A calculator, or a computer?
Industrial designer and San Francisco native Roy Ozaki was integral to the design of the HP9100A desktop calculator, shown here in a 1967 photograph of the device’s first clay model. Ozaki was interned with his family at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming during World War II, but after the war he enlisted in the US Army as a Japanese interpreter for the Civil Affairs Team and then served in the Military Intelligence Service unit interrogating Japanese POWs returning from Soviet prison camps. After graduating from the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena with an industrial design degree, he worked for IBM, Whirlpool, and Goodyear before joining HP. The HP9100A was described as a “powerful computing genie” that was the first personal computer and the catalyst for the personal computing revolution.
Bill Hewlett himself took an active interest in its development, using much of his free time to monitor it after a skiing accident landed him in a hospital. But even though the HP9100A was essentially a desktop computer (weighing in at 40 pounds and costing $4,900), it was never marketed as one. Hewlett explained: “If we had called it a computer, it would have been rejected by our customers’ computer gurus because it didn’t look like an IBM [computer]. We, therefore, decided to call it a calculator, and all such nonsense disappeared.” – Andrea Bell-Matthews
Fit for a queen
During her historic 70-year reign, Queen Elizabeth II witnessed many technological advances, from the evolution of the television to the home computer to smartphones. But long before she could tour the heart of Silicon Valley to see their origins firsthand, she, too, had her own ties to service during WWII.
She enlisted in the Auxiliary Territorial Service in 1945 and trained to become a military truck driver and mechanic. The first female member of the royal family to serve in the armed forces, she was promoted to honorary junior commander, the equivalent of an army captain, after completing five months of training. The war ended before she could be assigned to active duty.