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Sharp Elsi-Mate EL-8019

The Sharp Elsi-Mate EL-8019 was introduced in 1976 and it was made in Japan.

a folded view of the Sharp Elsi-Mate EL-8019

This is not your run-of-the-mill plastic monstrosity - no, this was a calculator for the blue bloods, for the bourgeoisie and well-to-do. Striking one at first as a compact or a wallet of some kind, its technological nature is betrayed by that demure little Sharp logo on the corner of that soft, brown leather. A press of the protruding button on the metal perimeter allows the device to be opened and...

opened view of the Sharp Elsi-Mate EL-8019

Nothin' but class. This twenty-button calculator turns on when opened, owing to a button that is released by the separation of the two halves. We are presented with a yellow LCD screen. The eye is however drawn to a large metal plate that displays information usually displayed somewhere on the back of a calculator - not an option for the Sharp Elsi-Mate EL-8019, which has that pristine leather exterior that couldn't possibly be marred by something so obscene as information.

another opened view of the Sharp Elsi-Mate EL-8019

That metal plate hides a battery compartment that takes four 1.5V LR52 button cells (not the easiest to find in this day and age). Again, something usually found in the back of a calculator, but here placed in the front to preserve that lovely leather exterior:

another opened view of the Sharp Elsi-Mate EL-8019, this time of the leather exterior

All design-related fervour aside, the Sharp Elsi-Mate EL-8019 is a rather unremarkable calculator for its day were it not for that leathery, metallic, premium design. The screen is typical of early LCD technology, with its yellow filter to enhance readability, and the half of the device holding the screen lies flat or has to be somehow propped up for use, as it has no mechanism to hold it upright. So nothing to be all that amazed at really if it weren't for the pleasant feel of the materials, the reassuring heft of its largely metallic construction, and the gratifying 'click' it gives when it closes.

A perfect device for the gentry then - something for them to nervously play with as they are lined up against a wall when our glorious people's revolution begins.

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