Water Pik Countdown Handheld Electronic Calculator

This battery-operated special purpose handheld electronic calculator is designed to help in weight loss. It has an on/off switch on the front left, a button on the front right, and a blinking light between them. A chart above the display gives space for listing “daily bite limits” for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Further spaces give room for checking off the meals in a week.
According to operating instructions on a sticker on the back, a diner was to turn on the device, place it near the dinner plate, and take a bite of food. He or she then pressed the black button and began chewing at the same rate as the blinking light (twenty-four blinks in twenty-two seconds). If the user was still chewing then the light stopped blinking, the next bite was to be smaller. The display recorded the number of bites taken. When it stopped blinking, the diner took another bite, repeating the process until he or she had reached the “bite limit” for the meal. Then the device was turned off and the fact that the meal had been eaten was checked.
Text at the bottom of the sticker on the back reads in part: 1977 Teledyne Water Pik, Fort Collins, CO (/) 80521 (/) Patent Pending.
“Water Pik sets Countdown for Dieters,” Chicago Tribune, July 8, 1977, section 4, p. 11. Countdown product to launch the next week and sell for $20 to $30.
Marion Burros, “Push-Button Dieting,” Washington Post, November 3, 1977, p. E16, E17. Countdown system to sell for $24.95.
“Countdown – Teledyne Water Pik,” Mother Jones Magazine, vol. 3 #7, August 1978, p. 51. Notes product available.
George Lazarus, “Countdown ‘to bite off’ that fat,” Chicago Tribune, November 1, 1977, p. C13.
[Advertisement], Los Angeles Times, June 15, 1978, p. SF11. Countdown system selling for $14.99.
[Advertisement], Chicago Tribune, June 7, 1978, p. G7. Countdown system regularly $19.99, on sale for $16.88.
Currently not on view
Object Name
electronic calculator
date made
ca 1977
Teledyne Water Pik, Inc.
Physical Description
plastic (case; button; switch material)
metal (circuitry material)
paper (sticker material)
overall: 1 1/8 in x 2 5/8 in x 3 3/8 in; 2.8575 cm x 6.6675 cm x 8.5725 cm
place made
United States: Colorado, Fort Collins
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Computers & Business Machines
Handheld Electronic Calculators
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Computers
Handheld Electronic Calculators
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of John B. Priser
Additional Media

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