working but needs a good clean
in engineering at Bournemouth Technical College, Dorset, England. The Curta immediately replaced my slide rule and I used it for the remainder
of my course; however, I was asked to cease using it in the final exams as other students found the noise distracting.
I continued to use it throughout my carrier as a junior design engineer until my company purchased two very early Casio scientific calculator
with decade tube displays which were the size of a portable type writer; they had decade tube displays and were extremely expensive.
he used it with pride when I was a child. My mother carefully kept it after his death 10 years ago. She recently died and I inherited the machine. It
is a very good condition. My son made an option on it but I am in no hurry to cede it…
I never owned a CURTA back then, but I knew of them from reading about time-distance rallies. When I read Jason’s post, I decided to head over to eBay to see what
I could find. I lost one auction, but succeeded on my second, getting a mint-condition Type I from a guy in Indiana who had just purchased it at an estate sale.
It’s complete with plastic case, original box (same s/n as the calculator), instruction sheet and Computing Examples booklet.
SN 77270 – Plastic Case
1 – Type II
SN 520049 – Metal Case
still in high school I learned to navigate at first using a circular slide rule and ultimately progressing to using a Curta. The Type II was
purchased new by my parents in the 1960s. The Type I is a more recent purchase. I found it on Craigslist in Oregon earlier this year (2015).
It was originally owned by a cartographer working for an eastern Oregon county. It was purchased to navigate on the Monte Shelton Northwest
Classic Rally as the Type II was having some problems. It worked flawlessly. I can’t say the same for the navigator. At this point I would
like to get the Type II repaired or obtain another to use on next year’s rally.
Curta calculators. As a programmable electronic calculator collector (and slide-rules collector as well)
I inmediately fell in love with this wonderful machine. Two hours later, I found and bought a beautiful
Curta calculator from a guy in Buenos Aires (published on the web for only 500 USD!!). The Curta is almost
mint, and has original manual in spanish, and original flyer in spanish too. It was originally bought in
the U.K. in 1958, by my sellers father, and has been stored for the last fifty years inside a box in his closet.
The calculator was discovered by the seller a couple of weeks ago (Aug, 2015), after his father past away.
I was really happy when I find out that my Curta is a rare one (~1.800 in 80.000 Type I produced),
featuring serial number in the first row of the bottom plate, wich I learned in this great web site.
Thank you! Great Website!
1 – Type II
this subject. Whenever someone asks me for this machine I tell the same thing: before I knew it closely, I thought it was one of
those expensive whims of collectors, seeking for that to be small and well-made, for boast… How wrong I was! As I had one in my
hands I knew it’s one of those things that are appreciated from the outset. I am now the proud possessor of a machine of each type
(both in very good condition), and the inevitable poster 😉 Sites like eBay and Etsy are to blame…
for Whittaker Corporation as a VP in their materials division. I remember him using it for more mundane checkbook
reconciliation computations in the late 60’s. I’ve had it since he passed in 1998 and just recently pulled it out of
storage. I started researching Curtas on the internet and was happy to find so much information — and instructions for
its use. A truly amazing machine!
2 – Type II
up a modest collection. My first Curta was a Type I from 1965, purchased shortly after seeing one in the National
Technical Museum in Prague. Since then I have purchased four more, all in excellent working order, including a
Type II with Swiss-made leather field case and a lovely early Type I with pin sliders that has pride of place in
the history of this unique instrument!
I inherited one of these from my father, who passed away in 1990.Â I never talked with him about this tool, although
I wish I had.Â It was likely purchased by him, or perhaps by his brother, both of whom were marine engineers, and
who also worked for their father.Â While it could have been purchased by my grandfather, I think he was mostly
retired by the late 40’s, and died in 1951. The unit is in excellent condition, with a nice black metal case, but
no manual or any other paperwork.
I’ll send you some pics, I didn’t remeber it… it is trully charming and a very elegant piece of engeneering.
** 2016 **
and early 80’s. I never owned a Curta but borrowed them for certain rallies when friends weren’t competing. In the 90’s my
Dad accumulated a significant collection of slide rules so I bought him a Curta for his mechanical calculating device collection.
