In a message dated 12/21/2003 9:59:29 AM Central Standard Time,
> Ditto electronic timing, of course, which brings up another subject.
> Anybody out there remember the Curta calculator? It was a hand-held
> calculator that looked like a little pepper mill. It would add, subtract,
> multiply, divide, and do roots accurate to 11 figures. In the 60's anybody
> who wanted to win rallies used one. The latest issue of Scientific American
> has a delightful article on it. I learned from the article that this
> calculator was invented by a Curt Herzstark while he was incarcerated in a
> Nazi concentration camp. Inventing it saved his life. He sketched it out on
> small scraps of paper and after the war he interested the Crown Prince of
> Lichtenstein in manufacturing it there.
I think they too worked on the premise of 'chained addition', like the old
Burroughs (sp?) mechanical calculators. And yes, they were critical to anyone
involved in Time/Speed/Distance rallys, so popular with the Sports Car crowd
who chose not to race wheel to wheel. Later the popularity of Rallys went
with the advent of electronic programmable calculators, which were TSD
Illegal but easy to hide. They made winning easy. Everyone could be
I actually ran a TSD Rally in Ole Blue once at a North American Triumph
Challenge (pre-VTR Convention) event in the early 1980s. Having an electronic
programmable calculator didn't help me, however. I was too dumb to know you
supposed to stop and check in at the various check points. I just waved, as I
wizzed by. Got real funny looks from the Rally Checkers. Of course, I get
funny looks from almost anyone who sees me.