In search of a math toy(?) from the 80s
June 6, 2018 12:09 PM   Subscribe

I once had a blue(?) math device, but I have no idea what it was or what exactly it did. See my description and let me know if you know what this thing was.

My google searches have turned up nothing on this, help me out!

When I was 10 or so, around 1987-1990, someone gave me a birthday gift of what I remember as some sort of math machine. I don't think I was too interested at the time but recently it popped up in my brain and I am curious about this thing that I must have sold at a garage sale shortly after.

I'm not even sure if it was specifically for kids. Here is my description/memory/vision of it, do you know what this is?

- It was a unit that sat on a tabletop, there may have been legs to prop it up at an angle.
- I think it was blue.
- It may have mechanically figured out multiplication problems, or maybe I just thought it did!
- It was not electric or electronic as far as I remember.
- It may have looked sort of like a pinball machine or pachinko machine.
- There may have been little levers to input numbers.
- The top may have been rounded.

Now that I am thinking about it I am very curious to see this thing again! Ring any bells?

Thank you!
posted by bobbyno to Education (14 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
This does not precisely match your prescription, for one thing it was just counting not math, but it is what immediately came into my mind: Numbers Up
posted by solotoro at 12:29 PM on June 6, 2018

Here's a thing.

✓ Tabletop
✓ Blue
☐ Doesn't do math, it's a game
✓ Not electric
✓ looks sort of like a pinball machine
✓ has little levers and things
☐ Don't know about rounded top
posted by paper chromatographologist at 12:29 PM on June 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

solotoro and paper chromatographologist not it but both look fun! :)
posted by bobbyno at 12:34 PM on June 6, 2018

Quarcetti Pallino marble game?
posted by mai at 12:41 PM on June 6, 2018 [4 favorites]

What country did you grow up in? That might help.
posted by Calzephyr at 12:43 PM on June 6, 2018

Oh snap mai, we got it! It was not the marble machine, is was another thing they made, I spotted it among the pictures of the marble mosaic game. It was the Rami Binary teacher:

Thank you very much~!
posted by bobbyno at 12:53 PM on June 6, 2018 [4 favorites]

I believe I had something similar. This would have been in Canada in the late 80s or early 90s. It was a little like a pachinko machine, with lots of little colored balls. The balls would fall through a set of plastic gates where you could select one of two positions with a lever. It may have had something educational to do with binary. Overall I remember it as half-moon shaped, and it had fold-out legs to prop it up.

Unfortunately, I can't be more helpful then that.
posted by figurant at 12:53 PM on June 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

Dr. NIM?
posted by Wild_Eep at 12:54 PM on June 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

On non-preview, that's exactly what I was thinking of. I'd forgotten about the wind-up timer thing.
posted by figurant at 12:54 PM on June 6, 2018

It's not blue, but the Digi-Comp II was like this.
posted by jackbishop at 1:13 PM on June 6, 2018

And you can still buy the modern equivalent.
posted by zamboni at 1:17 PM on June 6, 2018 [3 favorites]

That thing looks cool. Maybe I’ll get one for the class.
posted by mai at 4:36 PM on June 6, 2018

Not strictly an answer, but since the answer has been found, hopefully it's not a problem for me to say:

Holy crap, I had both of those Quercetti games as a kid, and had forgotten all about them. They were probably two of my favorite toys... which in retrospect maybe explains a lot. Thanks both of you for the little trip down memory lane!
posted by biogeo at 7:08 PM on June 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

There's also a modern implementation of the Digi-Comp II.
posted by Stoneshop at 2:13 AM on June 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

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