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Sharp EL-808

The Sharp EL-808, introduced in 1973 and made in Japan, was the second handheld LCD calculator ever sold (after the EL-805). It's designed in metal and plastic, the latter having a leathery texture.

It's 185mm high by 105mm wide, and tapers from 20mm to 35mm in thickness. It takes 4 AA batteries inserted in the back, and it came with a faux leather sleeve and a very stylish 70s manual.

top view of the Sharp EL-808 with its screen closed

A jovial press of the button to the lower right of an aliminium hatch causes said hatch to pop open, and the screen is engaged:

animation of the screen being opened, 7 8 9 being typed, and then the screen being closed again

This is a screen unlike any other. It uses what Sharp called Crystal On Substrate (COS) technology, and it looks a bit trippy when the numbers are forming. The background is black, and the numbers are silvery and reflective.

The screen is sunk a bit deep into the device, but it requires external lighting to be legible. The solution is a little transparent plastic window in the top, just over the screen, that allows light to fall onto the numbers, rendering them visible. It's a lovely bit of engineering.

top view of the device with its screen opened cose up of the screen displaying the numbers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

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