For as long as I can remember, I have had a fascination with electronic calculators. Those with LED displays have always captured my attention to the greatest extent. This page lists the more interesting calculators which I have accumulated over the years.
The light-emitting diode represents the single most rugged and reliable electronic display technology ever devised (not to mention, LEDs just look cool!). Every competing technology (including liquid crystal, vacuum fluorescent, plasma, cathode ray tube, Nixie tube, and incandescent) shares the severe disadvantage of being constructed of extremely fragile glass. Liquid crystal displays have the added disadvantage of extreme temperature sensitivity. Vacuum fluorescent, incandescent, and CRT displays suffer from dependence upon a heater or filament which, just like a common light bulb, can eventually burn out. Many of the technologies suffer from slow response time, shock and vibration sensitivity, and/or the need for a high-voltage power supply. Only LCDs have any significant advantages over LEDs (low power requirement and visibility under bright light).
As is the case with my Computer Museum, these calculators all exist physically and are being maintained by myself. The vast majority of them are functional, though many exhibit signs of age and use (erratic keyboards, corroded battery terminals, etc.).
Hewlett-Packard and Texas Instruments LED calculators were both quite popular. Overall, the TI units were priced more affordably than those from HP, but were constructed in a cheaper manner. While a typical TI calculator of the era consists primarily of thin plastic and air, a comparable HP unit weighs considerably more and feels much more balanced and refined. I have a particular fondness for Hewlett-Packard LED calculators.
Hewlett-Packard HP-33C - 10 digits, programmable scientific with constant memory
Hewlett-Packard HP-33E (2) - 10 digits, programmable scientific
Hewlett-Packard HP-34C - 10 digits, programmable scientific with constant memory
Hewlett-Packard HP-38C - 10 digits, programmable financial with constant memory
National Semiconductor 600 - 6 digits, 4-function
National Semiconductor 850A - 8 digits, 4-function
Novus (National Semiconductor) 650 'Mathbox' - 6 digits, 4-function
Rapid Data Rapidman 800 - 8 digits, 4-function
Rockwell 8R - 8 digits, 4-function
Texas Instruments Business Analyst - 8 digits, financial
Texas Instruments SR-10 - 8+2 digits, scientific
Texas Instruments SR-50A - 10+2 digits, scientific
Texas Instruments TI Programmable 59 - 8+2 digits(?), scientific
Texas Instruments TI-1000 - 8 digits, 4-function
Texas Instruments TI-1200 (2) - 8 digits, 4-function
Texas Instruments TI-1500 - 8 digits, 4-function
Texas Instruments TI-30 (2) - 8 digits, scientific
Texas Instruments TI-55 (2) - 8+2 digits, scientific
APF Mark VI - 8 digits, 4-function
Casio Personal-Mini - 6 digits, 4-function
Radio Shack EC-2001 - 10 digits, 4-function
Sperry-Remington SSR-8 - 8 digits, scientific
Texas Instruments TI-1025 - 8 digits, 4-function
Unisonic 888 Slide Rulette (2) - 8 digits, 4-function
Royal Digital VIII-K - 8 digits, 4-function
Unisonic 767 - 12 digits(!), 4-function
The Computer History Association of California has the largest collection of links to other calculator (as well as computer) collections I have ever seen!
Watch this space for more info, pics, etc. :)
Last updated: 8 August 1998
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