Texas Instruments SR-11 Handheld Electronic Calculator

Texas Instruments SR-11 Handheld Electronic Calculator

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Description
This is an example of an early scientific calculator marketed by Texas Instruments. Building on the success of the SR-10, TI introduced it in 1973. The handheld electronic calculator has a black- and ivory-colored plastic case with an array of twenty-four small rectangular plastic keys. In addition to ten digit keys, a decimal point key, a change sign key, a total key, and four arithmetic function keys, the calculator has a reciprocal key, a square key, a square root key, a pi key, an enter exponent key, a clear key, and a clear display key. Text on the keyboard, just above the keys and two the left, reads: SR-11. A constant switch is to the right of this. Behind the keyboard is a twelve-digit LED display. A mark behind the display reads: TEXAS INSTRUMENTS. The on/off switch is right and slightly above this mark.
The back edge of the calculator has a jack for a recharger/adapter. A sticker on the back gives extensive instructions. It also gives the serial number SR-11 277378. A small sticker above this reads: INSPECTED (/) BY (/) J-01.
Unscrewing screws near the top and bottom of the back reveals the workings of the calculator. It has a total of five chips. The largest of these is marked TMS0602NC (/) 7427. This is a TMS0602 chip, manufactured in mid-1974. Also in the case is space for three AA nickel-cadmium batteries.
The calculator comes in a black plastic zippered case.
Texas Instruments described the SR-11 as an “electronic slide rule calculator,” hence the “SR” in the name. Ball & Flamm indicate that the calculator sold for $66.50 in 1974.
References:
Guy Ball and Bruce Flamm, The Complete Collector’s Guide to Pocket Calculators, Tustin, CA: Wilson/Barnett, 1997, p. 153.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
electronic calculator
date made
ca 1973-1974
maker
Texas Instruments
place made
United States: Texas, Dallas
Physical Description
plastic (case; keys; carrying case material)
metal (circuitry material)
paper (stickers material)
Measurements
overall: 1 1/2 in x 3 in x 6 1/4 in; 3.81 cm x 7.62 cm x 15.875 cm
ID Number
1986.0988.345
catalog number
1986.0988.345
accession number
1986.0988
Credit Line
Gift of John B. Priser
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Computers
Computers & Business Machines
Handheld Electronic Calculators
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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Comments

I was studying Civil and Structural Engineering at early 70's when I purchased one in July 1973. I think it was like $74. At the beginning it was a marvelous but all trig and log functions were missing therefore I began quickly getting disappointed with it. Nevertheless I took a lot of fun in using it and up to my next one full of functions and memory in January 1974.
You could tell who the tech students were in the early 70's because we all had calculator pouches hanging from our belts. I was studying electronics engineering at the time and felt grateful that I didn't have to figure out how a slide rule worked, though I did master one later as a matter of curiosity. It was not only necessary to have the calculator available for all of our tech courses, it was equally important to have the charger that went with it...hence the pouch to carry everything in. God forbid that the rechargeable NiCad batteries went dead in the middle of a quiz or exam. The classrooms that housed tech offerings usually doubled as lab rooms so there were outlets available to plug into at every students seat. These calculators due to the L.E.D displays would only go for about 2 or 2-1/2 hours of so between charges, though they would operate with diminished batteries as long as the charger was attached and plugged in. The only thing I couldn't do with this calculator at the time that would have been helpful were trig functions, so we still had to rely on the charts to look these up. For those to young to remember, sin, cos, and tang functions were listed on charts for every whole angle and fractions thereof which could be added on. It was a great convenience when I moved on to my next calculator which included trig functions, but that didn't happen until I entered the workforce and could afford such a luxury. Come to think of it, I think my employer covered the cost. Ahhh, the good 'ol days.
I remember purchasing one of these for college (at the time I thought it was an upgrade from the slide rule that I had been using) but ended up being very disappointed. The keyboard rested on the circuit board & after a couple of years cracks developed in the traces (which I patched by soldering bits of wire over the cracks.) The rechargable battery also started to fail about that time. Needless to say I was not happy that my $70 "investment" did not last longer.

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