Sharp EL-8130 A Elsi-Mate Handheld Electronic Calculator

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In the second half of the 1970s, taking advantage of the introduction of liquid crystal displays, manufacturers of handheld electronic calculators designed and built ever-thinner products. This is an early example of a Sharp calculator in which the usual keys had been replaced by a single thin plastic membrane. This reduces the thickness of the calculator itself to about .5 cm (about 1/4”). Pushing numbers on such a calculator produces no tactile sensation. To give users a sense that they indeed had entered information, the calculator could be set so that a tone sounded whenever a digit or function was entered. Pushing the section of the membrane with a musical note on it (called the sensor key) activated this part of the calculator. The calculator has a total of twenty-two “keys” In addition to the sensor key, these include ten digit keys, a decimal point key, a total key, four arithmetic function keys, four memory keys, a square root key, a % key, and a clear entry key. Behind these are keys for off and on/clear. Text next to these two keys reads: SHARP (/) ELECTRONIC CALCULATOR (/) ELSI MATE EL-8130A. Behind this is the eight-digit LCD display.
Text on the back of the calculator reads: ELECTRONIC CALCULATOR EL-8130A. It also reads: NO. 87547779 BM (/) SHARP CORPORATION MADE IN JAPAN. The most recent U.S. patent number listed is 3976994, a patent issued in 1976 and assigned to Sharp.
The calculator has a black leather case. Text on the front of it reads: SHARP (/) ELECTRONIC CALCULATOR.
Sharp membrane calculators in the collections include 1997.0032.01 (Sharp EL-8152 or EL-8152A), 1987.0435.13 (Sharp EL-8130A), and 1986.0988.316 (Sharp EL-8145).
[Advertisement], Los Angeles Times, December 8, 1977, p. WS6. New model EL-8130 calculator selling for $29.95 (no advertisement found for EL-8130A).
Currently not on view
date made
Sharp Corporation
place made
Physical Description
metal (case material)
glass (display material)
leather (wallet material)
plastic (membrane material)
overall: 1/8 in x 2 3/4 in x 4 7/8 in; .3175 cm x 6.985 cm x 12.3825 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


Bought this calculator in 1977, Still works. Amazing.

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