July 19, 2006 at 2:44 pm | | great finds, hardware, nerd

I found a great calculator in lab today. I actually think it was from the old Pecora lab, because we took a few of their rooms. It’s a TI-1250, circa 1975. Wow!

Figure 1. A TI-1250, not a calculator from the future.

At first, I thought it was a calculator from the future: I have a new calculator, and it’s only the TI-89. But it quickly became apparent that this was an older piece of scientific equipment. You can’t tell from the picture above, but the screen is on. You can only read the display at very precise angles and the whole screen flashes every time you press a button. It has an AC adapter, so you have to be plugged into the wall if you don’t have a 9-volt battery.

The best part is on the back, where it tells you how to do math:

Figure 2. What’s the point of the calculator when they print all the answers right on the back?

And look how thick this monster is!

Figure 3. Is that a TI-1250 in your pocket? Unlikely.

Note the on-off switch on the side. I just find that amusing. Plus, check out this website, where some guy with access to an X-ray machine shows us the insides of one of these beasts.


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  1. Got me laughing out loud with that. What a beauty!

    Comment by jordan — July 19, 2006 #

  2. You laugh at the “basic math” instructions, but remember that at that time, most calculators used RPN.

    I still miss my HP-48LX. I’ve worked for both H-P and TI, and seriously, both companies suck compared to their former greatness. At least TI are still doing something useful, unlike H-P.

    Comment by Jas — October 2, 2006 #

  3. I didn’t see calculator like this… Where i can able to get it??? Is this is working in battery or solar???

    Fan of Don Lapre

    Comment by Fan of Don Lapre — December 16, 2006 #

  4. I was only asking just to see howmudh this model is now worth.
    It was bourht or me as a birthday present and I know that it
    wasn’t cheap at the time.

    Comment by Mr Bernard Pritchard. — August 31, 2009 #

  5. And look how thick this monster is!

    that’s what she said

    Comment by excimer — August 31, 2009 #

  6. Hi there,

    I was given one of these a couple weeks ago. I found its optional AC9180 power adapter on eBay today. I was about 7 years old when I had the opportunity to try a calculator for the first time. It looked similar to this as far as I remember, with the bright red stick LEDs and the sturdy buttons.

    Comment by Marc — February 9, 2010 #

  7. […] However, putting a 9-volt battery into the TI-1250 made it power up just like new!  Check out an overview here and a pretty neat x-ray photo of the calculator […]

    Pingback by One Man’s Trash… « The Basement Project — December 25, 2011 #

  8. I picked up a TI 1250 at an estate sale not long ago, for two bucks, with box and instructions. I remember that this was my first calculator, back in late 1974. This brought back memories. This calculator can bring $5-$15 on ebay, with box.

    Comment by Bill Leslie — May 21, 2014 #

  9. Someone had put a free stuff sign out and this calculator was just laying on a shelf inside its original box took the old battery and put a new one in and it powered up

    Comment by Wes — April 26, 2017 #

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