06 October 2019

Calculatober Day 6: Litton Monroe 2805 - "The Beast"

That's right, I've given today's calculator a nickname. Only one other calculator has received this honor, and that was my Aurora DC-10, which I dubbed "The Duke."
Litton Monroe 2805, dubbed "The Beast."

The Litton Monroe 2805 is needlessly massive. Internally, it's a lot of empty space, and externally, there isn't a whole lot going on. This calculator doesn't even have a display. It only has basic functions that can be found on just about any other device.

But it's so cool! Its keys are computer keyboard quality and have a great mechanical feel, and the whole thing is built like a tank. This calculator might have been designed to survive long after World War III.
I figured without a display, this was an entirely mechanical device from the 1960s or earlier. But inside I found a sticker with the build date: October 1980. And it's not mechanical. It has a processing board. Monroe also made several calculators prior to this one that had displays. And it's not like there wasn't room for a display. In fact, it looks like the display was left off intentionally, yet the chassis was designed with one in mind. I have no idea why this is.
It even looks like the board is equipped to handle a display.
The Beast is one of the strangest devices in my collection, and I have a lot of questions. Sadly, there's not a whole lot of information about it online. The company that built it is still in business, but the calculators they currently sell are pretty normal.
Amazingly, I found this calculator at Goodwill for $5 in full working condition. It does need a new printer ribbon, but that's the only issue it has. The sheer size of it makes it annoying to collect because I have no idea where to put this thing.


  1. Once upon a time, I worked for a local branch office of the Monroe calculator company as a technician. I remember the 28xx series of calculators were a new product in about 1979/1980, and replaced the 14xx series. The 2805 was the cheapie entry in the line. There were other (more expensive) models that did have digital displays. The 2880 was the Mac-Daddy of the line.

    1. Thank you for the response! It's really cool to hear from someone who was once involved with these.