The History and Evolution of Scientific Calculators

By Readable Vibes 5 Min Read

About scientific calculator

The modern scientific calculator is a device that has become ubiquitous in the field of mathematics, engineering, and science. It has a complex set of functions that are designed to solve problems that are too complicated to solve by hand. In this article, we will take a look at the history and evolution of scientific calculators and how they have transformed the way we perform mathematical operations.

Early Calculators

The first mechanical calculator, called the Pascaline, was invented by Blaise Pascal in 1642. This device was designed to add and subtract numbers, and it could perform basic calculations such as multiplication and division with the help of manual rotation of gears. The Pascaline was a significant improvement over manual calculations, but it was not sophisticated enough to handle complex mathematical operations.

In the 19th century, a series of improvements were made to mechanical calculators, such as the Odhner Arithmometer, which could perform more advanced calculations. However, these calculators were large, expensive, and complicated to operate.

Electronic Calculators

The first electronic calculator, called the ANITA Mark VII, was invented by the British company Sumlock in 1961. The ANITA Mark VII used vacuum tubes and transistors to perform mathematical operations, and it was able to perform addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. The ANITA Mark VII was much smaller and faster than its mechanical predecessors, but it was still limited in its capabilities.

In 1965, Texas Instruments introduced the first mass-produced electronic calculator, called the TI-2500 Datamath. The TI-2500 Datamath used integrated circuits instead of vacuum tubes and transistors, which made it more reliable, efficient, and affordable. The TI-2500 Datamath could perform a wide range of calculations, including square roots and reciprocals, and it quickly became a popular tool for engineers and scientists.

Scientific Calculators

The first scientific calculator, called the HP-35, was introduced by Hewlett-Packard in 1972. The HP-35 was the first calculator that could perform complex mathematical operations such as trigonometric and logarithmic functions. It was also the first calculator that used reverse Polish notation (RPN), a mathematical notation that eliminates the need for parentheses.

The HP-35 was a groundbreaking device that revolutionized the field of mathematics and engineering. It was small enough to fit in a pocket, and it had a battery life of up to three hours. The HP-35 was also expensive, with a price tag of $395, which made it out of reach for many consumers.

In the following years, many other companies introduced their own scientific calculators, such as the Casio fx-502P and the Sharp EL-5100. These calculators were more affordable than the HP-35, and they had additional features such as programmability and graphing capabilities.

Modern Calculators

Today’s scientific calculators are much more advanced than their early predecessors. They are smaller, faster, and more powerful, and they have a wide range of functions that can handle complex mathematical operations. Modern calculators also have features such as 2D and 3D graphing, symbolic manipulation, and equation solving.

In recent years, scientific calculators have been replaced by smartphones and computers, which have more advanced features and can perform a wider range of tasks. However, scientific calculators are still widely used in educational settings and in industries that require precise mathematical calculations.


In conclusion, the history and evolution of scientific calculators have been a remarkable journey that has transformed the way we perform mathematical operations. From the early mechanical devices to the modern electronic calculators, scientific calculators have become an essential tool for engineers, scientists, and mathematicians.

Despite the rise of more advanced computing devices, scientific calculators continue to play an important role in mathematics education and in industries that require precise mathematical calculations.

As we look to the future, we can expect to see even more advanced and powerful scientific calculators that will continue to push the boundaries of what is possible in the world of mathematics and science.

Share this Article