My Dad died in 2008 and I inherited the Curta and have used it and demonstrated to many over the years. Plastic case….and
it’s in great condition. I also have a fair amount of the original paperwork with this instrument.
511170–Purchased on eBay for a cheap, cheap price as it was disassembled. I have put it back together once, but it did not
work well. There are a couple bent pieces that I need to fix. I am currently taking it back apart and will be rebuilding once
again. Might well have need for a couple parts in the near future. Metal case.
and then this one came across Curta.org’s for sale. It came to me From Pennsylvania it was the owners fathers he remembered seeing
it when he was a kid, his Dad since past and he decided to sell it. Didn’t realize when I bought it its a Prime and a Twin Prime
serial number. Pretty sure this won’t be my last curta, this thing is cool, but I want a Type I
I have the manual also. The Curta is in good working condition with a black metal canister.
This Curta turned up at Habitat for Humanity in New Braunfels, Texas. It was advertised on eBay,
and I phoned HFH and made an offer they accepted. It was advertised as a Type I, but the case color
gave it away as a Type II. Despite its age, it works perfectly.
These photos show the metal canister, and the serial number on the bottom of the Curta.
I’ll note that, as my daughter says, “Back In the Day…” I could do wonders with a Curta and a Picket slide rule.
2 – Type II
Type II, S/N 522196, purchased from a collectibles dealer in Oregon, acquired Jan-97
Type II, S/N 511138, a gift from a friend, acquired in 2003
the rotation arm. It is bent a little I will probably send It to Italy for repair when I can. I am looking for a
canister for it. The one on ebay is plastic. The one for it is supposed to be metal.
551970-This one I got on ebay fairly inexpensively. The Curta was listed “as is”. It did not move according to the
seller. I put in a low bid and I won it. When It arrived I noticed that it did not turn easily. and it moved in reverse.
Took off the bottom plate and it had no pawl lever or roller. Removed top cover and found all the metal arms were bent
backward. Sent an email to an American repairer. He said he might get to it about 2 years. I then sent an email to the
Italian person who repairs Curtas. He had me send it and within a week I had a repair price. That was acceptable. I
sent the money, asked him to repair it. Got it back 2 weeks later. It is in perfect condition. Ready for another 40 years of use.
1 – Type II
to 1980. Used again for TSD rallying 2004 to 2007, including 2004 Press on Regardless in Michigan. Eventually replaced by Richta
Rally Calculator, an Anroid/Apple/Palm application.
through his things in his bedroom when I found it. I had no idea what is was but it was intriguing so I took it home to look
it up on the internet. It is a type I calculator in a metal can and looks like it is in great condition. I do not have the box
or the manual for it. I believe that the serial # (55863) indicates that it was built in 1963. It belonged to my father, who left
it to me. I don’t know how or when he acquired it. I hope that’s useful.
also leather carrying case, the Curta is like it is new
SN 74017 (Plastic Case)
mostly old audio equipment, and a video came up about the Curta. I instantly knew I had to have one! I purchased
my mint condition Type 1, still with original box and manuals, a couple of weeks later on ebay on December 20,
2016 for just over a grand. It was originally purchased in 1970.
** 2017 **
She was selling it for someone else. To her it looked ok. I corresponded with the woman in Peru. She had agreed that if it needed
to be repaired she would return enough to cover the repair. I paid her the money and it came about a week later. It was a “basket
case” the whole thing was locked up, and looked like it had some rust internally. It had round levers instead if rectangular ones,
I sent it off to Romano in Italy, he said it would cost about $300.00 to fix. The woman in Peru returned me $280.00. It came back
from Italy looking and acting like it was 1948 and just came from the factory. I now have Curta’s from 1948 the year I was born,
the year I graduated High School, the year I graduated college.
He was in the cotton business and required calculations with enough significant figures to buy and sell cotton bales at a
profit. I played with the machine in high school and college as a curiosity and sometimes when I actually needed the
precision. This past weekend we visited the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA, where we saw a nice display of
CURTAs. I told one of my grandsons I would look up CURTA on the internet, and so I did.
own one. I saw your Curta poster on EBay and bought it … It’s lovely! … and started looking at the Curta again. I
realized that I’m retired now, I have all the time to study and play with things like this that I could want, and so:
I found a Type II on EBay that was reasonably priced and looks to be in decent shape. It’s on its way to me now.
