Friden Model 130 Desktop Electronic Calculator

This is one of the first fully transistorized electronic calculators. The hefty instrument has an array of nine square plastic digit keys, with a zero bar and a decimal point bar below these. In addition to keys for the four arithmetic operations, it has change sign, enter, repeat, clear entry, clear all, store, recall, and overflow lock keys. A decimal point selector dial is on the right.
In entering arithmetic operations into the calculator, one first keys in a number, then pushes the enter key, then keys in the second number, and then pushes the key for the operator (e.g. the + key for addition). This way of representing arithmetic operations is known as reverse Polish notation, and would be used on several electronic calculators.
Behind the keyboard is a cathode ray tube display that shows four rows of numbers. The top line shows contents of one register and the answer; the second lin, the contents of the second register; and the two lower lines, intermediate values. Each line shows 13 digits. If the numbers are smaller, the digits to the left are zeroes.
Tags on the front and on the back of the machine read: Friden. A mark on the front next to the display reads: 130 ELECTRONIC CALCULATOR. A mark on the bottom at the front reads: MODEL 130 SER 9479.
The Friden Calculating Machine Company began manufacturing mechanical calculating machines in California in the 1930s. In 1963 Friden was acquired by Singer Company. In August of 1964, the Friden 130 electronic calculator went on the market, selling for $2,150. Within a year, the price was down to $1,695. Friden soon introduced the 132 electronic calculator, which took square roots.
W. D. Smith, “Electronic Calculators Gaining,” New York Times, August 7, 1965, p. 25, 27.
[advertisement], Science, n.s. vol. 151, no. 3708 (21 January 1966), p. 367.
Mathematics for the Space Age: The Totally New Friden 130 Electronic Calculator, undated advertising booklet.
An extensive discussion of the development of the Friden 130 is at the Old Calculators Web Museum.
Currently not on view
Object Name
electronic calculator
date made
Friden, Inc.
Physical Description
plastic (overall material)
metal (overall material)
overall: 26 cm x 46.6 cm x 58 cm; 10 1/4 in x 18 11/32 in x 22 27/32 in
place made
United States: California, San Leandro
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Computers & Business Machines
Desktop Electronic Calculators
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Computers
Desktop Electronic Calculators
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of The Singer Company, Friden Division
Additional Media

Visitor Comments

3/17/2015 6:53:59 PM
Jonathan Kanner
A wonderful machine! I still have mine in the garage and next winter I'll probably see if its still in running condition (as it was 10 years ago) and restore it as needed. This little gem helped get me through engineering school in the 70's
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