Texas Instruments Programmable TI 58C Handheld Electronic Calculator

This programmable scientific calculator, introduced in 1979, is a successor to the TI Programmable 58. Unlike its predecessor, it boasts constant memory (that is to say, programs and numbers could be retained when the calculator was turned off). 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’).
A mark below the keyboard reads: TI Programmable 58C (/) Solid State Software (/) Constant Memory. Behind the keyboard is a space that would hold a paper label describing a program on a module (the module itself is stored in the back of the calculator). Behind this is a ten-digit display that 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 on the right side.
A mark on the back of the calculator reads: TEXAS INSTRUMENTS (/) electronic calculator (/) SERIAL NO. (/) 2479837 1181 ACH (/) ASSEMBLED IN HOLLAND. Below this is a compartment for a battery pack. The lid is labeled: TEXAS INSTRUMENTS (/) BATTERY PACK BP-1A. Below this is a compartment for a program module. The module inside is labeled: MASTER (/) LIBRARY (/) MODULE (/) -1-.
The calculator comes in a cardboard box. Also in the box are a black plastic carrying case that holds the calculator, an AC adapter with prongs for a British outlet, and a plug for converting from a British to an American socket. Also there is a wallet-sized plastic folder containing a set of twenty-five black and gold labels that describe “master library” programs, as well as several blank labels. The wallet includes a “key code overlay” that fits over the keyboard of the calculator and directs a user to specific programs.
Documentation in the box includes a softcover book with title TI Programmable 58/58C/59 Personal Programming (1979). An owner’s mark on the front of the book reads: WEIR. Text on the inside of the front cover indicates that the calculator was acquired December 25,1981. Also included is a pamphlet entitled TI Programmable 58/58C/59 Master Library (1979) describing the twenty-five programs on the master library module. Further documentation is a sheet describing the PC-100C print/security cradle, a pink leaflet on the TI-58C, a folded sheet on TI-58/58C/59 solid state software libraries, and several blank TI Programmable Program Record sheets.
Compare 1987.0435.03 (TI Programmable 58) and 1987.0435.04. (TI Programmable 58C)
[Advertisement], Los Angeles Times, May 26, 1979, p. D7. Advertises new TI Programmable 58C as “retaining data or program information even when the calculator is turned off.” Taking orders for calculator at a price of $109.95.
[Advertisement], Los Angeles Times, July 7, 1979, p. C7. TI 58C now in stock, price $109.95.
[Advertisement], Washington Post, November 9, 1979, p. E8. TI 58C now on sale for $94.95. Programming libraries, regularly $30 each, $25 each if purchased in pairs.
[Advertisement], Los Angeles Times, September 27, 1980, p. OC_C14. TI Programmable 58C on sale for $112.95.
[Advertisement], New York Times, January 8, 1984, p. 43. TI 58C on sale for $149.95 – includes printer.
Texas Instruments, TI Programmable 58/59 Master Library (1977). A copy of this is 1990.3166.02.
Currently not on view
Object Name
electronic calculator
date made
Texas Instruments
Physical Description
plastic (case; keys; carrying case; wallet; labels material)
metal (circuitry material)
paper (documentation; box material)
box: 3 1/4 in x 6 1/4 in x 10 in; 8.255 cm x 15.875 cm x 25.4 cm
calculator: 1 1/2 in x 3 1/2 in x 6 3/4 in; 3.81 cm x 8.89 cm x 17.145 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog 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


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