In Pictures: Groovy 1970s consumer tech

The 1970s played host to an explosion in consumer electronics gadgets that changed how we educate, entertain, calculate, and communicate.


During the 1970s, electronic calculators morphed from bulky, expensive luxuries to tiny pocket commodities that anyone could own. By 1974, calculators had already shrunk drastically in size and price, as you can see here in these images from a 1974 JCPenney catalog. The pocket model on the right sold for $35, which is about $160 today when adjusted for inflation. Contrast that with one of the first pocket calculators, the 1971 Bowmar 901B, which retailed for the equivalent of $1343 in today's dollars. Now, you can find an equally powerful calculator in a cereal box. If you have Spotify installed on your system, you can listen to perhaps the greatest song ever composed about a pocket calculator.

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