In 1980, the Olivetti Logos 9 printing calculator was a major technological breakthrough. Though just a bit larger than a cigarette pack, the Logos 9 had advanced features making it the most sophisticated compact printing calculator in the world at the time.
The Olivetti Logos 9 introduced several innovative design features. It had a sliding top that exposed a precise printing head for printing clear letters and numbers. The printing head did not require ink cartridges, instead using thermographic paper that produced sharp images when struck.
Another breakthrough was the paper system. The Logos 9 used convenient paper cartridges that each held enough paper for 1,300 entries. Changing paper simply required popping in a new cartridge.
Power and Speed
Rechargeable batteries powered the Logos 9’s full 12-digit liquid crystal display and printer for up to 80 hours of typical use per charge. The batteries could be recharged up to 500 times, providing power for around 300 paper rolls. The Logos 9 printed at a fast 2.1 lines per second. A buffer allowed rapid data entry without slowing down printing.
The Logos 9 had two separate memories – an accumulating memory and an independent memory. The display indicated which memory held the data being printed. The semi-alphabetic printing head labeled entries, like “LP” for list price and “CNT” for count.
Other sophisticated features included automatic computation of gross margins, discounts, and retail pricing from entered percentages. The calculator could round off figures as desired and compute averages of columns of entered numbers. A digital clock display used the 12-digit display when the calculator was not in use.
The breakthrough design of the Logos 9 eliminated many components between the integrated circuit and print head. Since Olivetti engineered the entire system, not just components, they achieved a level of sophistication not possible for other companies. At a retail price of $89.95 with batteries, charger and warranty, the Logos 9 delivered outstanding value. For its innovations, it received “Most Innovative Product of the Year” at the 1980 Consumer Electronics Show.