Contributed Columns

This article is hilarious! Like Doctor McCoy once said in disgust, "The bureaucratic mentality is the one constant in the universe."

Enjoy this glimpse into The Way Things Were... and still are!

-Joe Horn-

Richard Kirka (847)

"65 Notes," July 1976
Volume 3, Number 6, Page 2

Back in the late 60's, the Army Artillery branch at Fort Sill was going to send out bids to electronics companies to build about 1000 pocket calculators for field use by artillery units. Just as the bids were to go out, HP announced the HP-35, which exceeded their wildest dreams. So they cancelled the bids and said they wanted the HP-35's.

Even though the total cost of the calculators would have been $400,000 (and even less in large quantities to the government), strenuous tests had to be performed on the calculator because of Army procurement policy. After two years of testing, and several hundred thousand dollars, the HP-35 was declared fit for purchase.

However, by that time, the HP-35 was out of production. But now Fort Sill wanted the HP-45 instead, for the same original price as the HP-35. Now the HP-45 was put through the exact same tests as the 35. When it was approved, it, too, was out of production.

So the Army spent probably $1 million and years to test a produc- tion model that they were going to spend less than $400,000 on. And the product isn't even being made any more. So now artillery units still don't have portable calculators because by the time the bureaucracy gets around to approving the items, they are no longer in production. That is why I used my HP-65 when I was in the National Guard, and awed everyone from Generals on down with it.

Part of the HP Calculator Archive -