So I have to learn how to use it. Your site has been a treasure trove of excellent information about the Curta, thank you
again. I’ve now read the instruction manuals and gone through many of the examples, I think I get it. Can’t wait for the
device to arrive so I can practice for real!
My question is about service and maintenance. Depending on the condition of the one I bought, I might need to send it
out for a clean and lubricate, etc. I saw you have two or three folks listed who work on the Curta, but your listings are
a couple of years old. Do you know if they’re all still in operation, or should I contact them to ask what their current status is?
The Curta satisfies my love of fine clockwork mechanisms and my mathematics background. It’s a lovely thing, like a fine
watch or camera. As the world turns ever more to the advantages of digital technology and electronics, I feel we are losing
something marvelous and rewarding if we do not also remember and marvel at the joy in these kinds of craft. These mechanisms
have their place, just as the electronic mechanisms of the present and future do.
however the calculator itself is in excellent condition.
that time were processed to even balls of 1 mm. In 2014, I am over the internet came into possession of a
Curta II from 1953. I noted in passing a small defect and I have this last year reviewed at: Hans-Rudolf
Roshard in Switzerland. It’s just to enjoy with a Curta.
I’d been fascinated by Curtas for years, and thought about 3D printing one from Marcus Wu’s design. But the cost of printing
the plastic parts at Shapeways was approaching the price I found on Ebay, so I figured it was better just to get the real thing.
LOT OF FUN TO PLAY WITH, AS WELL AS USEFUL TO TEACHING MATH ALGORITHMS.
I am sending you the details as I would like to register the curta on yout page!
My father was a great collector of a variety of things! Among his things was this wonderful calculator which
impressed my deeply especially after I read about its story! The CURTA is in Mint State!!
** 2018 **
In the late 80s when I was a small boy, I found this Curta in my dad’s file cabinet. At first I thought this was a
fishing reel (LOL). At that point I did not know nor do I care. Until last year (2016) 20 years later, my father
gave to me and explained that this is a tool for calculating.
My father was a former rubber and oil palm plantation manager in Malaysia. He worked in the estate since the 60’s.
Where at that time many plantation managers in Malaysia are Englishman. Maybe the Curta was used by them as well.
Condition: Excellent operating. But the clearing lever ring/pin has long been broken. The metal case and bottom
of the calculator shows wear or tear.
I remember as he showed me how it works as I was a young boy. He give it to me a few years ago. The Curta works
perfectly and looks like unused.
Sometime between late 1968and early 1970, I ordered it but I’m looking for my receipt, but so far no luck. I paid
$165 plus another $16 for a leather carrying case. I’ve had it for the entire time and used it regularly until 1973
when I got my HP-45. What a great piece of engineering it (the Curta) is! The Curta came with a booklet (10.5 x 15 mm)
that was copyright by CONTINA AG, Vaduz, Liechtenstein, with computing examples, but no date. It also included a fold-over
pamphlet, “Your CURTA Calculator”, listing examples of the four arithmetical rules. This pamphlet was also printed in
Liechtenstein by BVD Vaduz. Another piece of literature I found was a small tri-fold titled, World Famous CURTA,
listing the national distributor from whom I purchased. I’d like to have it looked at by a service technician because
even after ONLY 45+ years it might need some cleaning, etc. Thanks for a great website. Aloha.
metal counter clockwise hard case. This very early Type 1 needed service and lubrication. We found Jack Christensen
in IL and sent it to him. He endured thru some health issues to send us a perfectly working very early Type 1 Curta.
This Curta was manufactured in March 1948 with serial number 3672 – there were 79527 Type 1 CURT’s made. In March
2018 this Curta will be 70 years old. My brother Denis own 3 other Type 2’s
Along of the years, it was possible to perceive how important was this calculator for him.
The intimacy on managing it. And how much proud was he when teaching
us how to handle it, are simples things that make us proud to
receive the responsability to keep this calculator safe. Not only
because it is rare but because it is wonderful at the fine details in
which these machines were built. The Curta accuracy, engine, etc, send us back to the past.
