1980s Citizen World Time and Alarm Clock Card

After cleaning out my closet recently, I re-discovered this little Citizen credit-card sized LCD clock and became amazed all over again. I’ve had this little thing for at least 20 years, it was one of the earliest things I’d purchased in one of my weekend jaunts to NYC. If I had to guess on the year of manufacture, I would say 1984. I presume this little gadget was marketed to the businessman who at the time could not rely on email, online chat or video conferencing to get his job done. Meetings of international business were always face-to-face and required time-consuming and expensive travel. So, “world time” was a popular feature in clocks and wristwatches.

Not much larger than a stack of credit cards, this little plastic device is controlled by pressure-sensitive membrane buttons to control its LCD readout. Up top, we see a world map delineated with key time zones. Beneath is our digital readout which consists of two windows, surrounded by key cities and respective time zones. If you check the world cities, you’ll note the clock shows its age with the reference of “Peking”. The primary LCD displays a time zone with respective time. The lower window displays New York Time, London Time and Home Time (set to your preference). Why New York and London? Perhaps this clock was marketed to businessmen in these regions or perhaps the majority of business travel at the time consisted of these two destinations.

Using & Setting the Clock: By tapping the “+” and “-” buttons, one can span the globe from Anchorage to Tokyo, displaying each time zone’s local time. Hold the “select” button down to enter set mode; tap the “read/set” button to change the time, day and date. Tapping the “mode” button displays the alarm time. I can then tap the “read/set” button to turn the alarm on or hold the “select” button to set the alarm. Tapping the “mode” and “read/set” buttons simultaneously will change my home time to whatever zone I’m in.

The back of the clock has a stamped “Made in Japan / Fabrique au Japon” and the battery compartment. This clock runs on a CR2016 lithium battery. The accompanying vinyl protective case should insure this gadget will hold up for another 20 years.

Thrift Store Sightings

I was tasked with discarding an old (1999) Zenith CRT television this week. The set worked perfectly but it’s bulky and gets no use today. Our primary TV is a Sony KD-34XBR970. It’s also a CRT but a Hi-Def model, and supposedly the last CRT manufactured by Sony. I love the picture quality on this and have not yet seen an LCD or plasma that can compare to it.

I delivered the TV to the local GoodWill store and they refused to take it. “We’ll only take in TVs that were manufactured after the year 2000.” So, I travelled to another thrift store and, thank goodness, they willingly loaded the Zenith onto an old shopping cart and rolled it into the shop. Hope it finds a home!

Thrift stores are terrific for finding interesting, old electronic stuff and “Value Village” was no exception. I spotted a Sharp GX-CD10 boombox in decent shape and 100% operational. Take a look at the back of the radio–apparently by 1990, Sharp had already moved at least some of their manufacturing out of Japan and into Malaysia.

Up front and behind the main counter is where the store keeps its big-ticket stuff like artwork, jewelry, and apparently antique video game systems like the Sears-branded Intellivision, called the Super Video Arcade. I didn’t know Sears had sold a re-branded Mattel’s Intellivision, I knew they had done the same with the Atari 2600. This particular model looks different than Mattel’s system: note the white and dark brown color combination (as opposed to the gold and brown Intellivison) and the controller placement is different too. Did Sears actually redesign the console? The one I spotted is still in its original box. In 1982, this home game console cost just north of $200. Fifteen or so years ago, we were tripping over Atari 2600s, Odyssey IIs and the like in the general merchandise area of thrift shops, usually priced around five or ten bucks. Times have changed because the Value Village Super Video Arcade is priced at $99.99!

PocketCalculatorShow.com Site Upgrade

A decade has passed since this website began. We think back to early 2002 when we started: many computer users were still using a modem to get onto the Internet, the average mobile phone did little more than make phone calls and most folks were still purchasing music or video on a physical medium. Despite our existence being one based on nostalgia, we feel change is healthy on occasion as long as you have an eye on the past.

The look and feel of the site is fresh, the interface allows for quick, easier updates and better feedback from passers-by but we’ve ensured all of the old content has been kept intact.

Snapshot of the original site:

1977 Casio MQ-1 Horizontal Calculator

Time to share the first mini clock and calculator combo from Casio. An unusual design, the MQ-1 horizontal layout, and yellow-tinted LCD. As you’ll later discover in the ‘Pocket Calculator Museum’, the succeeding models in the MQ line offer more features, but none may be quite as charming as their first. This micro-computer has a hinged cover on the right to expose calculator and setting buttons for the clock, stopwatch and calculator. Remarkable Casio quality in a tiny package could be attained in 1977 for about $50. These have jumped in demand over the last few years: news was uncovered that the MQ-1 was used as a prop for Star Wars character Boba Fett.

1981 Sony KV-4000 Micro Trinitron TV

Thanks again, Tom for another magical gadget. This is the Sony KV-4000, a color tv that sold around 1981 for US$550. Sony’s products are known for incredible performance in a small package and this is no exception. The screen measures 3.7″ diagonally, and the chassis measures 4 3/4″ x 4 3/4″ x 11″! The pedestal also serves as a tuner and could by powered by AC, DC or battery power. Tom stole this on eBay for $60. Of course it wasn’t working, but it took him all of 10 minutes to fix it. Thanks Tom!

Casio Championship Derby 2

We found this gem tucked away in an gift shop on Canal Street in New York City. Casio’s Championship Derby 2 was an exotic horse racing game calculator that unfolds to show its display in the upper panel and game controls and calculator functions in the lower one. Object of the game is simple, simply push the buttons quickly enough to get your horse ahead to win the race. There are obstacles that your horse and jockey must hurdle, and your competition is not all that easy. The sound on this one is quite good, and we love the membrane keys. There’s a little map of the track in the upper right corner indicating where you are in the race. Very sophisticated little calculator game–this is only game with such a design that we’ve ever seen. Have you seen others like the KG-200?

Casio Tic-Tac-Toe Game Calculator

Here’s another unusual game calculator by Casio, the MG-777. We determined that one of the games on this one is tic-tac-toe, but aren’t sure of the other two. In addition to calculator functions and game play, this one offers a clock. This model is reminiscient of Parker Bros’ Merlin, that great LED handheld game from the ’70s.

Casio “Deck Of Cards” Calculator

This SL-831 solar calculator by Casio provided the typical calc functions and some sort of card game, we think. Perhaps it was to be used alongside a deck of cards, we’re not sure. Hit the “card” button, and the display flashes for a couple of seconds, then a number pops up, and a suit displays in the little grid to the right.