Sharp EL-500 Handheld Electronic Calculator

Sharp EL-500 Handheld Electronic Calculator

<< >>
Usage conditions apply
This handheld electronic calculator has a plastic case and thirty-five rectangular plastic keys. The four lower rows of keys are similar to those found on many calculators, with ten digit keys, a change sign key, a decimal point key, four arithmetic function keys, three memory keys, and a total key. The next row up on the scientific calculator contains keys for various forms of exponents and logarithms, as well as a pi key. The next row up (just below the top row of keys) contains a key for converting from degrees, minutes, and seconds to decimal degrees, as well as keys for trigonometric and inverse trigonometric functions. The top row of keys includes keys for powers, reciprocals, square roots, clear entry, and clear. A mark above the keyboard reads: SHARP.
Behind the keyboard is a green fluorescent display that shows the result, up to a six-digit mantissa and a two-digit exponent (as a power of ten). Text above the display reads: SHARP ELSI MATE (/) EL-500. A jack for a power adapter is along the back edge. The on/off switch is on the left side.
The back of the calculator has a compartment for two slim batteries. A sticker inside it reads: 72406257.Text below this reads in part: ELECTRONIC CALCULATOR (/) EL-500. It also reads in part: SHARP CORPORATION (/) MADE IN JAPAN BM.
[Advertisement], Los Angeles Times, March 27, 1977, p. X1. On sale for $14.95
[Advertisement], Washington Post, January 20, 1978, p. A23. Calculator selling for $14.77.
A copy for the manual for this calculator, without the cover, is online at, accessed October 27, 2014.
Currently not on view
Object Name
electronic calculator
Other Terms
electronic calculator; Handheld
date made
Sharp Corporation
place made
Physical Description
plastic (case; keys; display cover material)
metal (circuitry metalmaterial)
overall: 1 in x 3 1/8 in x 5 3/8 in; 2.54 cm x 7.9375 cm x 13.6525 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
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


I still have mine from 1977 and remember the day I got it on Walthamstow High Rd
What a piece of excellent workmanship - thank you Sharp. It has become part of my life's history when I bought it in 1977, it's still in perfect working order. The display is beautiful, the touch buttons work amazingly well, something you can't find anymore.
I have been using this calculator since I bought it in the late 70's. We are both getting kind of old but we think the same way.
Still have mine from 1977. Works fine.
Still have mine from 1977 too!!!!
I, too, use this device on at least a weekly basis; a really excellent piece of gear.
I bought this calculator in June of 1959 to use on my first job after graduation from Miss. State Univ. at Western Electric Co. I still have the calaulator and it still works fine.
I received this calculator as a graduation gift in 1979. I still have, and use it every day at work.

Note: Comment submission is temporarily unavailable while we make improvements to the site. We apologize for the interruption. If you have a question relating to the museum's collections, please first check our Collections FAQ. If you require a personal response, please use our Contact page.