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Hewlett-Packard HP-80


Hewlett-Packard HP-80

Distinctive features: The first hand-held calculator with business and finance functions.

Technical details:
Has functions for business and finance calculations, such as compound interest.

Display uses scientific notation, 10 digits mantissa, 2 digits exponent, red LED.

3.6v (3x AA rechargeable cells in a battery pack).

80 x 149 x 36 mm (3.2" x 5.9" x 1.4").

Launched in February 1973[1].

Made in USA.

Price on introduction US$395.

This was the first hand-held business & finance calculator and was the second Hewlett-Packard hand-held calculator.  It can perform complex financial calculations by the press of just one button.
Like the early HP-35 models, the early HP-80 models do not have the model number on the front label.

In February 1973 the journal Electronic Design announced[1]:
"HP introduces advanced version of its model 35
    More like a computer than a calculator, the HP-80, Hewlett-Packard's latest addition to the calculator scene, contains seven read-only memories that store nearly 18,000 bits of information.  It is intended for use by the business and financial communities.  It contains hardwired programs to solve the most important equations in banking, finance, accounting, real estate and insurance.
    In physical appearance, the HP-80 looks very much like the HP-35, the "electronic sliderule" introduced by Hewlett-Packard nearly a year ago.  Its operation however is markedly different.  While the HP-35 was designed to solve functions—such as sine, log and so on—with a single key stroke, the HP-80 solves entire equations with a single stroke.
    Pressing the key executes a specific program—including subroutines—stored in memory to solve a particular problem.
    According to William R. Hewlett, president of the company, the HP-80 can perform virtually all calculations involving the relationship between money and time quickly and easily. ...
    ... It can be operated for five hours from nickel cadmium batteries ..."

HP-80 in case

The early HP hand-held calculators were very expensive. Tough, fitted, plastic cases were available to protect them.

The HP-80 is described in detail in the Hewlett-Packard Journal of May 1973.

There is an enormous amount of information about the HP-80 gathered by David Hicks at the Museum of HP Calculators at http://www.hpmuseum.org/hp80.htm.


See also the Hewlett Packard HP-35, the first hand-held scientific calculator, and the Hewlett Packard HP-65, the first hand-held programmable calculator.

A Guide to HP Handheld Calculators and Computers

Revised Guide to HP Calculators Available

The fifth edition of Wlodek Mier-Jedrzejowicz's "A Guide to HP Handheld Calculators and Computers" has been published.


  1. "HP introduces advanced version of its model 35", Electronic Design, 3 February 1973, p20.

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