The Curta Demo Collection
(since April 22, 1997)
Last Update: September 09, 2021 -- THE CURTA REFERENCE
The Curta Demo Box Registry
- 942 - The "Rehbein-Blackham" - First Curta Demo - s/n 942
- 8651 - The "Parcel-Blackham Demo kit" owned by Doug Parcel / Tim Blackham (UK) - s/n 8651
- 12951 - The "Moor Demo kit" owned by Richard Moor (USA) - s/n 12951
- 14387 - The "Peter Gray Demo kit" owned by Eric S. - s/n 14387
- 14390 - The "McGuire Demo Kit" (former "The McGuire Curta Demo Kit") - s/n 14390 (more pictures on the excellent Curta.li site)
- 14394 - The "Wolf Demo kit" owned by Larry Wolf - s/n 14394
- The demo kit owned by Larry Wolf's sister - s/n ?????
- 24558 - The "Howard Demo kit" sold by Guy Howard to a private party - s/n 24558
- 24655 - The "Vick-Saville Demo kit" sold by Steve Vick to Greg Saville (USA) - s/n 24655
- 24879 - The "Ron Field Demo Kit" (Toronto, Canada) - s/n 24879
- 26197 - Sold on eBay - Owner unknown - s/n 26197
- 26501 - Unknown - s/n 26501
- 26563 - The "Skuratowicz Demo Kit" (Hickory Hills, Illinois) - s/n 26563
- 26573 - From the auction site "Auction Team Breker" - s/n 26573
- 29208 - The "Nils Bongue Demo Kit" sold to Carl Volkmar - s/n 29208
- 29302 - The "Felipe Navia Demo Kit" - s/n 29302
- 34656 - The "Wasilewski Demo kit" owned by Andrew and Mirja Wasilewski (UK) - s/n 34656
- 35177 - The "English Contina A.G. Vaduz/Liechenstein Curta Demo Kit" (UK) - s/n 35177
- 37262 - The "Miller-Miller Demo kit" owned by Bernhard Miller sold to Christian Miller (Austria) - s/n 37262
- The "German Demo Curta Kit" pictured in the backup magazine article submitted by Skip Godfrey - s/n ?????
- The Briefcase Demos
These are pictures from the first Curta Demo Set. They came from Reinhold Rehbein of Monheim, Germany.
As far as he knows, this is the only demo set of the world. He bought it from an ex-co-worker of CURTA Liechtenstein.
Later demo sets came with a cut model in a green box.
This unit was later sold to Tim Blackham in England. Tim passed away in 2007 and his son sold the set to a collector in the US.
Here are some pictures from the current owner.
8651 - The Parcel-Blackham Curta Demo Kit
From an eBay auction:
This factory designed Curta demonstration kit consists of a see-through, fully operational
Type I calculator with ten sample components and subassemblies. These items reveal many unique
aspects of the extraordinary Curta mechanical calculator. All components are nestled in a
beautiful fabric-lined display case. The latching case is covered in simulated leather with
silver lettering identifying the company that manufactured the Curta, Contina AG, and its
location in the city of Mauren, Liechtenstein. The wording on the case also mentions the
joint international customs arrangement that Liechtenstein has with Switzerland.
An estimated 25 kits of this style were made. The Curta body is serial number 8651, which
indicates it was made in late 1949 or early 1950. No kits of this style having a lower
serial number have been identified. Several easily discernible features are indicative
of its early date of manufacture: the Curta body has a low profile dome crank with an
off-center retention screw on the knob, the baseplate screws are blackened brass, and
the clearing lever is attached with a screw and nut (rather than a rivet). The outside
of the 24 cm x 20 cm x 7 cm (9.5" x 7.9" x 2.75") display case is dark green, not the
light green color used in later years.
All the original components of the demonstration kit are present, including the removable
gears on the sample transmission shafts. The upper carriage subassembly includes all
seventeen indexing balls, a spider spring, and a main bearing sleeve...items which were
not supplied in later kits. Within the knob of each setting shaft sample there still
resides a spring and indexing ball. The two central shaft samples do not have a hole
for a step drum taper pin, authenticating the originality of the components.
The Curta body is in excellent, as if new, condition. This is remarkable considering it
is 53 years old and had been handled by many people during demonstrations. All hardware
components are extremely clean, with minimal tarnish on the brass and aluminum. There
is no visible corrosion on the "ten-carry block" retention screws (which often betray
improper storage conditions by exhibiting fungus-like corrosion). And there is no
accumulated dirt within the knurled finger and hand grips, or within the etched digits
There are no worn or bent items. The central shaft within the Curta body is straight and
true. The clearing lever is flat and level, it pivots without rubbing the clearing plate,
and it properly engages/disengages from the locking pin. The fine gear teeth in the "zero
positioning/anti-reversing disc" are all present and in flawless condition. Everything is
properly lubricated and in perfect working order. The entire mechanism operates as smoothly
as it did when it was manufactured over 50 years ago.
