Computers & Business Machines
Imagine the loss, 100 years from now, if museums hadn't begun preserving the artifacts of the computer age. The last few decades offer proof positive of why museums must collect continuously—to document technological and social transformations already underway.
The museum's collections contain mainframes, minicomputers, microcomputers, and handheld devices. Computers range from the pioneering ENIAC to microcomputers like the Altair and the Apple I. A Cray2 supercomputer is part of the collections, along with one of the towers of IBM's Deep Blue, the computer that defeated reigning champion Garry Kasparov in a chess match in 1997. Computer components and peripherals, games, software, manuals, and other documents are part of the collections. Some of the instruments of business include adding machines, calculators, typewriters, dictating machines, fax machines, cash registers, and photocopiers
- This transistorized electronic calculator is the prototype for the first electronic calculator sold by Hewlett-Packard Company, the HP 9100. The machine was notable for its ability to compute transcendental functions at the push of a button, and for the range of values that could be computed.
- The prototype has a metal case painted gray. At the right center is an array of nine digit keys and a 0 bar, with clear display, enter exponent, and change sign keys above these. To the right of these keys is an array of fourteen programming keys. Left of the digit keys are keys for arithmetic operations, square roots, and shifting the position of variables within the x, y, and z registers of the calculator . The fifteen further keys to the left are for a variety of trigonometric, hyperbolic, and exponential functions.
- Above these keys are four switches. The leftmost determines whether angles entered and computed are in radians or degrees. The second switch from the left determines whether the decimal point is floating or fixed. The third switch turns the power on or off. The rightmost switch sets the mode as run or program. A display and a dial that may be set between 0 and 9 are behind the keyboard and switches. At the back are a power cord and a connector.
- The prototype brought together ideas of Thomas Osborne, Malcolm McMillan, and others at Hewlett-Packard. For Osborne’s earlier prototype, see 19780311.01 and 1978.0311.02. For a production model of the HP9100B, see 2012.0044.01.
- Bernard M. Oliver, “How the Model 9100A Was Developed,” Hewlett-Packard Journal, September, 1968. A copy of this article is at the HP Museum website.
- Currently not on view
- date made
- ca 1966
- date received
- Hewlett-Packard Company
- Osborne, Thomas E.
- ID Number
- accession number
- catalog number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History