Museum night



Here in Switzerland in my City there is each year a large museum´s night where all museums open until 2 am. This year I was asked by a computer museum if I would present some of the HP calculators and their accessories. What a honour for me, but I can not decide, what I want to present there. As I was informed, I will have some vitrines to present things (but I can not decide what). Secondly I want to show some of the calculators in daily work, so that the people can touch and use them...
As I never did this before I please you to help me finding a cool selection of the spirit of HP.....




I would take
HP 35 Version 1 (showing the "thinking error" of having a red dot that it is switched on and at the same time seeing the Red digits in the display.
HP 10 for it the only algebraic at that time and he is just cute to look at.

From the modern ones I would take a 65, a 27 and ofcourse a fully loade HP41CX with quite some things hooked up by the IL loop, maybe drive the 3468 multimeter via the HP41 to measure the charging current to a HP92 ?




Hmmm, I could imagine two interesting subsets: (1) The calcs which presents relevant innovations (first scientific, first programmable and so on) and (2) visually different models. The latter seems to be the worser choice to HP calc fans at first look. But then I'm sure a lot of visitors would enjoy the varity of styles, especially if they are HP illiterate.

Just my 2 cents,


P.S.: Don't foget to take some picture (and post the link here:)!


Explanatory cards, large print, nicely designed, with no more than 25 words per model, are essential.

"1st Programmable Pocket Calculator"
"1st Pocket Calculator with external memory storage"


Just my tuppence


I agree on the '35 with its LEDs. In addition, if you have a 9100 series, put it next to the '35 - to show the evolution in size, with comparable capabilities, in just a few years. Also, stress (and perhaps even show by opening it up) that the guts of the 9100 had no integrated circuits.


Congratulations! When? Where exactly?

I would suggest major technology break-throughs, and also some special models (the blue one, see-through-models). Comparison charts could be interesting as well (e.g. speed, functions, etc. also compared to PCs.)

What about a small competition?

If it should be educational, peraps something about accuracy of computations.

Best regards


Well, if you'll have "some vitrines", then you can show the different calculator lines (Classics, Woodstocks, etc.). To keep it simple and avoid confusion, you can limit your exhibition to the RPN and RPL models. Other calcs are plenty, but this logic is really something special. So you can prepare some explanatory material and let people play with 2 or 3 HP21 connected to their chargers (providing some kind of locking to keep diffusion rate low).

If your shelf space is very limited, then I propose to show the models 9100 (any), 35, 45, 65, 25C, 34C, 41 (any), 15C, 28C, 42S, 48SX, and 48GX with their dates of production and some very schematic, clear info about their features and/or their relative computing power versus costs.

Just my 0,02 sfr.


Secondly I want to show some of the calculators in daily work, so that the people can touch and use them...

If theft is not a concern (e.g., security cable or housing present), I would recommend the following models to cover the "handheld era":

  • HP-35 (any)
  • HP-67
  • HP-41CX with peripherals
  • HP-15C (or -16C) and HP-12C, side-by-side
  • HP-42S and HP-17BII, side-by-side
  • HP-48SX or HP-48GX
  • HP-49G+ (??)

This display would cover the the following:

  • LED era from inception to completion
  • Revolutionary "PC predecessor" 41
  • Both fine RPN lines from the 1980's, scientific and business
  • RPL calculator/data collector
  • The outsourced present

Intermediate models (such as Spices and ordinary Woodstocks) and ill-conceived models (e.g., HP-28C) need not be displayed, IMO.




When you say "outsourced present," do you mean outsourced from Singapore? I thought that the Singapore factory was the first placed it was outsourced from the USA.

