The Catacombs The Continuity Guide
Moonbase Guide
Furnishings
by Martin Willey

Olivetti Divisumma 18

The Testament Of Arkadia

The Divisumma 18 is a portable electronic calculator first introduced in 1972 by Olivetti in Italy. It was designed by Olivetti's chief designer, Mario Bellini (born 1935). The calculator has an ABS plastic base covered in a yellow rubber skin; it is soft and rounded to the touch. The calculator prints onto 12-character width thermal paper (on the left). Optionally a charging unit can be clipped onto the left side. Without the charging unit, it is 24.7cm long, 12cm wide and 5cm tall. An example is in the New York Museum of Modern Art permanent collection. There is an On/Off switch under the printer window with a red error light. When the machine starts, the red light is lit to warn the user to press the "T" (Total) button to clear the register. The keyboard keys are "T" (total), "S" (subtotal), "C" (correct/clear), "+" (the largest key), "-", "=", and a single rocker-key for division and multiply (alongside is a non-raised button "Enter", for reverse Polish calculations).

The Testament Of Arkadia

Anna Davies uses the Divisumma in The Testament of Arkadia to somehow translate ancient Sanskrit to English. Google's language translation uses mathematical models, so using a calculator while translating isn't completely impossible, just wildly implausible. The numbers and letters on the keys have been worn (or scratched) away. A piece of red embossing tape with random letters and numbers is placed across the top.


Copyright Martin Willey