Sony Sobax ICC-500 Electronic Calculator

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By the early 1960s, Sony Corporation had gained an international reputation for such consumer electronics products as a pocket transistor radio and a transistorized television. It exhibited a prototype desktop electronic calculator in 1964. In 1967, it released the SOBAX, or solid state abacus. It was called an "ICC" or integrated circuit calculator. By 1968, the machine sold in the United States for $1,250.
The non-printing, four-function desktop electronic calculator has an array of nine digit keys at the center front. Zero and decimal point keys are below these. Immediately to the right are cancel, subtraction, and addition keys. Right of these keys are memory clear, memory input, and total keys, as well as a round-off switch.
Immediately to the left of the digit keys are division, multiplication, and result keys. Left of these are repeat and memory out keys. Still further left are the on/off switch and the clear key. Behind is a fourteen-digit display window. A decimal point lever is below the result display, and a minus lamp is at the far left. The case includes a plastic handle at the top. A cord extends from the back and can be wound around protruding “cord anchors” for storage.
A mark on the left front of the machine reads: SOBAX. A tag at the top reads: SONY.
Compare CI*334388.
Sony Corporation of America, SOBAX: SONY Solid State Calculator ICC-500W Owner’s Instruction Manual, New York: Sony Corporation, no date. This is CI*313986.10.
Sony Corporation, “Press Release: Sony Portable Electronic Calculator ‘SOBAX ICC-500’.” May 15, 1967. This is CI*313986.07.
P. H. Wiggins, “Calculators Hold Answers for Business,” New York Times, June 2, 1968, p. F26.
An extensive discussion of the development of the SOBAX 500 is at the online Old Calculators Web Museum.
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1968
Sony Corporation of America
place made
Nihon: Kanto, Tōkyō
Physical Description
glass (register cover material)
rubber (feet, cord material)
plastic (overall material)
metal (overall material)
overall: 7 in x 10 in x 16 1/2 in; 17.78 cm x 25.4 cm x 41.91 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Sony Corporation
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Computers
Desktop Electronic Calculators
Computers & Business Machines
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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