There are a lot of great ideas here on this thread and the opportunity sounds very exciting. In my personal collection, I don't have all of the models, but I'm trying to have all the models that had something special (e.g., the 55 was the first model to have a built-in timer / stopwatch feature). The other Classic I have is the 35. The Woodstocks are special because they got EVEN SMALLER during a time that we didn't think it was possible. Remember, this is one reason why the original 35 became so popular was the progression of techonolgy in a device so small. I have a 22 and 25 (business & scientific), but you may want to display a 25C or 29C to demonstrate size and continuous memory. For the Spice family, you should probably omit it, but instead, display a 19C if you have one, to show the different cosmetics but at the same time the printing capability, which was pretty important back then for many users. You may also want to show a Topcat, but this is optional. Next, your 41 series where HP is getting really serious with the peripherals, and your Voyagers (like someone else mentioned, 12C, 15C, & 16C to show the diversity of this platform to cater to all professionals). A 17BII and 42S for the Pioneers, anything from the Champions because they're unlike anything HP had done before, and a 48 series (e.g., GX with some cards and your printer). Next, something from China, like the current offerings: 12CP, 33S, 49G+. I forgot to mention, but start with a big iron 9800-series and maybe a sliderule (something pre-calculator era). I would not allow anything to be touched unless you have a backup. Don't set out your only mint condition 67 or 41CX for someone to casually scratch the display, etc. The name, year it was released, and a couple of sentences (no more) to highlight it's uniqueness. Don't forget to list a few links for folk to find more info on HP calculators.

Edited: 13 Jan 2006, 8:10 a.m.


(...)display a 19C if you have one
I would not allow anything to be touched unless you have a backup
your only mint condition 67 or 41CX


Sorry Stephen: you obviously don't know Matthias



Hi Massimo

Good joke, yes!

I thought about shwing some series in vitrines: classics, Woodstock, Spice, Sting, Voyager, Pioneer, Clameshell and Chamion Serie.
Second I want to presend the HP-IL interface: HP-41 / HP-71 with some acessories... Someone want´s to send me his Mountain EPROM burner?


Hi Matthias,
unfortunately I cannot help you with the burner.
BTW, when and where will this show take place?
Maybe I could pay a visit if time permits.




The museum´s night is on the 27th of january. If you don´t know Basel, then it´s very recommented to come here for this weekend. I will be in a shool where a computer museum is shown. Further informations I can give you, when you really decide to come.



Good idea. I remember there are some HP's (inclding the 41) at the Science Museum in London. Also show your mechanical calculator and slide rules to show progress in technology.



How about also having a PC with an internet connection that is set to this website for folks to look around on. It is a computer museum after all.

That way, people can see alot of different models and the vibrant community of people who appreciate this technology in addition to seeing some first hand.


IMHO this is a fabulous idea, as it would allow people to get more information on any of the models that MW is willing to share with the broader public. (loved the comment from Massimo btw...)




Hi Matthias,

I would exhibit at least the following models with some short explanation

HP-35, 1st version since it is the 1st scientific handheld that started the whole thing.

HP-80 as the 1st financial handheld.

HP-65, being the 1st programmable. Some reference to the apollo-soyoez mission would be interesting as well.

HP-91/97, just as interesting models. The desktop nature of it is hardly seen nowadays.

HP-2X, just as a representative of the woodstock series with emphasis on the small size.

HP-41 (any version(C/CV/CX)) with peripherals. Reference to the space-shuttle program would also add something extra.

HP-34C representing the spice series, innovative due to root finder and numerical integration capabilities.

HP-12C being the most long living model until now (introduced in 1981 and still in production). A monument to HP's craftsmenship.

HP-15C representing the (scientific) voyager models, innovative due to matrix calculation and complex number handling.

HP-28C because of its peculiar book-like design and the large display

HP-42S representing the pioneers series.

HP-48 (any version) as an interesting, long lasting model (an S- and a G-series model would be nice)

Some reference to RPN on a small poster would be illustrative for the special character of the HP calculators throughout the years.

good luck


Maybe it's simply because they're the core of my small collection, but I think the fact that one can record a program on a 67, then load & run it on a 97 (& vice-versa) is way-cool geek stuff.

If you expect that magnetic cards might be a part of your demonstrations, then by all means include a group of compatible siblings & show how well they get along.


Maybe it's simply because they're the core of my small collection, but I think the fact that one can record a program on a 67, then load & run it on a 97 (& vice-versa) is way-cool geek stuff.

Good idea!
And don't forget to pass them through a 41 too; just to give those algorithms another 10+ years of life...



This is justa reminder:

Today is the Museumsnacht in Basel, Switzerland: 18h-2.00h
I will presend a lot of calculators and equipment stuff.



Don't forget to take some pictures and publish them in this forum. It's a pity I can't be in Basel tonight. d:-(

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