Model: HP 41CV
Type: Programmable scientific calculator
Pictures: HP 41CV HP 41CV with card reader
Batteries: Type N x 3
Lifetime: Introduced: 1980
Terminated: 1990
Notes: The HP 41 series must be the top-of-the-bill calculator design of all time. It’s the successor to the HP 67. Even today this calculator is still totally up-to-date and usable. It’s my all-time favourite model of calculators. A thing of beauty, as well as on the outside as on the inside.

HP 41 CV Cat There is, in fact, a fully operational HP 41CV on desk at work. I still use it. This particular HP 41CV has the 82104A card reader extension with makes the calculator look even better. When I press the "ALPHA"-key the first three letters of my girlfriend’s name are shown using the "C", the small "a" and the "≤". The latter looks just like a lower-case "t". The picture above featuring the card reader is the one on my desk. The HP 41 design is already stunning. Beautiful lines and a really nice wedge form. Usually attaching stuff to calculators spoils their form, but the card reader attached to the HP 41 fits so perfectly it actually amplifies its aesthetics.

The HP 41C (which was introduced in 1979) was probably the first alphanumeric handheld calculator ever. It was far before dot-matrix LCD’s existed, and it uses a clever display using 14 segments.

The HP 41CV is basically the same as the HP-41C but with 5 times the memory (319 registers, almost 2 kB). I suspect the V in HP 41CV is there to indicate that number 5.

Programming this calculator is more difficult than necessary however (at least compared to more modern programmable calculators, but at the time the programming of the HP 41 was a huge step forward). It’s therefore not my favourite of programmable calculators (that is the CASIO FX-602P if you want to know).

The HP 41 series calculators have had a very long lifetime. The range of peripherals is also amazing.

For more information on this beauty please refer to the better sources, like The Museum of HP Calculators (link valid 2024-01-13).


There many peripherals available for this calculator.

The HP 41CV has four easily accessible extension slots which can be used for ROM modules, a clock module, a HP-IL connection, card reader, printer, even an HP 67 compatible card reader which translates HP 67 programs to HP 41 programs on the fly. The only peripherals I own myself are the HP 82143A Peripheral Printer and the 82104A Card Reader.