Hewlett-Packard 12C  
Written by Accutron on 2016-04-09  

Manufactured continuously since 1981, the Hewlett-Packard 12C programmable financial calculator is HP's best selling and longest lived product. The HP-12C has been produced in no less than eight distinct hardware variations, all of which are nearly identical in outward appearance. Earlier examples use a variant of HP's proprietary silicon-on-sapphire 'Nut' processor, while later examples run a Nut emulator on an ARM processor. HP's Nut architecture was first used in the HP-41C, and later in HP's Voyager series of calculators, which includes the HP-10C, HP-11C, HP-12C, HP-15C and HP-16C. All Voyager calculators share the same basic architecture and landscape form factor, but all models other than the 12C were discontinued in the 1980s (with the exception of the 15C, which received a brief limited edition re-release in 2011.)

Despite the fact that any number of devices surpass it in terms of features and performance, the relatively antiquated HP-12C has achieved legendary status among financial professionals, and remains the undisputed standard of calculation in the world of high finance. The 12C is also one of only four calculators permitted on the Chartered Financial Analyst exams.


Hewlett-Packard 12C programmable financial calculator, serial number 3406S07930, 1994 Singapore production. HP-12Cs from this period are equipped with a 1LQ9-0322 Nut processor with integrated RAM and ROM. Earlier variants have a discrete RAM/ROM chip, separate from the Nut CPU.


12C calculator, rear panel.


HP Personal Calculator Production Timeline (1972-2003)

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

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