Bowmar Math Mate II Handheld Electronic Calculator


This handheld electronic calculator has a cream-colored plastic case with a dark brown plastic keyboard and tan plastic keys. In addition to ten digit keys, it has a decimal point key, a total key, keys for the four arithmetic functions, a percent key, and a clear/clear entry key. The on/off switch is right of the clear key. All of these keys were on the Math Mate. In addition, the Math Mate II has a key to turn the memory on and five keys that can do double duty as memory keys.

Behind these is an eight-digit LED display. A mark on the display reads: math mate. Another mark there reads: by Bowmar.

The socket for the AC adapter is on the right side. The back of the calculator has a compartment for a battery as well as two rubber feet. The calculator has no serial number.

The object and a sheet of instructions fit in a cardboard box. A mark on the back of the box reads: math mate by Bowmar (/) The first inexpesive calculator (/) good enough to be called Bowmar. (/) Fully featured (/) Quick and easy to operate (/) Full one year guarantee. Further text reads: Printed in USA. Another mark reads: Assembled in Mexico. A sticker attached to the back of the box reads: CONTINENTAL MICROSYSTEMS (/) P. O. Box 1964 (/) NOGALES, AZ. 85621. A sticker on the other side of the box reads: math mateII (/) with (/) memory.

Bowmar introduced a calculator in 1971, and had successful sales in 1972 and 1973. Assembly began in Mexico in mid-1974. The company went bankrupt in February 1975 and stopped building calculators in the middle of that year. By 1976 distribution of Bowmar calculators had been taken over by Continental Microsystems.

A May 8, 1975, advertisement indicates that the Math Mate II regularly sold for $34.95 and was then on sale for $29.88.

Compare 1986.0988.107.


William D. Smith, "Hand-Held Calculators: Tool or Toy?" New York Times, August 20, 1972, p. F7.

George Lazarus, "Bowmar's calculators add up sales, potential," Chicago Tribune, Jule 27, 1973, p. E10.

"Business Briefs," New York Times, August 28, 1974, p. 43.

Leonard Wiener, "Pocket calculator industry in ferment," Chicago Tribune, September 23, 1974, p. C9.

"Bowmar to drop its calculator line," Chicago Tribune, p. C9.

Leonard Wiener, "Calculator's answers are right - it says so," Chicago Tribune, June 16, 1976, p. C11.

Chicago Tribune, May 8, 1975, p. 14.

Date Made: ca 1975

Maker: Bowmar/Ali

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: Mexico

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: 1986.0988.106Accession Number: 1986.0988Catalog Number: 1986.0988.106

Object Name: electronic calculatorOther Terms: electronic calculator; Handheld

Physical Description: plastic (case; keys; display material)metal (circuitry material)paper (box; instructions material)Measurements: overall: 1 in x 2 3/4 in x 5 1/8 in; 2.54 cm x 6.985 cm x 13.0175 cm


Record Id: nmah_334520

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