Last weekend, I paid a visit to the pop-up exhibit Greg Maletic hosted in the offices of Panic in downtown Portland (Oregon). The expo presented 250 calculators from 1968 to 1983 from Greg’s collection. If you don’t know, Panic is the company that brought to market the Playdate pocket console – the yellow one with the crank analog controller! So, if you recognize the iconic console in some of the pictures I took, you know why 😊
Greg organized the expo in thematic sections: Miniaturization, TI, HP, Eastern Europe, Golden Age, European Design, Executive Suite, etc. Two aspects of the expo struck me. First, all the exposed calculators – and yes, we could touch and use them – are in perfect shape, and many are in working condition—a remarkable feat for the older models bearing gorgeous nixie displays like the Sony SOBAX ICC-100W from 1967.
Second, the calculators were beautifully showcased in the Panic offices. For instance, the Eastern European section was set up in a meeting room with a strong ‘70s vibe. And that’s precisely what Greg plans to develop: build an ecrin around his beloved calculators. To do so, he intends to use period furniture, art, etc. Such a historical context will showcase even better the calculators!
When I asked Greg which calculator was his favorite, without much hesitation, he pointed to his first, a TI-5100 from 1976, for its design and color scheme. Design is truly a leitmotiv of the exposition, with gorgeous models such as the Sears 78 or C1, Olivetti LOGOS 59, Carrett 2000, Singer Friden Calculator, etc. I am not a specialist in the period, but I discovered many calculators and brands I have never seen. Humbling!
Greg will continue sharing his collection, so if you are in Portland’s region, get on the mailing list by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, and keep an eye on the website (here). I look forward to returning to the ‘70s again as Greg expands his collection and its environment.
Thank you, Greg, for the time travel and your hospitality!