Doug Parcel inherited this from his dad.
12951 - The Moor Curta Demo Kit
From Terry McGuire:"
I have a Curta Type I Demo kit (No. 14390) similar to the one shown at the top of your page.
It is in the green case with "CONTINA MAUREN/Liechtenstein (Zollunion Schweiz) on the cover.
It has hardly ever been used, and it appears to be in mint condition (although I am not expert in making that judgment).
My father was a surveyor in California, and he had it from the 1960s or maybe earlier.
(more pictures on the excellent Curta.li site)
from Larry Wolf:
My father was the distributor for Curta in the USA from 1959 to the closing of the factory.
My sister and I both have one of the demo boxes, I guess there were two for the USA.
I am enclosing a picture of mine and will later send you hers. I have also included a picture of one of the
brochures he used to advertise the Curta since I did not see one on the website.
from Guy Howard:
I am an old Typewriter repairman. I worked for a time in a Typewriter shop in Kansas City that had at some time sold (or attempted)
Curta's. The Demo was in a Junk Parts area or the shop & I found it. The owner said we (the repair men) could have it. We fought
over it but the supervisor wound up with it. A year later (after the bankruptcy of the store) I called the guy that had the Curta
and traded him a Victor 10 key adding machine for it.
I thought the Curta was really cool. Obviously well made and for all I knew I had the only one on the planet. I liked it. It sat
on the closet shelf in my house for a little over 30 years. I took it down once in awhile and showed it to a visiting friend. I
always intended to get it to a museum some day but never got around to it. I always thought that it was something that all people
should have an opportunity to appreciate. (I am not noble but that is what I wanted)
Recently while looking for an antique typewriter on the net I ran across a Curta and for the first time learned the story. I was
impressed and also satisfied that all the information was for all time available to the public.
Now it is time for my machine to move from my closet shelf to someplace where it will be loved and appreciated. I don't want to
give it away and I don't want to rob anyone. This Curta Demo is in excellent condition, very rare and very collectible.
(FYI...Top of box said "MAUREN/Liechtenstein")
24655 - The Vick-Saville Curta Demo Kit
This kit belonged to Steve Vick's Father.
His dad worked for the A. Lietz Co. for about 30 years. During that period,
they were headquartered in San Francisco and Oakland, and engaged in the
manufacturing of surveying equipment, and the importation of drafting
equipment. Curta was one of the lines they sold. His father told him
the Curta was extremely popular with the surveyors and engineers he
called on, and he sold hundreds of them.
24879 - Ron Field Demo Kit" (Toronto, Canada)
From Ron's Daughter:
Dad has heard of Vic Knight who worked at London Office Machines. Dad worked there until 1954 (two years before Vic Knight).
He worked on the Curta that Hilary's team brought back!!! He says he remembers how corroded it was. Vic mentions the letter I noticed. The owner of London Office Machines was Colonel Hopkins.
Dad got a job in Canada to work for Sweda. He repaired Curta at London Office Machines until he got this job offer. He was supposed to go to Lichtenstein for Curta training but went to Canada instead.
While in Canada he repaired Curta part time for Andrew (Andy Morrison). When Mr. Morrison passed away he gave Dad the demo and all the Curta parts which Jack came to purchase off Dad.
Dad also mentions that in London they repaired a number of Curtas for a lens grinding company - he thinks Bausch and Lomb. All the Curtas from there were always full of dust he says.
The other name he mentioned was Asmiths Calculating Business (not sure of spelling) but I can't read my notes so I'll have to check with Dad.
I will verify all the dates and names, but I just wanted to tell you what I just found out. I think it is amazing what you are doing and the site has grown so much over the years.
I will be in touch and I do apologise for overreacting...that demo means so much to me. I know it is valuable, but when I was little I would help my Dad with the repair of the Curta.
He would have all the parts laid out, some I couldn't see! It was so incredible to me how he put it together. My job was to clean the canisters I might add!
I have such amazing memories of the Curta and Dad and they are all kept in that little green box. If you would like to talk to my Dad let me know.
I'll try and get more dates and information and document it properly.
