National Semiconductor Novus 650 Handheld Electronic Calculator

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This handheld electronic calculator has a tan plastic case and fifteen rectangular plastic keys. These include ten digit keys, a clear entry/clear key, and four arithmetic function keys. The + key also serves as an enter key. Behind the keys is an on/off switch. Text next to it reads: Mathbox. Behind this is a six-digit red LED display. A mark near the back of the calculator reads: NOVUS (/) 650. A jack for a power adapter is on the left side.
The back of the calculator has a compartment for a nine volt battery. A sticker on the back gives operating instructions. It reads at the top: NOVUS 650. It reads near the bottom: NOVUS – Consumer Products from (/) National Semiconductor Corporation (/) Made in U.S.A. The sticker also reads: Serial No. (/) 1944214. Text in the plastic below the sticker reads: U532.
The Novus Mathbox 650 is unusual among non-HP calculators in using reverse Polish notation. Prices found range from $15.00 in 1974 down to $4.88 in 1976.
[Advertisement], Chicago Tribune, December 8, 1974, p. E30. Advertises the Mathbox as on sale for $15.00.
[Advertisement], Washington Post , February 16, 1975, p. 18. Sale price for Novus 650 given as $14.88, a $5 savings.
[Advertisement], Washington Post, March 12, 1975, p. A9. Novus 650 advertised on sale for $12.99, with an original price of $19.99.
[Advertisement], Washington Post, April 11, 1975, p. A24. Novus 650 on sale for $10.98.
[Advertisement], Washington Post, February 4, 1976, p. B15. Sale price for Novus 650 $7.99.
[Advertisement], Washington Post, November 2, 1976, p. A15. Sale price for Novus 650 $4.88, regularly $6.99.
Currently not on view
date made
National Semiconductor Corporation
place made
United States
Physical Description
plastic (case; display cover; keys material)
metal (circuitry material)
paper (sticker material)
overall: 7/8 in x 2 1/2 in x 5 in; 2.2225 cm x 6.35 cm x 12.7 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of John B. Priser
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Computers
Handheld Electronic Calculators
Computers & Business Machines
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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