I was remembering the robin’s egg blue TI-36 scientific calculator that I had before upgrading to the TI-82 graphing calculator. I envied those who had the newer TI-83, and the much coveted TI-83 plus, both of which played games. That's when one of the inventors of the hand-held calculator, Jerry Merryman, took to the podium at a donation ceremony at the
"Does anyone remember their first calculator?" Merryman asked his audience of curators, teachers and press.
Merryman, along with co-inventors James Van Tassel and Jack Kilby, invented the four-function, nearly three-pound personal computing device that replaced its typewriter-sized, 55-pound predecessor.
In celebration of the 40th anniversary of the 1967 original, Texas Instruments donated a TI-58 and 59, a TI-30, a TI-Navigator Classroom System and the new TI-Nspire handhelds and computer software to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
"Invention is a big part of American history," says the museum's director Brent Glass. "If you think about the history of technological education, it’s amazing what one little instrument has meant."
( Courtesy of the National Museum of American History. Above, Jerry Merryman)