Because of my Magyar heritage, I have a sweet tooth for antique electronic devices from Hungary. Vintage Hungarian computers are rare and hard to acquire. Today, I will write about the Híradástechnika Szövetkezet (HT, Communications Technology Cooperative in English). Founded in 1951, the cooperative – well, at that time Hungary was communist and behind the iron curtain – developed and manufactured video and transmission devices used in television applications. The cooperative didn’t stop there and produces successful measurement equipment such as oscilloscopes, test frame generators, multimeters, etc. In the 70s’, HT started producing computing systems. These systems were strongly oriented toward image and video stream processing. Keep in mind that it was particularly hard for communist countries to acquire state of the art electronic technologies back then. To bypass restrictions, HT established close partnerships with western companies, in the beginning, in Canada (Bowmar).
Later on, HT also acquired licenses to produce calculators and computers from US companies. For example, I own a PTK-1072 (Commodore PR-100) and a TK-1024 (National Semiconductor 4640). A couple of remarks: First, the TK-1024 is an RPN scientific calculator. Beside few MK soviet models, it is the only other non-HP RPN calculator I own. Second, the P in PTK stands for programmable. You can find in the PDF linked below the list of calculators manufactured by HT (dated 1980). HT also produced Texas Instruments calculators: PTK-1030(TI-51 III), PTK-1050 (TI-57), PTK-1096 (TI-59) and KA-100 printer, followed by newer models sold as-is (TI-57 LCD). In many cases, a simple (aluminum) sticker with the HT logo was affixed to the device. Because consistency was not paramount, collectors can find many variations on how the HT brand was used. Finally, in 1984, HT produced two versions of the Japanese SHARP PC-1500 pocket computer. I am the happy owner of the two versions produced and sold under the PTA-4000 and PTA-4000+16 model names. Last, if you play the video linked below – at least the beginning –, you may hear the production of the 70s’ electronic music pioneers (Chants Magnétiques 2 by Jean-Michel Jarre right at the beginning). This music type was often used as the soundtrack to may Hungarian TV shows. I have a vivid memory waiting for every episode of Delta when I was a kid and rushing upstairs as soon as we heard Song of The Second Moon by Tom Dissevelt & Kid Baltan.
A video about the company (in Hungarian).
A paper on the company (in Hungarian)
7 thoughts on “Híradástechnika Szövetkezet”
In my childhood I played with such a calculator at my father’s workplace. It’s part of being an IT man.
And don’t forget to mention the HT-1080Z home computer which was a licensed version of the Video Genie based on the Tandy TRS–80 Modell I. It was broadly used in elementary and high school education, HT shipped 2364 units for that purpose. (We had ZX-81, ZX Spectrum, Commodores too.)
Szia Jamel! 🙂
Attila Csongor Kiss Indeed! I was focusing on calculators in this post, but there were other home computer manufacturers (Videoton TVCs for example). This paper contains few – older – references: web.itf.njszt.hu – web.itf.njszt.hu/23r4r23r/uploads/2012/09/Computers-behind-the-Iron-Curtain.pdf
youtube.com – Videoton TV Computer bemutató
Jamel Tayeb oh yeah! I missed the focus. 🙂 I’m pretty sure You will write about the computers as well. I used many of them.
ht.homeserver.hu – HT
Another good video: youtube.com – Interjú Nagy Károllyal a “Nekem 8-bit!” kiállításról
Notably, I like most of the eastern (product) designs better than their western counterparts…