Texas Instruments TI-1766 Handheld Electronic Calculator

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The TI-1766 was the first solar-powered calculator sold by Texas Instruments. The handheld electronic calculator has a silver-colored metal case and twenty-five rectangular plastic keys. These include ten digit keys, a decimal point key, a total key, four arithmetic function keys, four memory keys, an all clear key, a square root key, a percentage key, a change sign key, and a clear entry/clear key. A mark below the keys reads: LIGHT POWERED. Behind the keys is a solar cell. A mark behind this reads: TEXAS INSTRUMENTS TI-1766. Behind this is an eight-digit LCD display.
A sticker on the back of the case reads: TEXAS INSTRUMENTS (/) electronic calculator (/) SOLAR AND LIGHT POWER (/) SERIAL NO. 118063 (/) 093 (/) MADE IN JAPAN. Unscrewing the back of the calculator reveals only the back of the chip and the back of the circuit board.
The calculator has a gray plastic jacket, marked on the back: TEXAS INSTRUMENTS.
According to the online Datamath Museum, Texas Instruments began selling the TI-1766 in 1981, using a Toshiba chip. A second design appeared the next year and a third in 1983. This calculator does not precisely match any of these designs—the model number is just below the display, not below the keys. It resembles a machine shown in advertisements from 1985 and 1986. The calculator came to the museum in 1987.
[Advertisement], Los Angeles Times, November 28, 1985, p. Z11. Regular price $9.95, sale price $6.97.
[Advertisement], Washington Post, January 2, 1986, p. B10. The calculator had a regular price of $6.95 and a sale price of $5.90.
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1986
Texas Instruments
place made
Physical Description
metal (case; circuitry material)
plastic (keys; circuit board; wallet material)
paper (sticker material)
overall: 1/4 in x 2 1/2 in x 4 1/2 in; .635 cm x 6.35 cm x 11.43 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


These TI-1766 calculators do not stop working! When I got it (30 years ago), solar power was fairly new, but I use it for everything now. Love the memory and square route options. Faster than my phone. They don't make 'em like this anymore! Thanks
I got this calculator as a gift at my job. Cannot remember from who since several of us received one. Had to be 1986 or 87, not sure. But I retired in 1997 and still use this frequently at home while working on my computer. Has not let me down. This was one great product at the time and I still think it is.
I have had this calculator so long, can't remember how I acquired it. I believe I received it brand new. It is the first model design w/ TI-1766 in the lower left corner under the keys. I use it all the time when balancing my check book, etc. Sitting in the desk drawer next to me right now. It has been absolutely reliable. Starting to get a small split at seam for the cover but otherwise in great shape. I love the compact shape, covered holder and minimal functions. All I need, nothing more and nothing less! Great product for the time and even now. Seriously, I can't believe I searched out info for my calculator on the internet. That's how it impresses me.
My dad bought this calculator as a Christmas gift for me in the early 1980s, and I love it! I have carried it in my purse--using it ever since (I am now 71 years old)-- and it has never let me down. It has gotten me, my kids, and my grandkids through some tough work, homework, and everyday math issues. Thanks for making such a great product and for this chance to remember a Christmas long ago.
I bought one of these new in 1983 to use for keeping track of fuel on offshore tugboats I worked on. A fellow engineer borrowed it and liked it so much, I gave it to him, and then I bought another to replace it. I am still using it to this day!

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