Texas Instruments TI-21

Date of introduction:  1982 Display technology:  LCD
New price:   Display size:  8 (5 + 2)
Size:  6.1" x 3.0" x 0.75"
 156 x 77 x 19 mm3
Weight:  4.2 ounces, 118 grams Serial No:  84948875
Batteries:  2*AA Date of manufacture:  
AC-Adapter:   Origin of manufacture:  Taiwan
Precision:  9 Integrated circuits:  
Memories:  1    
Program steps:   Courtesy of:  Joerg Woerner

TI-21_P1.jpg (226881 Byte)We wrote the year 1980, when Texas Instruments discovered the lower labour costs of Taiwan, R.O.C. compared to US or Europe. Till the early 80s most calculators from Texas Instruments were produced either in US or Italy and some early LCD models like the TI-25 even in Japan. 

TI-21_Back.jpg (75623 Byte)Texas Instruments introduced together with this TI-21 a whole variety of calculators manufactured in Taiwan, for instance the TI-15, TI-18 and TI-1100 models. Compared with US-built calculators of that era, like the slimline model TI-30-II or the early slanted model TI-55-II, these first calculators assembled in Taiwan look and feel cheaper.

But these calculators were just the first movement of a major wave in outsourcing of manufacturing, ten years later advanced calculators like the TI-85 were assembled in Taiwan and the lower-end models either in Thailand or China. Since about 2002 all Texas Instruments calculators are manufactured in different plants in China.

The TI-21 itself is nothing unusual, at first glance it looks more like an early Casio product than a TI calculator. Dismantling the calculator reveals a very simple construction but doesn't answers the question about its manufacturer.


If you have additions to the above article please email:

Joerg Woerner, December 5, 2001. No reprints without written permission.