Hand-held Calculators

Home > Hand-held Calculators

Sharp EL-120

Sharp EL-120

Sharp EL-120

Distinctive features: Low-cost calculator - 3 digit display.  Has counter function.

Technical details:
Display is 3 digits, green vacuum fluorescent.  Calculates with 9 digits, but only displays 3 digits at a time, see below.

4-function.  Also has a 'count' trigger (white wedge-shapped button under the display); each time it is pressed it adds 1 to the display, which can then have calculations performed on it.

4.5v (3x AA batteries).

168 x 68 x 21 mm.


Made in Japan.

This was Sharp's answer to the very low cost Casio Mini.


One way of reducing the cost of a calculator was to reduce the number of digits shown on the display. Using 6 digits was quite common, and the Royal Digital III used 4 digits, but this calculator took this to the extreme.

Circuit board

The circuit board with the single integrated circuit from Hitachi and the 3-digit vacuum fluorescent display tube.


The display after entering 123456789.
The " indicates that there are two more display-full's of digits to be displayed.


The display after pressing the yellow -> key once reveals the next three digits.


The display after pressing the yellow -> key a second time reveals the final three digits.


  1. "New low calculator price: $38", Electronics, June 7, 1973, p63.

Hand-held Calculators

Vintage Calculators

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