Model: HP 65
Type: Programmable scientific calculator with built-in card reader
Picture: HP 65
Batteries: Battery pack
Lifetime: Introduced: 1974
Terminated: 1977
Notes: This calculator amazes me even today. This is HEWLETT PACKARD's very first hand held programmable calculator. And not just that, I feel this calculator defines every programmable calculator to come after it.

Where it not for its LED display and volatile memory this calculator would still stand a good chance today (2001). It has (almost) everything one needs.

It's almost magical. Or am I getting carried away? Remember the early seventies? Before the personal computer, HP created a beautiful programmable hand held device. Some people claim it all started with the TI-59, but I'm certain that they are wrong. This is the one that started it all.

Because the calculator's memory is volatile, this calculator contains a card reader/writer. All kinds of programs were available on little magnetic memory cards (one is visible on the picture, half sticking out), and user programs could be stored on write enable cards.

Of course this calculator has its drawbacks. Editing a program is a pain, there are three shift-keys and it's power hungry (although not extremely so).

And what I admire so much in the older HP calculators is their robustness, today (2023) the card reader still works perfectly. All keys operate flawlessly, the only thing that has died is the battery pack.

For more information on this beauty please refer to the better sources, like The Museum of HP Calculators (link valid 2022-12-30). There's simply too much to tell about this one.

There's also some information on the HP 65 on HP's official website (link valid 2022-12-30).

The Hewlett-Packard Company Archives site also has some information on this calculator, see A Superstar Product: The HP 65 Calculator (link valid 2023-01-07).

It's successor (much later on, in 1976) is the HP 67.

Thanks Jos van Eindhoven and Arij Dekker for their contributions.