Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Men Need Not Apply (Takes Too Long to Train ‘Em)

Men Need Not Apply (Takes Too Long to Train ‘Em)

By: Ardis E. Parshall - February 26, 2009

From the Juvenile Instructor, 1920:



  1. I’ve heard that training on the Burroughs calculator can be cut to 30-45 days if you cross your arms and then cross your eyes before starting to type.

    Comment by Justin — February 26, 2009 @ 9:26 am

  2. I had no idea LDS Business College ran all the year. I thought years were a natural part of the Earth’s rotation around the sun. The things I learn from your blog, Ardis!

    Comment by iguacufalls — February 26, 2009 @ 9:28 am

  3. Clown 1 and Clown 2! Welcome to my circus.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 26, 2009 @ 9:44 am

  4. Oh good, I’ve been looking for a remunerative occupation!

    Comment by esodhiambo — February 26, 2009 @ 11:21 am

  5. Why learn to use a complicated calculator? Blog!

    (Sorry, Ardis, couldn’t resist leaving that comment here, given your comments on the burning thread in “the real ‘Nacle”.)

    Comment by Ray — February 26, 2009 @ 11:27 am

  6. Oh, you could resist, but you chose not to, Ray. Let’s be candid!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 26, 2009 @ 11:51 am

  7. :) Yes, Auntie Ardis, you are correct.

    Comment by Ray — February 26, 2009 @ 11:55 am

  8. I’m cute, too, evidently. And I can use a calculator.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 26, 2009 @ 12:02 pm

  9. Ardis-

    Only 60 to 90 days for an “ambitious girl.” How long would it take for someone with absolutely no ambition? Maybe the college should have run a second ad answering that question for all the slackers.

    Comment by Brandon — February 26, 2009 @ 12:57 pm

  10. Ha!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 26, 2009 @ 1:55 pm

  11. This looks like it will help to reduce global warming, as the calculator utilizes a hand crank.

    BTW, I invented the Bloggernacle. Tipper invented the Mommy Blog.

    Comment by Al Gore — February 26, 2009 @ 2:30 pm

  12. Sorry, Ardis, they closed comments over at BCC. However, what’s up with the two forked finger input technique shown here? No wonder it takes 60 to 90 days for the ambitious.

    I actually played with an old hand crank calculator at the DI some years back, and it seemed to work like the normal kind, pushing one number at a time then turning the crank.

    Maybe ambitious = cranky?

    Comment by kevinf — February 26, 2009 @ 2:33 pm

  13. One of the best lines of the day, Al; thanks for taking time out from your movie career to stop by.

    I took a summer class at high school (considerably post-1920, before anybody asks) learning to use office machinery. One of the joys of my rather tame life was setting up the largest adding machine to divide 999999999 by 2, pulling a crank very like the one on Miss Cross-Fingers’ machine, and then seeing whether I could run so far down the hallway that I couldn’t hear the gears clanging and chunking before the difficulty of that terribly complex problem was solved by the state-of-the-art calculator. Yeah, I know.

    Anyway, learning to use those dinosaurs involved hitting multiple keys at the same time — you didn’t just hit 3,857 by keying 3 then 8 then 5 then 7; you had to press 3000 while you were simultaneously pressing 800 while at the same time punching 50 and also 7.

    I think Miss Cross-Fingers is up to 3- or 4-digit calculations. This must be around Day 41 of her course.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 26, 2009 @ 2:57 pm

  14. Gee whiz! We boys in physics class just used a slide rule. We weren’t ambitious enough to fiddle with quadruple-punch (or jogging down the hallway and back . . .)

    Comment by Rick Grunder — February 26, 2009 @ 9:49 pm

  15. Well, Apollo 11 went to the moon with a sliderule and no computer, so you physics boys were doing something right.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 26, 2009 @ 9:58 pm

  16. Apollo 11 did have a state-of-the-art onboard guidance computer. I don’t imagine NASA would have thought they could pull off a lunar mission without one. Google “Apollo Guidance Computer“.

    Comment by Mark D. — February 27, 2009 @ 1:22 am

  17. Good thing Apollo 11 had the onboard guidance computer instead of one of those Burroughs calculators! They’d still be on the moon if they did.

    Comment by Steve C. — February 27, 2009 @ 7:12 am

  18. Knowing what I know now about computers, the Apollo Guidance Computer that Mark D references is a pretty scary proposition. It’s a wonder that we got to the moon at all, let alone get back. Seriously, you have more computing power and memory in your kid’s TI-83 calculator that they use in junior high algebra. The major advantage over the calculator shown in the ad is that you could operate it with one finger (gloved, at that), and it was somewhat faster.

    And Ardis, slide rules were used to build most everything else relating to the Apollo program, so you weren’t really that far off track.

    Comment by kevinf — February 27, 2009 @ 12:00 pm

  19. calculators and slide rules were just fine for getting the right answer. For most tasks the level of precision available was fine. What required a computer on the Apollo mission was the speed at which the answers were required.

    Comment by Eric Boysen — February 27, 2009 @ 9:21 pm

  20. My mother tells of the first class she had to purchase a calcultor. She was at the Univ of Tenn in the early 70s and had to buy a $400 calculator. It could add, subtract, multiply, divide, and find a square roots. Now they give those away in cereal boxes.

    Comment by BruceCrow — March 1, 2009 @ 1:31 am

  21. Wow. What does that calculator thing even do?

    Comment by Michelle Glauser — March 1, 2009 @ 12:54 pm

  22. Michelle, it did addition and multiplication; I’m not certain it even did subtraction and division, although it might have. It certainly did nothing else — no percentages, no square roots, no algebraic functions, just basic arithmetic. Primitive, huh? But nice that it was training open to women, and not just to men.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — March 1, 2009 @ 2:31 pm

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