Sharp EL-8M  
Written by Accutron on 2016-04-03  

Introduced in 1971, the EL-8M is a memory-equipped version of the world's first commercially manufactured handheld electronic calculator, the EL-8 / ELSI-8. The EL-8 and EL-8M are direct descendants of Sharp's first LSI-based machines, the Micro Compet QT-8D and QT-8B portable desktop calculators. All of these early Micro Compet and ELSI calculators use a similar four-chip Rockwell LSI chipset, and feature the iconic first-generation Iseden Itron 8-segment VFD. Although these display tubes are functionally identical to a conventional 7-segment VFD, their unusual segment geometry allows for the display of more naturally shaped digits.

The EL-8M is an ideal example of the early Japan-manufactured large handheld calculator, built using relatively bulky multi-chip LSI and multi-tube displays. Within weeks of the introduction of the EL-8M, Bowmar introduced the 901B, a pocket-sized four function calculator equipped with a TI single-chip LSI and a Bowmar Opti-Stic 7-segment LED display.

Sharp EL-8M handheld four function calculator.

EL-8M, side view. By conventional handheld standards, the EL-8M is heavy and bulky.

EL-8M, internal construction.

EL-8M, LSI card.

This article is part of the [Electronic Calculators] exhibit.

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