He gave the to my soon, which also is a mathematic lover.
My soon knows that this Curta belongs to him and it is temporary under my protection.
I’m not clear which type it is, but I guess is Type II. Manufactured: February, 10 to 15th, 1956
It is in extremely good shape and purrs its numbers nicely.
The pads inside the metal cylinder are still inside (grey) and is the
white o-ring to make the whole case watertight has some yellow marks.
As far as I know, my father in law was the first buyer.
Thanks for the chance to learn more about this lovely machine.
a hand generator for setting off an IED. As soon as I saw it I knew what it was and made sure it came home with me.
I would also like to have it cleaned up and made useable again.
director, he bought it in the early 1960’s. He retired and kept it preciously until he handed it to me as a legacy.
The Curta is complete, in pristine condition, with its manual, its metal case and no missing parts.
This object of precision still works a treat. Its silky, clicky sounds still amaze me. As a mechanical engineer by
education, a Curta is an object of mesmerising fascination. As a grandson, this very Curta will always remind me of
my grandfather. I can still remember him showing us how to use it. He told us that he paid the price of a small car
for his beloved Curta.
Enough talked about my Curta. Rick, I must thank you for your well made web site and its wealth of information.
I purchased this Curta Type 1 and case from a man in France who said he bought it along with some
photography equipment. It is in near mint condition, with the case having only a minor amount of finish wear.
about 45 years ago at a place I was working. It has been in the original box with all the paper/manuals basically
since then . I would say it is in new condition with absolutely no marks.
Steering Gear Division, around 1971, I joined the Saginaw Valley Sports Car Club of America. A roommate
at the time, Jim Miller, was Club President and asked me to be his Navigator for Road Rallies. I did some
studying and decided I needed to buy a Curta Calculator, so I purchased a new Curta and learned how to use.
No recollection of what I paid. We won several Road Rallies in the next couple years. I left Saginaw in
1972 and my Rally days were over. My Curta was probably not used more than 10 times in a couple years, put
back in the original box in 1972 and stored in a warm indoor environment. It’s time for me to list on eBay
and find this lightly used, Very Good Condition Curta a new home.
and found a mint condition Curta II from Germany (292573411647). Based on my understanding of the production
date, it was being created (December 1960) at the same time I was being created (born April 1961).
1 – Type II
Unfortunately, we all used slide rules back then.
The Curta is a testament to human ingenuity, and one of the few devices that you can actually own (and still work)
from that era. When I found a Type I on Ebay in mint condition, I had to have it. I then proceeded to find a
Type II in mint condition.
I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO SELL IT.
It’s in really nice condition, but I don’t have the case or manual.
I’ve always been interested in old technology mathematics and just had to get one.
1 – Type II
Unfortunately, we all used slide rules back then.
The Curta is a testament to human ingenuity, and one of the few devices that you can actually own (and still work)
from that era. When I found a Type I on Ebay in mint condition, I had to have it. I then proceeded to find a Type
II in mint condition.
present , and after some looking I was able to find one on eBay for a reasonable price.
It’s in really nice condition, but I don’t have the case or manual.
I’ve always been interested in old technology mathematics and just had to get one.
Curta to one of the meetings and I was so impressed with the calculator and its silky smooth operation
that I decided that I had to have one. After a short search I found a nice example with a scientific
instrument dealer at a very reasonable price.
two . They are both in EXCELENT condition ,good paint, no broken parts ,and FULLY FUNCTIONING with no slipping
on any of the cogs or gears or operations . i bought the Curta post which i framed nicely and also an instruction
booklet . one of them is in a metal can and the other is plasticÂ .But as I said they are excellent and i use
them regularly . i bought both of them on ebay from a dealer in France. Kind regards Christopher.
One of my goals in life is to find another one at an estate sale.
This belonged to my father who was plant manager at Ovaltine Food Products in Villa Park Illinois for many years. I don’t
know how much he used it.
I think this was made around 1951.
** 2019 **
a little more accurate than a slide rule !
I was not aware of this calculator until Scientific American article of March 2004.
