Bowmar MX55 Handheld Electronic Calculator

Bowmar MX55 Handheld Electronic Calculator

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Usage conditions apply
This handheld electronic calculator is one of a series devices introduced by Bowmar in the early 1970s. A LED (light–emitting diode) display manufacturer and defense contractor, Bowmar/Ali, Inc. (USA), found they could not sell their displays to Japanese electronic calculator makers. In 1970–71, Bowmar decided to design and manufacture portable calculators. Some were marketed by other companies, other, like this one, by Bowmar/Ali.
The handheld calculator has a black plastic case with ten digit keys, a decimal key, keys for the four arithmetic functions, a total key, a percentage key, and a clear/clear entry key. The on/off switch is on the keyboard, the eight-digit display behind this. The plug for the power supply is on the right side. A mark at the top reads: Bowmar. It uses the Bowmar trademark registered in 1974.
A sticker on the back of the calculator reads in part: Bowmar MX55 PERSONAL CALCULATOR (/) WITH OMNI-CONSTANT® REGISTER. It also reads in part: BOWMAR MODEL MX55 SERIAL NO. 210116 (/) BOWMAR/ALI, 531 MAIN ST., ACTON, MA. Pat. Pend. (/) ASSEMBLED IN MEXICO.
The calculator is in a cardboard case marked: MX55 Five Function (/) Eight Digit Rechargeable Batteries (/) Electronic Calculator (/) The Bowmar Brains (/) Bowmar/ALI, Inc., 531 Main Street, Acton, Massachusetts 01720. The box holds not only the calculator but a black zippered sleeve marked: Bowmar. A power supply and an instruction booklet are also included.
According to Ball and Flamm, the MX55 sold in 1974 at a list price of $69. A December 4, 1975 advertisement in the New York Times gives an initial price of $44.95 and a discount price of $17.00.
Compare 1986.0988.058 and 1986.0988.205.
Guy Ball and Bruce Flamm, The Complete Collector's Guide to Pocket Calculators, Tustin, CA: Wilson/Barnett, 1997, pp. 35–37.
New York Times, December 4, 1975, p. 16.
Currently not on view
Object Name
electronic calculator
Other Terms
electronic calculator; Handheld
date made
place made
Physical Description
plastic (case; keys; circuit board; display material)
paper (box; instructions material)
rubber (cord material)
metal (circuitry material)
overall: 1 1/4 in x 3 in x 5 3/4 in; 3.175 cm x 7.62 cm x 14.605 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
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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