26501 - Unknown
26563 - Skuratowicz Curta Demo Kit (Hickory Hills, Illinois)
From Arthur Skuratowicz:
I found this Curta while cleaning out boxes and tools that my Father (Peter Skuratowicz) and Grandfather (Antoni Skuratowicz) left to me from our family
jewelry store. Both of them have passed away but all three of us are jewelers. They were watchmakers as well. The also sold cameras in their first store,
Jay Pee Jewelers in Argo, Illinois. (Sold 5/28/2015)
26573 - Auction
Curta Type I Demonstration Kit, 1954 No. 26573, "Contina A.G., Mauren/Liechtenstein, (Zollunion Schweiz)".
11-part cutaway model (complete), fully functional, in fabric-lined simulated leather covered case, with all original components
and in fine original condition. Only approx. 25 kits were made.
29208 - The Nils Bongue-Volkmar Curta Demo Kit
Here's an amazing find... A Demonstration Model Curta!!! (click on the picture)
It was originally owned by Nils Bongue from Colombia, South America. Here's his story:
Back in 1955 I was working with a major stationary and office supplies
company in Colombia, South America.
Among the items we sold were the FACIT and CURTA calculators. Due to ever
increasing import restrictions, aimed at building up local industry, we were
authorized by the FACIT people to set up the first assembly plant out of
Sweden, which I run until 1963. A similar project for the CURTAS was not
viable, so the distributorship was dropped and the company having no further
use for it, let me keep the demonstration unit.
29208 - The Nils Bongue-Volkmar Curta Demo Kit - Close Up
The Bongue Curta Demo S/N# 29208
The new owner of the Nils Bongue Demo Unit generously allowed me to have the unit for almost three
weeks! He wanted everybody who ordinarily would not have the opportunity to understand
the Curta to benefit from the pictures on my Web site.
It was an amazing experience and during this time I took nearly 100 film and digital
pictures of the unit. I also experimented with digital video but that needs a little
more work before I put it on the Web. I learned 95% of how the entire unit
worked and made a CAD drawing of the mechanical "logic" of the unit. The Demo unit
revealed enough of the upper mechanism so that I could finally see how the carry
and carry clearing mechanisms (for both the result and turns counter) worked.
Some day I hope to find a unit in poor condition that I can fully disassemble and
document all of the pieces and their interactions.
Ideally I'd like to make a poster
of the exploded view of this amazing device for all to enjoy.
Thanks to the inspiration of
this unit and with Carl Volkmar's encouragement I did create the Curta poster in 2003.
Click on any of the thumbnail pictures below to see a large version...
Update: Sadly Carl Volkmar passed away on September 18, 2003. His son-inlaw contacted me with the news and said he was going to send
Carl's demo unit to me as soon as he had time. Unfortunately this never happened and the Demo unit might be lost or destroyed. I'm
glad I was able to capture lots of pictures of it when it was in my posession. enjoy the pictures... -Rick-
Here are some digitized photos I took of 29208 back in 2001.
Andrew and Mirja Wasilewski. Andrew worked as a Curta repairman for the London based Automatic Business Machines.
from Mirja Wasilewski:
"Regarding your general question about Curta Demos: Andrew said that the Curta Demos were not presented to the service engineers,
but usually for the management or sales reps. for demonstration purposes. At least that how it was in the company Automatic
Business Machines, where he worked. Andrew can't recall if they had more than one Demo Curta. Anyway this one was passed to Andrew
when he took over the servicing of Curtas, when the Company decided to market electronic calculators. They had the biggest service
department in Europe and serviced Curtas from all the British Colonies."
The condition of the items inside is mint. To my pleasant surprise there was also a tens bell slid into the upper aluminum casting.
The box has a few minor defects, and one disappointing one...there is a deep dimple on the "leather" above the word CONTINA.
I appears something about the diameter of a ball point pen plunger was placed on the top and pressed down hard.
This is not a serious defect, but it is noticeable. Everything else is great.
This Demo surfaced on September 22, 2011 in Banbury, Oxfordshire, England and was sold to an unknown buyer on October 01, 2011.
German Curta Demo Kit
Here are two Demo Kits with unknown serial numbers. The left Demo unit that was sold in an auction in Germany. Thanks to Skip Godfrey.
The right picture was in the German Backup magazine article by P. Kradolfer.
Blue Briefcase Demo
An interesting item from Auction Team Breker:
Curta Demonstration Model, c. 1994
Curta type 1, no. 2418, Curt Herzstark, Liechtenstein, with 33 original Curta parts on blue velvet,
including 7 manuals (in English, French, Spanish and Italian) and 1 flyer, everything in excellent condition.
Green Briefcase Sample Kit
Another interesting item from Auction Team Breker:
Curta Demonstration Model Set, 1994
Salesman's travelling case containing individual components and four brochures in French and English.
A rare exhibition and/or sales model in excellent condition.
The Calculator Reference by Rick Furr (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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