Texas Instruments TI-81 Handheld Electronic Calculator

Texas Instruments TI-81 Handheld Electronic Calculator

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Description
This is an example of the first graphing calculator sold by Texas Instruments. The TI-81 was introduced in 1990. The handheld electronic calculator has a blue plastic case with a sliding cover that can also serve as a stand. It has an array of forty-one rectangular plastic keys, many of which can take on three meanings. These include a wide number of arithmetic, trigonometric, statistical, and algebraic functions. Letters of the alphabet also can be represented. The calculator also has four arrow keys, plus a row of five keys immediately under the display that relate to graphing. In addition to performing a wide range of calculations, the calculator could display eight lines of text sixteen characters long or graph up to four functions simultaneously. A mark above the display reads: TEXAS INSTRUMENTS TI-81.
The back of the calculator has a compartment at the bottom that holds four AAA batteries as well as a small CR1616 or CR1620 battery. A mark scratched next to the battery compartment reads: R. The device has no serial number, but has a sticker at the top of the back that reads: Reconditioned. A sticker on the battery compartment cover reads: #30. Text on the back of the calculator indicates that the design was copyrighted in 1991. Text below this reads: MADE IN TAIWAN R.O.C.
According to the online Datamath Museum, the first examples of the TI-81 did not include the small battery.
This TI-81 was used in teaching mathematics at Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts.
References:
[Advertisement], Los Angeles Times, October 15, 1990, p. C16. New TI-81 calculator selling for $99.99. List price $129.95.
[Advertisement]. Washington Post, August 24, 1993, p. C10. TI-81 calculator, regularly $110.00, on sale for $69.99.
[Advertisement]. Washington Post, August 7, 1994, p. AE19. TI-81 calculator, list price of $115.00, on sale for $69.99.
[Advertisement]. Washington Post, September 4, 1994, p. F8. TI-81 calculator, regularly $115.00, on sale for $69.98.
Kidwell, P.A., A. Ackerberg-Hastings, and D. L. Roberts, Tools of American Mathematics Teaching, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008, p. 309.
Online Datamath Museum, accessed June 12, 2015.
Texas Instruments, TI-81 Guidebook. A 1992 edition is online. Accessed June 12, 2015.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
electronic calculator, graphing
date made
ca 1991
maker
Texas Instruments
place made
Taiwan
Physical Description
plastic (case; keys material)
metal (circuitry material)
paper (sticker material)
Measurements
overall: 2.6 cm x 8.5 cm x 17.6 cm; 1 1/32 in x 3 11/32 in x 6 15/16 in
ID Number
1999.0285.01
accession number
1999.0285
catalog number
1999.0285.01
Credit Line
Gift of Amherst College, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Computers
Handheld Electronic Calculators
Computers & Business Machines
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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