Texas Instruments Programmable 59 Handheld Electronic Calculator

This programmable scientific calculator, introduced in 1977, is more powerful than the TI 57 and TI 58, which were introduced at the same time. It has a black plastic case and an array of forty-five rectangular plastic keys, most of which can assume a dual function. The calculator could be operated manually by pressing keys. It could run a variety of preprogrammed routines from a module inserted in a compartment in the back of the case. Programs could also be entered using a set of keys and stored in one of ten locations (denoted by the letters A through E and A’ through E’). Finally, programs could be entered on magnetic cards inserted into a slot in the right side of the calculator. Fuller instructions for programming are given in a detailed manual that accompanied the calculator (see 1990.3166.01).
A mark below the keyboard reads: TI Programmable 59 (/) Solid State Software. Behind the keyboard is a space that would hold a label for a program from a program module. Behind this is a ten-digit display (it may also show eight digits and a two-digit positive or negative exponent). An on/off key is at the back and a jack for a power supply is on the right side.
A mark on the back of the calculator reads: TEXAS INSTRUMENTS (/) electronic calculator (/) SERIAL NO. (/) 05404761 LTA3577 (/) ASSEMBLED IN USA. Below this is a compartment for a battery pack. A sticker inside it is labeled: TEXAS INSTRUMENTS (/) BATTERY PACK BP-1A. Below this is a compartment for a program module, with no module.
The calculator has a black zippered case with a belt loop. This case has number 1990.0609.01.1. Also included is a black Texas Instruments power adapter (a model AC 9131) with a date stamp of 7709 and number 1990.0609.01.2. A plastic wallet holds the Master Library module, a set of labels for use when using programs on that module, and a pamphlet entitled Programmable TI58/59 Master Library Quick Reference Guide (1990.0609.01.3). A second plastic wallet hold the Leisure Library module, a set of labels for use when using programs on that module, and a pamphlet entitled Programmable TI58/59 Leisure Library Quick Reference Guide (1990.0609.01.4).
For the printer for the calculator, see 1990.0609.02. For related documentation, see 1990.3166.
Compare 2007.0179.02 (another TI 59 with printer).
“Power of Its Pocket Calculators Increased by Texas Instruments,” New York Times, May 25, 1977, p. 89. Suggested list price of new Programmable 59 to be $299.95.
[Advertisement], Los Angeles Times, December 10, 1977, p. E3. Programmable 59 in stock, holiday sale price $219.95.
[Advertisement], Los Angeles Times, September 27, 1980, p. OC_C14. TI Programmable 58C on sale for $112.95.
[Advertisement], Los Angeles Times, September 27, 1980, p. OC_C14. TI Programmable 59 on sale for $219.95.
[Advertisement], New York Times, November 7, 1982 p. 64. TI Programmable 59 selling for $169.95.Rebate of $20 from manufacturer brings price down to $149.95. PC100C printer also $149.95.
Currently not on view
Object Name
electronic calculator
date made
Texas Instruments
Physical Description
plastic (case; carrying case; wallets; labels material)
metal (circuitry material)
paper (manuals material)
average spatial: 1 1/2 in x 3 in x 6 1/4 in; 3.81 cm x 7.62 cm x 15.875 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Computers
Handheld Electronic Calculators
Computers & Business Machines
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Doug Girling
Additional Media

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