Calculator InventoryTags

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Calculator Inventory Tags

© 2020 Douglas Mendez & Nigel Tout

This is a new article which was not originally in "The International Calculator Collector".


Early calculators, both mechanical and electronic, were very expensive and if purchased and owned by an organisation then an inventory tag might be attached to help track such capital equipment and indicate ownership.  In the early 1970s the first hand-held electronic calculators were very expensive and also very portable so an inventory tag on a calculator also made it less likely to disappear from the premises.

Finding a calculator wth the inventory tag of a significant organisation gives increased interest to the collector since they can relate the calculator to its use in that organisation.  Here is a selection of calculators with inventory tags from the collection of Douglas Mendez.

Canon Palmtronic FC-80 - 'United States Atomic Energy Commission Nevada Test Site' tag

Canon FC-80 Atomic Energy Commission Nevada Test Site
Canon FC-80 Atomic Energy Commission Nevada Test Site label

Canon Palmtronic FC-80 with 'United States Atomic Energy Commission Nevada Test Site' tag

The Nevada Test Site (NTS), 65 miles north of Las Vegas, was one of the most significant nuclear weapons test sites in the United States.  Nuclear testing, both atmospheric and underground, occurred here between 1951 and 1992.  After World War II, the U.S. government established the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) to monitor the peacetime development of atomic science and technology.  The 1950s became a period of rapid expansion for U.S. atomic weapons.  Fear of the Soviet Union increasing their atomic weapons, and the belief that building up nuclear arms could help establish U.S. power, contributed to this rapid expansion.

In 1950 the AEC considered many sites for U.S. nuclear weapons development and effects testing.  They then selected the Las Vegas Bombing and Gunnery Range.  On December 18, 1950, President Harry Truman authorized the establishment of a 680 square mile portion of the Range as the Nevada Proving Ground.  Under the authority of President Truman, the AEC then designated, and managed, this land.  In 1955, the name of the site was changed to the Nevada Testing Site.  Over time the site rapidly grew in size.  The NTS acquired more land for testing in 1958, 1961, 1965, 1967, and in 1999.[1]

In June 1958, it was officially designated Area 51 by the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC).  The adjacent AEC proving grounds became known as the Nevada Test Site and divided into numbered areas.

I checked FC-80 with my Geiger Counter and the calculator was not hot!

Canon Palmtronic FC-80 - 4-function, square root, metric conversion, red LED, 4-AA replaceable batteries.

National Semiconductor Novus 4520 - 'Raytheon Systems Company' tag

Novus 4520 Inventory Tag Raytheon Missile Systems

National Semiconductor Novus 4520 'Scientist' with 'Raytheon Systems Company' tag

RSC, Raytheon Systems Company aka RMS, Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson AZ now called Raytheon Technologies.

Raytheon Technologies Corporation is an American multinational conglomerate head-quartered in Waltham, Massachusetts.  The company is one of the largest aerospace and defense manufacturers in the world by revenue and market capitalization.  It researches, develops, and manufactures advanced technology products in the aerospace and defense industry, including aircraft engines, avionics, aerostructures, cybersecurity, missiles, air defense systems, and drones.  The company is also a large military contractor, getting a significant portion of its revenue from the U.S. government.[2]

National Semiconductor Novus 4520 - Scientific functions, memory, red LED, 9v replaceable battery.

The National Semiconductor Novus 4520 'Scientist' with the inventory tag.

National Semiconductor 4520 Scientist

Hewlett-Packard HP-35 - 'Australian Post Office Research Laboratories' tag

HP-35 Australian Post Office Research Laboratories

Hewlett-Packard HP-35 with 'Australian Post Office Research Laboratories' tag

The Australian Post Office (APO), as part of the Postmaster General's Department (PMG), established the Australian Post Office Research Laboratories in 1923.  The Laboratories continued as the domestic telecommunications services of the PMG progressed to Telecom Australia in 1975 and Telstra in 1995.   Its final incarnation was as the Telstra Research Laboratories (TRL) until it was closed by Telstra in January 2006.[3]

Around the time that this HP-35 was in use the Australian Post Office Research Laboratories were vital to upgrading and maintaining the telecommunication infrastructure of the continent.  They were reported to be researching advancements in long range communications electronics, microwave radio networks, possible uses of lasers in communications and satellite links.  Apparently, a variety of electronic equipment was designed and tested in their labs and in the field in Australia.[4]


Hewlett-Packard HP-35 - The first hand-held scientific calculator, scientific functions, red LED, rechargeable battery unit.  The HP-35 is a featured calculator.

The Hewlett-Packard HP-35, version '1304S', calculator with the inventory tag.

HP35 1302S

Grateful thanks to Douglas Mendez for supplying the photographs and information about these calculators and their inventory tags.



  1. "Nevada Test Site" at
  2. "Raytheon Technologies" at
  3. "Australian Telecommunications - History" at
  4. "The Post Office Research Report" at

Vintage Calculators

Text & photographs copyright, except where stated otherwise, © Nigel Tout 2000-2024.