Mystery Device: Telxon 718?
April 5, 2008 3:42 PM   Subscribe

What exactly does a Telxon 718 do? It looks like a way-back calculator but only has plus, minus, and a few weird, presumably abbreviated, button markings. Any guesses as to what it does? Video within.

Mystery Device - Telxon 718. I picked it up at a rummage sale for a dollar, and the owner had no earthly idea where it came from or what it was for, but offered a few guesses. What do you think?
posted by vanoakenfold to Technology (13 answers total)
I'm pretty sure it's a barcode scanner, although I don't quite get what that strange thing that looks almost like an earpiece is.

Check this out for an example. (It's not a 718, but it's similar.) As indicated here, it looks like Telxon was bought out by Symbol.
posted by fogster at 3:47 PM on April 5, 2008

Did you google the patent numbers?
posted by Mitheral at 3:48 PM on April 5, 2008

On your blog, you said you have guesses for the device and the ear piece thing based on the patent numbers. Care to share those?
posted by ALongDecember at 3:53 PM on April 5, 2008

It's a bar-code scanner, probably used for inventory purposes, perhaps minus the actual scanning wand? The "earpiece" thing is an acoustic coupler that lets one transmit data from the unit over the phone, modem-style (remember those?).
posted by greatgefilte at 3:59 PM on April 5, 2008

The bulb device looks like an acoustic coupling, like on old portable modems.

The number input and the +/- keys indicate that It was probably used for taking inventory; As fogster's link indicates.

I'd guess that you count all the inventory and then the coupling would let you transmit that data back to corporate headquarters?
posted by kzin602 at 4:04 PM on April 5, 2008

It's a barcode scanner/inventory management device. More updated models run Windows CE and integrate into larger inventory database systems in retail and warehouse applications. They're now owned and operated under the Symbol brand, a subsidiary of Motorola.
posted by cgomez at 4:13 PM on April 5, 2008

Video PROTIP: Use lights when filming things that need to be indentified.
posted by rhizome at 4:52 PM on April 5, 2008

Use photos!
posted by mendel at 4:59 PM on April 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

It's a handheld inventory counter. I didn't see any barcode scanning capabilities on there.
posted by gjc at 6:14 PM on April 5, 2008

As far as I can tell by this (the first patent number listed) it does appear to be an inventory-taking device but uses a focused electromagnetic field of some kind to measure flux variations that a certain coded/magentizable surface creates. Sounded to me like it was about to tell me to use an inverse tachyon pulse =P
posted by vanoakenfold at 8:22 PM on April 5, 2008

I used a Telxon for daily and monthly inventories in a record shop in 1986-1988. Laser bar code reading pen and acoustic phone coupler for sending sales reports. Just like greatgefilte said.

It did nothing with magnets as far as I knew.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 8:56 PM on April 5, 2008

So perhaps it is simply missing the input device then. The bell-shaped piece does appear to be an acoustic phone coupler, which from your descriptions combined with those I hunted up, was a device that could be held onto a traditional telephone mic to communicate inventory data to a headquarters computer by data converted into audio.
posted by vanoakenfold at 1:41 PM on April 6, 2008

I used one of these for inventory ordering, it had no extra input device.
The screen simply cycled through each item code, and you entered the number. It then synced up with the central PC via a data call.
It was used in a retail store where there was no PC. It replaced a paper order form that used to list all stock items with a box next to each to allow entering the quantity. That was then faxed to HQ.
posted by bystander at 10:04 PM on April 6, 2008

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