National Semiconductor Novus 4520 Handheld Electronic Calculator, the Scientist


In 1975 Novus, the Consumer Products branch of National Semiconductor Corporation, introduced a series of handheld electronic calculators known as the “Professionals.” As a June, 1975, advertisement in the Chicago Tribune put it, these were designed to fill the gap between “very expensive calculators offering every feature in the book” and “‘Mickey Mouse’ models which were much less costly, but which just didn’t have what it takes to do the job.” The least expensive of these calculators was The Mathematician, which initially sold for $69.95. Others in the series included the Programmable Mathematician, The Financier, The Programmable Financier, The Statistician, The Programmable Statistician, and The International Computer (later sold as The International Converter). By 1976, Novus had also introduced The Scientist and The Programmable Scientist.

This is an example of the Novus Scientist. The calculator has a black plastic case, thirty-five rectangular plastic keys, and a plastic display cover. At the bottom of the keyboard are ten digit keys, a decimal point key, and a clear key. To the right of these is a column of four arithmetic function keys. The function of these keys is marked on the keys themselves. Also included among the marked keys is an enter key—the calculator used reverse Polish notation.

To the right and above these keys are a variety of function keys. The function of the keys is indicated on the keyboard. A mark above the keyboard reads: Scientist. Behind the keyboard is an eight-digit red LED display. A mark above this reads: NOVUS. The jack for a power adapter is along the back edge and a power switch is on the left edge.

The calculator has no separate battery compartment. A sticker with instructions on the back (upside down in this case) reads in part: NOVUS 4520. It also reads at the bottom: NOVUS – Consumer Products from National Semiconductor Corp. (/) Made in U.S.A. It also reads: Serial No. (/) 126956. Text on the bottom of the case reads: MADE IN USA (/) U609.

Compare the National Semiconductor Scientist (1986.0988.063).


[Advertisement], Chicago Tribune, June 1, 1975, p. A16. Novus Scientist not mentioned.

[Advertisement], Los Angeles Times, April 17, 1976, p. C5. Novus Scientist selling for $39.95.

Date Made: ca 1976

Maker: National Semiconductor Corporation

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States

See more items in: Medicine and Science: Computers, Computers & Business Machines, Handheld Electronic Calculators


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of John B. Priser

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1986.0988.228Accession Number: 1986.0988Catalog Number: 1986.0988.228

Object Name: electronic calculator

Physical Description: plastic (case; keys; display cover material)metal (trim; circuitry material)paper (sticker material)Measurements: overall: 1 in x 2 3/4 in x 6 in; 2.54 cm x 6.985 cm x 15.24 cm


Record Id: nmah_1305758

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