People should know that this calculator will do square roots.
at some time as it came in a plastic container instead of the metal ones that would be used for it’s serial
number. This or some other registry I forgot about at the time listed it as owned by someone in Germany,
likely sold afterwards
I was wondering about if my Curta was worth what i paid for it ($580USD) and what its actual worth is? [$450-$950)
I would never sell it but I’m just curious.
Do Curtas normally look that clean or has mine not been used that much? [Yes they do, It’s amazing how well they hold up.]
The Curta works perfectly but does not come with any manual or anything, so I was also wondering where i could buy a manual for the book? [download it from my site]
I was looking for any kind of book with instructions that was used with the Curta. [The normal “manual” is just a long single sheet set of instructions, on two sides]
I’m totally fascinated by it and have been for a few years now but have never seen one at a reasonable price. [They hold their value due to their popularity]
Any information you can give to me would be wonderful, or even the contact details of someone who could give me this information. [All the info I have is on my web site]
( http://www.arthurgrussell.com/ ) in Bristol, Connecticut as their only electronics technician. It was a fantastic
company to work for and I was fortunate enough to work for the sole electrical engineer, Warren Dion.
Warren was a WW II veteran and one of the most brilliant engineers I’ve had the pleasure to know. He took me under
his wing and taught me as much as my brain could hold. We really hit it off and I worked for him for about four years.
The company engineered, designed and manufactured special purpose machinery. Most of it was automation machines for
manufacturing. It was complicated equipment and lots of fun to work with.
Warren had a Curta calculator and used it for his day-to-day calculating work. He was a wizard with it. He had always
wanted to become a radio amateur. I had my radio license and helped him to earn his. He was already somewhat proficient
in Morse code and learned everything very quickly. In those days, the code was required, it no longer is.
After I left the company to finish my engineering degree, I went to work for Digital Equipment Corp., another fine
company. I moved away to New Hampshire but we kept in touch over the years via ham radio, almost every weekend. One
day, a package arrived, and it had a Curta in it. Warren had two of them and gave me one. I can’t tell you how thrilled
I was. I never really learned how to program it that well, electronic calculators had filled my calculating needs.
Nonetheless, I value the Curta more than any calculator I have ever owned.
Warren passed a number of years ago, but I can still see him sitting in his office, spinning the lever and coming up to
solutions to problems. Thanks for allowing me the memories.
1 – Type II
small. Red colored very small almost fine dirt or wood dust with a floral smell???
Bought type II on ebay. It seemed to be a in a private collection that decided to sell it. Looks like it was never used.
but trying to get more info. It is in very close to mint and better condition than most I have seen listed.
but at first had not idea what a Curta was. Before you know it, he had infected me with his enthusiasm for the
engineering that went into the device (He’s a Mechanical, I’m an Electrical), and when I realized that they are
not unlike the Swiss watches I own in their complexity and craftsmanship, and available on eBay for less than a
typical watch with a Swiss Movement, I entered a bid. A couple of days later I won it, with no complications
or drama. My primary calculator today (2019) is an HP48 (1991), but from the serial number I discovered this
Curta calculator is nearly as old as I am and it is becoming my new best friend! Stepping through the algorithm
to solve for a square root is almost as soothing as petting my dog!
1 – Type II
small almost fine dirt or wood dust with a floral smell???
Type II: Bought it on ebay. It seemed to be a in a private collection that decided to sell it. Looks like it was never used.
1 – Type II
and showed me it when I was a boy. I remember sitting in my father’s office while he was working, playing with
the calculator and listening to the gears turn. I was always fascinated with how it counted the numbers and the
sound it made when the handle was turned. In 2011, my father passed away and leading up to his death, he had
rented his house out. During that time, the tenants found the calculator and took it. We did not discover the
calculator was missing until much later. Unfortunately, we did not record the serial number and therefore we did
not have proof it had every existed or that my father had one. Over the years I thought about looking in second
hand stores to see anyone had one or if Curta calculators even existed. One day my wife suggested that I look
on e-bay and after some hesitation, I went onto e-bay to look. I was amazed, not only in finding one type of
Curta calculator, but several Curtas and that people were selling them. It was then that I noted that there
were two model types of Curta calculators. After some debate with myself, I decided that I wanted to have a
Curta calculator as a show piece, and started seriously looking on e-bay. After lots of looking, I decided to
buy one of each. Although I don’t have my father’s original type 2 calculator, at least I feel that I have an
example of what my father had used. Hopefully my children find it as interesting as I still do.
it has been untouched for many years, the previous owner inherited it and then placed it in storage.
was a road rally enthusiast who drove his Porsche 911 all over Colorado. He competed in the class that
allowed only mechanical calculators, and so he used a Curta extensively. I don’t recall whether it was
a Type I or II. He was a terrific physics teacher; in fact, both of my brothers and I all went on to get
PhD’s in experimental physics!
