Texas Instruments Dataman Handheld Electronic Calculator

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Description
Introduced by Texas Instruments in 1977 and advertised through at least 1981, this educational toy sought to teach arithmetic to children seven years old and up. The device has a gray plastic case, designed to resemble a robot, with an array of twenty-four orange plastic keys of differing shape. These include ten digit keys, four arithmetic function keys, an equals key, a memory bank keys, an on key, an off key, and keys for various games. Games available are “Electro Flash” (for practicing mathematical tables), “Wipe Out” (for competing at solving arithmetic problems rapidly), Number Guesser (for guessing a number selected by the calculator), Force Out (for subtracting numbers – to avoid being the one who arrives at zero), and Missing Numbers (to enter unknowns in equations). A display that could flash at appropriate times is behind the keyboard.
The back of the instrument has a compartment for a nine-volt battery. Text above this reads in part: TEXAS INSTRUMENTS (/) electronic calculator.” The space for a serial number is blank. The date code is 2978. Text below this reads: ASSEMBLED IN EL SALVADOR.
The toy is in a brown plastic zippered case.
References:
[Advertisement], Los Angeles Times, July 9, 1977, p. C5. Listed among other TI products as costing $22.95, “teaches arithmetic” – “order now for early delivery.”
[Advertisement], Hartford Courant, November 6, 1977, p. 7C. Dataman “electronic learning aid” now available, selling for $19.99. Offers ‘basic math drills with design.”
“Electronic Helpers,” Chicago Tribune, Nov 17, 1978, p. D9. Mentioned as one of several toys offered for the 1978 Christmas season.
[Advertisement], Los Angeles Times, June 5, 1979, p. OC_B6. On sale for $16.95.
Peter J. Schuyten, “Electronic Games a Big Winner For the Holidays . . .,” New York Times, November 15, 1979; p. D1. Dataman mentioned in passing. In general, chips in short supply.
[Advertisement], Los Angeles Times, November 17, 1979, p. E3. Dataman selling for $19.95.
Kallan, Carla, “Electronic Games People Play: toy outlets reflect the arrival of the computer age,” Los Angeles Times, December 11, 1979, p. H1. Dataman among the educational games mentioned. Price given as $25.
[Advertisement], Hartford Courant, Dec 21, 1980, p. B13. Dataman on sale for $16.99, regularly $24.99.
[Advertisement], Los Angeles Times, April 14, 1981, p. B10. Dataman on sale for $16 (or perhaps $18), regularly $25.
Texas Instruments, “The Story of Dataman,” 1977. This gives instructions. Images are available at the online Datamath museum and at other websites.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
1978
maker
Texas Instruments
place made
El Salvador
Physical Description
plastic (case; keys; carrying case material)
metal (circuitry material)
Measurements
overall: 1 1/8 in x 3 1/4 in x 5 3/4 in; 2.8575 cm x 8.255 cm x 14.605 cm
ID Number
1986.0988.056
catalog number
1986.0988.056
accession number
1986.0988
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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