Texas Instruments Programmable 58 C Handheld Electronic Calculator

This programmable scientific calculator, introduced in 1979, is a successor to the TI Programmable 58 that boasts constant memory (programs 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 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 white space that would hold a paper label card describing a program on a module (the module itself is stored in the back of the calculator). Behind this is a ten-digit display (it may also show five 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. (/) 1289812 ATA4879 (/) ASSEMBLED IN USA. 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-.
Compare 1987.0435.03 (TI Programmable 58) and 2007.0179.01. (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
date made
Texas Instruments
place made
United States
Physical Description
plastic (case; keys material)
metal (circuitry material)
overall: 1 1/2 in x 3 in x 6 1/2 in; 3.81 cm x 7.62 cm x 16.51 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, Kenneth E. Behring Center


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