Take a look at this beautiful collection of images of old mechanical calculators. The first half or so is all about the wonderful Curta, which we’ve talked about here before. The post goes on to feature clunking Soviet arithmometers, which look sort of like a cross between a typewriter and a sewing machine. They are winsome and fascinating, although they were used for evil.
You can see more of the arithmometers here.
I wish we still used machines like these, for more or less the same reasons I’m put off by digital photography: we have succeeded in our ruthless quest to make everything constantly faster and cheaper, but along the way we’ve lost a lot elegance, thoughtfulness, tangibility.