National Semiconductor NS 600 Handheld Electronic Calculator

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Description
This handheld electronic calculator has a cream-colored plastic case with fifteen plastic keys, thirteen of them square and two rectangular. It has ten digit keys, a clear key, and four keys for arithmetic functions. Behind the keyboard are a switch marked “DECIMAL” and an on/off switch. A mark between the switches reads: NS (/) ELECTRONICS. Behind the keyboard is an eight-digit display.
At the top of the back is a compartment for a nine-volt battery. A paper sticker below this reads in part: NS (/) ELECTRONICS 600 CALCULATOR Made in U.S.A. It also reads in part: 460374(/) SERIAL NUMBER. It also reads in part: NS ELECTRONICS (/) A Division of (/) National Semiconductor Corp. (/) 2900 Semiconductor Drive, (/) Santa Clara, California 95051.
According to trademark records, the trademark shown on this calculator was first used in commerce in September 1973 and registered in 1977. No registration is indicated on the object.
Compare three examples of the National Semiconductor 600, 1986.0988.064, 1986.0988.275, and 1986.0988.307 (the Whiz Kid).
References:
[Advertisment], Chicago Tribune, April 26, 1974, p. B10. NS600 advertised as on sale for a reduced price of $24.88.
[Advertisment], Washington Post, November 28, 1974, p. L10. NS600 on sale for $14.88, regular price $19.88.
U.S. Trademark 73008967, filed December 17, 1973, registered February 22, 1977.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1974
maker
National Semiconductor Corporation
place made
United States
Physical Description
plastic (case; keys material)
metal (circuitry material)
paper (sticker material)
Measurements
overall: 1 in x 2 5/8 in x 5 in; 2.54 cm x 6.6675 cm x 12.7 cm
ID Number
1986.0988.064
catalog number
1986.0988.064
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

Comments

I adore "retro" calculators (they were not retro when I was a teen who could not afford them!) I was delighted to get one of these for a few dollars at a thrift shop. The rear label was missing, so I'm happy to find this page with the photo to confirm what I have. It's like an adding machine: no '=' key. You must press an operator to get the subtotal. The LED is so old each segment is 4 tiny dots, and it's all under a magnifier! It's rather rude too: gives an ERROR the moment you press a 7th digit!
"The NS 600 was the first calculator we had in our family. I was only seven years old when I went to Two Guys on a Saturday morning in 1974 with my father where he bought one of these on a whim. I even remember the price: $19.99! That was a lot of money back then, which we didn't have....my mother was livid when we came home! I haven't seen that calculator in 30 years or more, but I can still feel it in my hand and remember the dull "click " the keys made when you pressed them. The fixed-point decimal is another feature that hasn't been found on any calculator in 40 years or more!"

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