Hewlett-Packard 32SII Handheld Electronic Calculator

This handheld programmable scientific calculator has an array of thirty-five plastic keys. Most of them can take on four different meanings. One is indicated in white atop the key, one (often a letter) in white to the lower right of the key on the keyboard, one in orange to the upper left of the key on the keyboard and one in blue on the upper right of the key on the keyboard. The functions of the calculator are described in detail in the accompanying manual.
The LCD display behind the keyboard. Results were calculated to twelve-digit precision and displayed either as common numbers or in scientific notation.
Marks above the display read: 32SII and: RPN SCIENTIFIC. A mark above this reads: hp (/) HEWLETT (/) PACKARD.
A compartment at the top of the back holds three button cell batteries. A mark below it reads: SINGAPORE 3406S89420 (/) CE 91 [copyright symbol] HEWLETT-PACKARD COMPANY 1987. The serial number indicates a date of manufacture of February (sixth week) of 1994 (thirty-four years from 1960). A note on the title page of the manual indicates that that the object was purchased October 13, 1994, for $62.95 (including shipping). According to Mier-Jedrezejowicz, the HP-32SII was introduced in 1991 and still in production at least as late as 1995.
Accompanying the calculator is HP32SII RPN Scientific Calculator Owner’s Manual. This is an example of the fourth edition, published in 1993.
The calculator has a black plastic sleeve. A mark on it reads: hp.
This example of the calculator was owned by Tom Simkin, Curator of Volcanology in the Department of Mineral Sciences at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.
Accession file.
W.A.C. Mier-Jedrzejowicz, A Guide to HP Handheld Calculators and Computers , Tustin, California: Wilson/Burnett Publishing, 1997, pp. 89–90, 95–96, 133.
Accession file.
Currently not on view
Object Name
electronic calculator
date made
Hewlett-Packard Company
Physical Description
plastic (case; keys; envelope material)
glass (display cover material)
paper (manual material)
overall: 4 cm x 14 cm x 21.2 cm; 1 9/16 in x 5 1/2 in x 8 11/32 in
calculator: 1.8 cm x 8.5 cm x 15.5 cm; 23/32 in x 3 11/32 in x 6 3/32 in
manual: 2.2 cm x 13.8 cm x 21.2 cm; 7/8 in x 5 7/16 in x 8 11/32 in
place made
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Computers & Business Machines
Handheld Electronic Calculators
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 Sharon Simkin
Additional Media

Visitor Comments

Add a comment about this object

**Please read before submitting the form**

Have a comment or question about this object to share with the community? Please use the form below. Selected comments will appear on this page and may receive a museum response (but we can't promise). Please note that we generally cannot answer questions about the history, rarity, or value of your personal artifacts.

Have a question about anything else, or would you prefer a personal response? Please visit our FAQ or contact page.

Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited e-mail. See our privacy policy.

Enter the characters shown in the image.