I had long forgotten about Curtas until I built a 3D printer for my 60th birthday and subsequently
stumbled onto M. Wu’s 3D-printed 3:1 scale Type I. This brought back memories, and when I read the
Scientific American article I got really hooked.
I next was lucky to stumble upon an E-Bay sale from a pawn shop (Newport Pawn of Newport OR). My winning bid was $760.
The seller had great photos. This Type II is in terrific shape. The only wear is on the metal case, and on the
top where the clearing ring pivots into the retaining pin (a tiny scratched arc). The metal case has the bottom
pad in place, but is missing the top padding.
The Curta is engraved: Commissioner “Dom” Tavaglione
I’ve found a possible match in Riverside, California, a State athletic commissioner by that name. I’m
hoping to get more info from the seller.
I’m ecstatic to have a working Type II, prime number serial number no less! Now it’s on to try to 3D-print
and assemble a Type I replica.
calculator as he was. The Curta was stolen some thirty years ago. I purchased SN 59944 on eBay in Aug of 2019.
It was found at an estate sale in NC, and shows no signs of wear. Will try to find a type II to add to the
collection in the future.
After learning more about them, I wanted one for a number of years. One day I finally pulled the trigger on this
unit after eBay / other internet searching.
SN 530503 (circa 1957, judging by the s/n)
lurking around the edges of many an EBay auction, I decided to finally take the plunge and purchase
one from Romano Manaresi at Italy Curta Service. It arrived yesterday in perfect condition, and I
cannot say enough in praise of Romano and the work he does. Now I’m busy practicing how to do square
roots, consecutive multiplication, and anything else I can wrap my head around.
exceptional price and it arrived, I was overjoyed since it was in near mintÂ condition and containing
all parts. I first heard about the Curta Calculator from a video by Cliff Stoll whom I had dealt with
for many years. I then found your website which is just chuck full of Curta data!Â Attached are photos
of my machine. Thank you for your efforts in celebrating and pulling together documentation of this
amazing piece of technology!
it arrived, I was overjoyed since it was in near mintÂ condition and containing all parts. I first heard about the Curta
Calculator from a video by Cliff Stoll whom I had dealt with for many years. I then found your website which is just chuck full
of Curta data!Â Attached are photos of my machine. Thank you for your efforts in celebrating and pulling together documentation
of this amazing piece of technology!
the elegance of the project, after all I am an engineer. Shortly after I found an ad of a Curta for sale on the internet in SÃ£o Paulo, .
It was an expensive Curta for my budget, but I bought it and I’m still enchanted by it.
SN 522 981 (serial number on the top of the bottom)
As he was an architect I suppose that was the reason – or the excuse – for him to buy this Curta.
It’s in perfect shape, so I don’t think he used it that much.
I guess he prefered to hold it and look at it, just as I do.
I was telling him about the Curta calculators after I stumbled upon them while looking for slide rule information. He
approached me a few weeks later and gave me this Curta as a gift. He said, “I collect too many things and found this while
purchasing some other collectibles” and then gave it to me as a gift.
I inherited this curta from my grandfather and it has been in my possession for more than 20 years.
1 – Type II
I just couldn’t afford it. On July 9, 2017, I finally became the proud owner of one.”
SN 27642 (1954)
possesion since then.
Probably bought in Germany since he much business with that country.
advertisement. The Curta didn’t come with either of the cases or any documentation. It shows a little wear but is in otherwise
pretty good shape and functions properly.
