Bowmar MX55 Handheld Electronic Calculator

The handheld calculator has a black plastic case with ten digit keys, a decimal point key, keys for the four arithmetic functions, a total key, a percentage key, and a clear/clear entry key. The on-off switch is on the keyboard, the eight-digit display behind this. The plug for the power supply is on the right side. A mark at the top reads: Bowmar. It uses the Bowmar trademark registered in 1974.
A sticker on the back of the calculator reads in part: Bowmar MX55 PERSONAL CALCULATOR (/) WITH OMNI-CONSTANT® REGISTER. It also reads in part: BOWMAR MODEL MX55 SERIAL NO. 91220(/) BOWMAR/ALI, 531 MAIN ST., ACTON, MA. Pat. Pend. (/) ASSEMBLED IN MEXICO.
This example has no power supply, box, or instructions.
This is one of a series devices introduced by Bowmar in the early 1970s. A LED (light emitting diode) display manufacturer and defense contractor, Bowmar/Ali, Inc. (USA), found they could not sell their displays to Japanese electronic calculator makers. In 1970–71, Bowmar decided to design and manufacture portable calculators. Some were marketed by other companies, other, like this one, by Bowmar/Ali. The MX55 sold in 1974 at a list price of $69.
Compare 1986.0988.058 and 1986.0988.059.
Guy Ball and Bruce Flamm, The Complete Collector's Guide to Pocket Calculators, Tustin, CA: Wilson/Barnett, 1997, pp. 35–37.
Currently not on view
Object Name
electronic calculator
date made
ca 1974
Physical Description
plastic (case; keys; display window material)
metal (circuitry material)
paper (sticker material)
overall: 1 1/2 in x 3 in x 5 3/4 in; 3.81 cm x 7.62 cm x 14.605 cm
place made
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Handheld Electronic Calculators
Computers & Business Machines
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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