Ooops, I was supposed to leave an idea how this has evolved in our current day. So, even though y'all already guessed it, my old tech was replaced by a small 'thumb-sized' device or device that can do what it would take 1,374,389,534.72 of these items to do.
I actually went back home, small town USA, last Fall and went into a store that still has a box of these on the shelf for sale. The clerk just shook her head, as if realizing what I was thinking about the state of technology still around some parts of that town. ha!