Litronix 1100 Handheld Electronic Calculator

Litronix 1100 Handheld Electronic Calculator

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Bruce Blakken left Monsanto Corporation in the spring of 1970 to establish Litronix, Inc., a maker of optoelectronic components, particularly light-emitting diodes. By 1973, the company was selling electronic calculators, first under the name Checkmate and then as the Litronix 1100. The firm would continue to sell calculators until 1976, when prices became too competitive. In 1977, bankrupt, it was purchased by the German firm of Siemens, Inc.
The Litronix 1100 has a tan and brown plastic case with a metal plate at the top of the front, and seventeen rectangular plastic keys. These include ten digit keys, a decimal point key, four arithmetic function keys, a clear key, and a clear entry key. In addition the calculator has an on/off switch and a switch for determining whether results are shown to two decimal digits or to four. Behind the keyboard is an eight-digit red LED display. A mark above this reads: litronix. A socket for a power adapter is along the back edge.
A compartment for three batteries is at the top of the back. A sticker below this reads: litronix 1100 (/) Serial No. 131310 (/) 4.5 VDC.27 Watts (/) Manufactured By: Litronix, Inc., Cupertino, CA (/) Assembled in Malaysia. Another sticker reads: TO AVOID DAMAGE IN SHIPMENT THIS CALCULATOR SHIPPED WITH- (/) OUT BATTERIES. MFR. SUGGESTS (3) ALKALINE SIZE AA BATTERIES (/) FOR MAXIMUM LIFE. BATTERIES ARE LOW AND SHOULD BE REPLAC- (/) ED WHEN THE NUMBER 8 CANNOT BE ENTERED OR WILL NOT AP- (/) PEAR ON THE LED DISPLAY.
Introduced at a price of $39.95, the cost of the Litronix 1100 quickly dropped.
[Advertisement], Los Angeles Times, December 17, 1973. Battery-operated Litronix 1100 advertised as selling for $39.95.
[Advertisement], Los Angeles Times, March 15, 1974, p. A31. Litronix 1100 listed as on sale for $29.95.
[Advertisement], New Scientist, November 1, 1973, p. 341. Machine with same keys, switches as Litronix 1100 advertised as on sale for 23.45 pounds.
[Advertisement], Los Angeles Times, November 1, 1974, p. A13. Litronix 1100 advertised as selling for $29.95, Litronix 2120 (with memory) for $49.95.
“Litronix Provides Variety of Positions,” Los Angeles Times, Oct 21, 1975, p. H8.
“German Firm to Bid for Litronix,” Los Angeles Times, May 6, 1977, p. E19.
“The President and Founder of Litronix Plans to Resign,” Los Angeles Times, November 30, 1977, p. F12.
Oral History Interview of Gary Boone by David Morton, June 22, 1996, Interview #273 for the Center for the History of Electrical Engineering. Boone, who had worked at Texas Instruments, worked at Litronix when it was developing electronic calculators. The interview is online at the IEEE Global History Network.
Currently not on view
Object Name
electronic calculator
date made
place made
Physical Description
plastic (case, display cover, keys material)
metal (circuitry, plate material)
paper (stickers material)
gallium arsenide (display chips material)
overall: 7/8 in x 2 3/4 in x 5 7/8 in; 2.2225 cm x 6.985 cm x 14.9225 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of John B. Priser
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Medicine and Science: Computers
Computers & Business Machines
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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