Calculator In Memoriam: A Letter to Sharp

Dear Sharp,

Many years ago when I was gearing up for high school (so more years ago than I like to think about), my parents bought me a graphing calculator. Birthday or Christmas, I think. I can’t really remember.

Almost everybody back then had a TI-85, as I recall. A few uber-geeks had an HP-something-or-other — which was confusing as heck to use but did have a nifty infrared emitter that could mimic a remote control (this came in handy for turning on and off TVs in classrooms during class as a prank) — but the masses were TIs and more TIs.

Except me. My parents had looked around the store, sifted through the labels, and bought me a Sharp EL-9300C, which looked basically like this:

Sharp EL-9300 (the 9300C looked the same).

I remain grateful for their choice to this day.

You see, there was something, well, inherently logical about how my calculator functioned. While fellow students would be click-clacking away trying to figure out how they should enter a formula — “Do you hit the parentheses key after the integral key or before it?” — I would be already on the next problem: unlike the silly TI, my Sharp allowed me to type equations onto the screen exactly like they looked in the book. It was, for the time, extraordinary.

Graphing was easier, cleaner, and often more exact. My buttons were more clearly marked. Heck, even getting help was easier since my manual was built into the calculator with a series of on-screen “windows.”

I loved that calculator.

It is for this reason that I write you now in sorrow, for my beloved calculator has at last gone to the embrace of the Great Robotic Arm in the sky. It rests now upon the silicon shores of digital Elysium.

It will be missed. It will be remembered.

So I want to thank you, Sharp. Thanks for making my math classes a little easier. Thanks for making my life’s calculations a little more enjoyable.

Thanks for making the EL-9300C, the best calculator I have ever owned.

Sincerely,
Mike

PS: Looking at your site today I see what appears to be an updated version of my beloved calculator, the EL-9900C. Though nothing could ever replace my trusty old friend, I wouldn’t mind if you sent me one. I think my 9300C would want to see me move on that way.

12 Comments

  1. A touching tribute for a valued, now-lost friend, Mike. Well done.

    Wiping the tears from my eyes now…

  2. We have no idea how or why we did what turned out to be the right thing those many years ago–the calculator must have been on sale at the time.

    On the other hand it is sort of neat to read your appreciative comments and about the sentiments associated with this small part of your childhood/life.

    Dad

  3. I too got this on Christmas ’96! It was a great calculator! I still have it, but haven’t used it for years. Not even sure does it work (no batteries at hand).

  4. I actually have this calculator now! Love it.

  5. I actually just spent 3hrs sweating digging thru tons of junks boxes to find mine, an EL-9300. and guess what… I FOUND IT…! mint condition slide cover and all. I knew wherever it was, the manual was with it. sure enough, I found that too (blue cover w/ wh & blk writing).

    just put batteries in it and it WORKS…!!! even my custom formulas for college chemistry/calculus still appear to be there? LOL iirc i bought this thing from a staples back between 1990-1993? so it’s gotta be 20 years old if not more.

  6. I still use my trusty EL-9300 that I bought in 1993. It works perfectly and is still on its original back-up battery. But not long ago I lost all of my custom programs from back in the day when I accidentally managed to do a full reset.

    I never liked the Texas Instruments units: the buttons were hard to press; I’d outgrown my Casio fg-7000G; and the HP-48 was far too expensive. While we’re on the subject, I use my non-graphic Casio fx-570c almost every day. I’ve had it for 25 years now!

  7. @Norm G. I’m glad I inspired you to dig that calculator out … but how could you have such a beauty in a box in the first place?!? 🙂

  8. @Becky Oh that’s freaky … I’ll have to check, but I swear my non-graphing calculator is that same Casio. You been sneaking into my office?

  9. I to have had this calculator since my school days and I still use it to this day. I also own an hp100 and an hp32 sii and I enjoy using them for doing simple straight forward calculations. But the solver in the 32s can’t come close to how easy it is to use in my trusted sharp. Also, I have programmed a number of conversion formulas into the sharp, which by the way is a piece of cake, and truly sets this calculator apart from all others.

  10. @Norm G.
    Is it possible to have a copy of the manual. lost it while changing house.

    Thks and hope to hear from you soon

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