National Semiconductor Quiz Kid Electronic Game


This electronic game tests children on the basic operations of arithmetic. It has an off-white plastic case, and a paper sticker attached under the keyboard and display. The sticker is decorated with a drawing of an owl. The device has eighteen rectangular plastic keys. These include ten digit keys, a decimal point key, a clear key, four function keys, a total key and a question mark key. The on/off switch is at the center of the top row of keys. The display consists of two lights that serve as eyes for the owl, one green and the other red.

Children playing the game entered both a problem and their answer to it. If the answer was correct, the green light flashed reinforcement. If not, the red eye lit up.

A mark at the back of the sticker reads: National Semiconductor (/) Quiz Kid (/) Pat Pending. A socket for a power adapter is on the left side.

The back has a compartment for a battery. Text at the bottom of the back reads: MADE IN HONG KONG.

According to a trademark registration filed by National Semiconductor Corporation in September 1977 and registered August 14, 1979, the company first used the term Quiz Kid in commerce in April 1975. It was introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show held in Chicago in June 1975. The company sold a similar toy in its Novus line of calculators as the Novus Quiz Kid. An advertisement published in The New York Times just before Christmas in 1975 proclaimed “the Novus ‘Quiz Kid’ might just make a Whiz Kid out of Jr.” The toy sold for $15. An article from May 1976 indicated that by then roughly 600,000 of the toys had been shipped. Advertisements for the toy appeared at least as late as 1981.

Compare the Little Professor made by Texas Instruments (see 1986.0988.197), as well as the Whiz Kid (1986.0988.307), the Quiz Kid Speller (1986.0988.235) and the Quiz Kid Racer (1988.0988.236).


“Calculators Go to Grade School,” Chicago Tribune, June 7, 1975, p. N A7.

[Advertisement], New York Times, December 23, 1975, p. 4.

Nathaniel C. Nash, “Calculated Gadgetry,” New York Times, May 23, 1976, p. F3.

[Advertisement], Los Angeles Times, August 8, 1980, p. P17. This sale advertised the toy as selling for $5.88 with a regular price of $8.99.

[Advertisement], Los Angeles Times, July 29, 1981, p. A20. This ad gave a sale price of $4.97 and a regular price of $8.99.

Date Made: 1975-1981

Maker: National Semiconductor Corporation

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: China: Hong Kong

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: 1986.0988.237Catalog Number: 1986.0988.237Accession Number: 1986.0988

Object Name: electronic calculator

Physical Description: plastic (case; keys material)metal (circuitry material)paper (sticker material)Measurements: overall: 1 in x 2 3/4 in x 5 in; 2.54 cm x 6.985 cm x 12.7 cm


Record Id: nmah_1305767

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