Sharp EL-5804 Handheld Electronic Calculator

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Description
This handheld electronic calculator was advertised in the Washington Post as “Sharp’s Super Slick Sliderule [sic] Built for Scientists.” It combined the shape of a slide rule with the functions of a scientific calculator, and even boasted a plastic leatherette carrying sleeve.
The calculator has a metal case and thirty-two rectangular plastic keys. The rightmost column of keys has three memory keys and a total key. Left of this is a column of four arithmetic function keys. Left of this are three columns with ten digit keys, a change sign key, and a decimal point key. Function keys left of this include logarithmic, exponential, trigonometric, square root, and degree conversion keys. If an F key is pushed, these keys also can be used to find powers of e, reciprocals, pi, and inverse trigonometric functions. The clear entry/clear key and the F key are left of these function keys. Still further to the left is an on/off key, which can be set for angular measure in either degrees or radians.
At the far left is an LCD display, which gives results in scientific notation, with a six-digit mantissa and a two-digit exponent. Text below the display reads: ELSI MATE EL-5804 (/) SHARP.
The back of the calculator has a scale at the top fifteen centimeters long, divided to millimeters. A compartment on the bottom right would hold three squat cylindrical silver oxide batteries. Text next to the battery compartment reads in part: ELECTRONIC CALCULATOR (/) EL-5804. It also reads: NO. 74302580 BM (/) SHARP CORPORATION (/) MADE IN JAPAN. Further text reads: U.S. Pats 3902169 3976994. The most recent U.S. patent number listed, 3976994, was issued in 1976 and assigned to Sharp.
A mark on the brown carrying case reads: SHARP.
References:
[Advertisement], Washington Post, August 12, 1977, p. D16. Advertised as costing $34.95.
Frank Macias, “Calculating Friends: Delegate That Everyday Balancing Act to These Little Guys with Big Brains,” Los Angeles Times, November 19, 1978, p. O64.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
1976-1978
maker
Sharp Corporation
place made
Japan
Physical Description
plastic (keys; carrying case material)
metal (case material)
glass (display material)
Measurements
overall: 1/4 in x 7 in x 1 3/16 in; .635 cm x 17.78 cm x 3.0226 cm
ID Number
1986.0988.090
catalog number
1986.0988.090
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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