** 2020 **
more common and numerous vintage computing machinery. I was fortunate to find one with the original container and leather field case
Jan 20, 1969, so it’s over 50 years old and in near mint condition. The only wear shows were clearing lever
moved in and out. I am a retired Electrical and Software engineer. I love math and numbers. I also love
mechanical devices. I’ve mastered calculating square roots of 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 with the help of two YouTube
videos on square root of 3 and 5.
1 – Type II
Sliderule. During the second semester, Craig came out with an electronic calculator that could add,
subtract, multiply and divide for about $150.00. Although I had heard of the CURTA, the price was
more than the Craig so I went electronic (1973). Always wanted a CURTA as a piece of superior
engineering and its associated history.
Edgar from Voorburg in the Netherlands. I bought the Curta from his son after Nat had passed away, the
transaction was easy and the communication great. I have registered ownership but left Nats name on the
list as he had registered ownership in 1979. I would love to know where it was prior to Nat’s ownership.
Only sign of age is the cork lining at the bottom of the metal case is crumbled. Still has the
stickers inside for CURTA Calculators of Canada on Davenport Road in Toronto. Based on the
manufacture date (1957), I assume he bought it while in Vancouver at UBC. As a professor of
physics he was always doing some sort of calculations, he probably packed this away when he
bought an HP card-Programmable calculator about 1980. I did a few sample calculations, it still works.
It was faulty, but luckyly I live closeby to the Italian Curta repair shop so I took it there. it was
repaired and cleaned and works perfect ever since.
1 – Type II
the CURTA” manual from CONTINA Ltd with 48 pages.
534315 without box. Both are in perfect condition.
About 6 years ago I started collecting old electronic calculators, mainly Hewlett-Packard, of which I
have several models, some quite interesting (like a new boxed Xpander, unused!). Later I also got some
mechanical calculators and that’s how I learned about CURTA. I bought my two CURTA’s on eBay (at quite
high prices). I also got a * copy * (6 letter size sheets) of a manual titled “Your CURTA calculator”
that has a stamp that I assume was the original purchaser: “C. H. Berry Â Jan 29 1962
1 – Type II
Desde siempre me gustaron los sistemas mecánicos, cuando conocí las sumadoras mecánicas gracias a una Original Odhner que adquirí sin saber que era empecé a coleccionarlas, así me hice de algunas sumadoras Facit, Monroe, Resulta, Remintong Rand, Friden y otras pero siempre en busca de alguna Curta económica que pudiera comprar y encontré estas 3 piezas.
[T] I have always liked mechanical systems, when I met mechanical adding machines thanks to an Original Odhner that I acquired without knowing what it was, I started collecting them, that is how I got some Facit, Monroe, Resulta, Remintong Rand, Friden and other adding machines but always looking of some cheap Curta that I could buy and I found these 3 pieces.
Encontré estas 3 Curtas buscando por internet la Curta Type 2 (524479) Marketplace, siendo la primera de fecha de compra 30/04/2018, vendedor Enrique Moreno de Tlalnepantla $11,500 MXN, tenia el arillo de revoluciones un poco dañado el cual yo tuve que reparar viendo videos por YouTube así me anime a desarmarla y repararla, en condiciones le pongo un 9.
[T] I found these 3 Curtas by searching the Internet for the Curta Type 2 (524479) Marketplace, the first being the date of purchase 04/30/2018, seller Enrique Moreno de Tlalnepantla $ 11,500 MXN, it had a little damaged gear, which I had to repair watching videos on YouTube so I encourage you to take it apart and repair it, in conditions I put a 9.
Curta Type 1 (48170) con caja, siendo la segunda la encontré en la pagina de segunda mano con fecha 19/09/2018, vendedora María de Zapopan Jalisco $10,000 MXN, era parte de la colección del padre fallecido la de señora María, condicion de 10 esta nueva.
[T] Curta Type 1 (48170) with box, being the second one I found on the second-hand page dated 09/19/2018, seller María de Zapopan Jalisco $ 10,000 MXN, it was part of the collection of the deceased father, that of Mrs. María, condition out of 10 is new.
Curta Type 1 (3493) la ultima adquisición y la mas rara, Marketplace Facebook de fecha 20/10/2019, vendedor Angel Edo Mex, $3800 MXN es de los primero números de seriales cuenta con pines redondos de selección y con la descripción: System Curt Herzstark debajo de la palabra CURTA, sin embargo esta dañada y funciona a medias, condición 7 ya esta en proceso de reparación.
