Bowmar MX-90 Handheld Electronic Calculator

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The firm of Bowmar/Ali manufactured electronic calculators in the early 1970s. Its first calculators carried out basic arithmetic, with occasional attempts at percentages. In mid-1974, the company introduced what one advertisement called "a brilliant new calculator," the MX-90. It not only offered four arithmetic function keys and a percent key, but reciprocals, square roots, sign change and four memory keys. Behind the keyboard was a ten-digit display.
The plug for the power supply was at the back. (This example has no power supply.)
A tag on the back of this example reads in part: Bowmar MX-90 CALCULATOR. Further text toward the bottom of the tag reads: USE ONLY ADAPTER PROVIDED TO RECHARGE BATTERIES AND TO (/) OPERATE ON AC. (/) MODEL No. MX-90 SERIAL NO. 174939 (/) BOWMAR/ALI, INC., ACTON, MASSACHUSETTS 01720 U.S.A.
The device has a black zippered sleeve, with a loop so that it could be carried from the belt. The front of the sleeve reads: BOWMAR.
An advertisement in July 1974 issues of the Los Angeles Times indicate that the MX-90 then sold for $89.99. By December 1975, an advertisement in the New York Times lists the model as was on sale for $30. A Chicago Tribune advertisement from December 1975, indicates that the model had an original dealer's price of $58.50 and was on sale for $39.99.
Los Angeles Times, July 12, 1974, p. G10.
New York Times, December 4, 1975, p. 16.
Chicago Tribune, December 7, 1975, p. 30.
Currently not on view
date made
place made
United States
Physical Description
plastic (case; keys; circuit board; sleeve material)
metal (circuitry; zipper material)
overall: 1 1/2 in x 3 in x 5 1/4 in; 3.81 cm x 7.62 cm x 13.335 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


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