Hand-held Calculators

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Texas Instruments TI 58
Special Function Calculators based on it

The Texas Instruments TI 58 calculator introduced new possibilities in functionality by using a plug-in module with pre-programmed functions.  The standard TI 58 model was supplied with the "Master Library Module" plugged into the module socket in the rear, as shown in the photographs below, but it was also possible to buy modules with libraries of functions for other types of calculation.

This is analogous to the modern personal computer which is a general-purpose machine in which it is possible to  install specialist software to do precisely what you want.  So you could buy the general purpose TI 58 calculator and install the program module to give you the specialist functions required.

In this way Texas Instruments could provide a range of specialist calculators more cheaply, since the majority of each calculator was the same, only program libraries differed.  Several companies took advantage of this flexibility and had calculators produced with a custom library module with their own special functions and with a special keyboard. A small selection of these special function calculators is featured here:

The Texas Instruments TI 59 calculator used the same program modules, but also had a magnetic card writer/reader for storing the users own programs, and was also used to a limited extent by other companies as a basis for these specialised models.

The standard TI Programmable 58

TI 58

Texas Instruments TI Programmable 58.

Distinctive features: General purpose programmable calculator that can take different plug-in library program modules to provide different functionality.

Technical details:
Display is 10 digits, red LED.

Scientific programmable.

3.6v (3 x AA rechargeable batteries) .

82 x 150 x 27 mm (3.25" x 5.9" x 1.1").

Introduced 1977.

The "Master Library Module" memory module provides the standard functions of the calculator.
Different program modules were available to turn the calculator into a specialist one.  These modules included ones for:

TI 58 & program module

Rear of the TI 58 with battery pack and "Master Library Module" removed.

Inside TI 58

The calculator with the rear cover removed.

TI 58 Master Library Module

The "Master Library Module".

USMC Harrier VSTOL/REST Calculator

USMC Harrier VSTOL/REST Calculator

USMC Harrier VSTOL/REST Calculator.

Distinctive features: General purpose programmable calculator fitted with a special program module and keyboard for the USMC AV8-A "Harrier" aircraft.

Technical details:
This calculator is fitted with a "Harrier" module to calculate Vertical & Short Take-Off & Land charcatersitics and Range, Endurance, Speed, & Time characteristics of the Harrier aircraft.
Originating in Britain as the Harrier the version used by the United States Marine Corps had the code AV8-A (and TAV8-A for the twin seat trainer version).  102 of the AV8-A were delivered between 1971 and 1976, and 8 of the TAV8-A were delivered in 1975 - 1976.


USMC Harrier calculator keyboard

The specialised keyboard of the USMC Harrier calculator.

Calculator rear
The Harrier Library Module

The "Harrier" Module.

The rear of the calculator showing the program module and the strap attached by a pad with "Velcro".  The use of this strap has not been confirmed - the main suggestion is that it appears to be for strapping the calculator to the thigh so it is handy when sitting in the cockpit.

Allianz insurance calculator

Allianz insurance calculator


Distinctive features: Special version of the TI 58 with module and keyboard designed by the German Allianz financial company for use by its insurance agents.

Technical details:

This example "Assembled in Holland".

Allianz program module

The Allianz program module in place in the socket in the rear of the calculator.

Close-up of the keyboard of the Allianz calculator.

TI Navigatronic

Texas Instruments Navigatronic

The TI Navigatronic is a TI 58 fitted with a Navigation programs module but retains the standard calculator keyboard.  For each navigation program a separate legend panel can be slid in at the top of the keyboard to label the special action of each of the upper row function keys.

The calculator is supplied in a fitted wooden case.

For more details see the Navigation Calculators page.

Hand-held Calculators

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