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The HP-12C Financial
	Programmable Calculator

The Hewlett-Packard HP-12C is a sophisticated financial programmable calculator (click here to see our fully functional online version) that has become the world's standard business calculator. First lauched by Hewlett-Packard in 1981, it is still sold today as part of the HP Voyager series of calculators and is their longest-selling calculator.

This remarkable longevity is due to a number of innovative features:

  1. It uses RPN (Reverse Polish Notation) for data entry (which removes the need for an Equals key) instead of the traditional algebraic entry (which uses an Equals key like a traditional calculator). This improves speed of use by saving keystrokes and increases mathematical and computational efficiency.
  2. In addition to the normal calculator features, it offers many business-specific functions such as loan payment calculations, depreciation, amortizing interest and date arithmetic.
  3. Unlike most earlier calculators, it has 99 lines of programmable memory.
  4. When using programming mode, it is very intuitive and works more like a computer than a calculator.
  5. HP cleverly enhanced the "computer feel" and usability of the calculator by giving it a horizontal shape. Their research showed that many users thought a vertical shape felt like "calculator" while a horizontal shape felt like a "computer".
  6. The calculator was manufactured in black and gold tones which gave it a sense of luxury and prestige and increased its appeal.
  7. It is very robust and can handle being dropped onto a concrete floor.
  8. It has long battery life.

Clearly, this calculator is iconic and is possibly the only electronic product to survive in constant use over so many decades.

If you need instructions or more information about using this calculator, please click here.

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Last modified: Saturday, October 23, 2021.