[T] Curta Type 1 (3493) the latest and rarest acquisition, Marketplace Facebook dated 10/20/2019, seller Angel Edo Mex, $ 3800 MXN is the first serial number with round selection pins and the description: System Curt Herzstark under the word CURTA, however it is damaged and works halfway, condition 7 is already under repair.
Seguiré subiendo información si adquiero nuevas piezas, Gracias por leerme.
[T] I will continue uploading information if I purchase new parts.
Thanks Rick Furr for you nice work c:
1 – Type II
involved the engineering behind and the history of mechanical calculators. During one of the lectures the professor was telling
us about the Curta calculator, how amazing it was and still is! I was immediately intrigued by it and I started searching for
it online. After some time I found a type 1 for a decent price and not much later I found a type 2 for an even better price!
Now I am the proud owner of both types! 🙂
Didn’t know where to find one of his calculators, and looked on EBAY and found a type I for around 300 dollars with case and
manuals in pristine condition. I take it out every once in a while just to be sure I remember how to do basic functions and
marvel at the accomplishment of this invention.
1 – Type II
that barely is noticeable. The Type II is in mint condition and appears unused. Both have their original storage cans in near mint
condition. Both were nicely lubricated by previous owner. The Type II arrived in original factory cardboard shipping package with
all the original paperwork, and they both function flawlessly.
these since the ’60s. Used slide rules in school, then HP calculators. This is a piece of mechanical genius. Learning the math
great help to know (and love) more about this jewels.
I want to help you to make your page better a bit (if it’s yet possible). I want to know you I recently acquired a Curta Type I
with a serial number 7278 with rectangle entry levers. Note: A new record low serial number for rectangular enter levers! -Rick-
He was a brewery manager in Kent up until his retirement in 1974.
The brewery closed in 1990.
This item was amongst other office artefacts given to my father on closure.
My father passed away and after 11 years, Jack found me letting me know he had repaired my dad’s Curta. I paid for the
services and he sent it to me last week.
2 – Type II
confinement of Covid 19 I was attracted to the subject of old
calculating machines, of which I have been able to make a small
collection. I managed to buy a type I curta for a good price, and my
daughter Elena and myself found it so incredible and fascinating that
we could not but buy another type I and two other type II, one just
from the year I was born, 1968. Precisely with the last type II (SN
519818) that we bought on eBay, the seller assured us that it worked
correctly, “Très bon état” it said, but it was not, the machine did
not operate correctly. Looking on the internet we found “Curta Service
Italy” and contacted by email with Mr. D. Romano Manaresi in Italy,
who cleaned the machine and was able to fix it with his great skills,
so that the machine works wonderfully (Thank you very much D. Romano
!! We recommend very much his services!!) Also, through Mr. Romano we
were able to get a leather case for it (they sold it to us without
packaging). I am looking for an original metal case, although I think
my daughter has loved the leather one so much that it is her favorite.
I do not rule out, if circumstances allow it, to expand my small
collection, because I consider it a wonder that machines with about 60
years work so well.
According to the information found on this website, this particular Type 1 was manufactured in 1950.
It’s still in the original metal container in what I would call near-mint condition (the rubber base at the bottom of the
inside of the container has dried out and cracked due to its age). It also still has the original carboard box it came in,
which has the matching serial number on it, as well as the instructions manual. There is also a small brochure that says
“Checkmate that problem!” with a picture of a CURTA on a chess board and lists the name of the retailer where my grandfather
purchased it in PA on the back with a handwritten “134.70” which I assume is the price he paid. Had I not known the date of
manufacture, I would easily have assumed it was made in 2020!
I bought it a few years ago on ebay.
I am a science writer and I am going to write an article on the Curta for the mathematical magazine”Prisma”.
I am putting on the market (in november) a new mathematical board game – “Mathematicus” – a sort of Monopoly, bu but all mathematical,
with hundreds of cards with questions of 4 different levels (the game is for people from 8 to 99). One question was on the Curta.
Your site is precious. Wonderful work.