Mathematical Treasure: Hewlett-Packard HP-28S Handheld Electronic Calculator from the AMS Centennial Meeting

Peggy A. Kidwell (National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution)

Hewlett-Packard HP-28S Handheld Electronic Calculator from the Centennial Meeting of the AMS

HP28S Handheld Electronic Calculator, Smithsonian Negative DOR2014-05134

By 1988, when Harvard professor of mathematics Andrew Gleason obtained this instrument at the banquet for the Centennial meeting of the American Mathematical Society, electronic calculators had transformed the way people did arithmetic and statistics. Slide rules, adding machines and calculating machines had all been displaced. This Hewlett-Packard calculator, like a few other contemporary machines, could graph functions as well as do arithmetic. Powerful programmable graphing calculators would become common in the mathematics classroom, and Gleason worked with others to produce curricula suited to the new technology.

To find out more about several hundred handheld electronic calculators in the collections of the National Museum of American History, see

Index of Mathematical Treasures

Index of Mathematical Objects