Western Auto electronic Wizard aka M4995

Date of introduction:  1973 Display technology:  LED-stick w/o lens
New price:  $34.95 Display size:  8
Size:  5.7" x 3.1" x 1.6"
 146 x 79 x 41 mm3
Weight:  5.6 ounces, 159 grams Serial No:  0004916
Batteries:  4*AA  Date of manufacture:  wk 18 year 1974
AC-Adapter:  AC9160 Origin of manufacture:  USA
Precision:  8 Integrated circuits:  TMS0128
Program steps:   Courtesy of:  Joerg Woerner

Western Auto Supply Company was started in 1909 in Kansas City, Missouri by George Pepperdine as mail order business for replacement auto parts. The first retail store was established in 1921, and grew quickly as automobiles became more and more common. By the end of the 1950s Western Auto was very much like a Sears store, even equipped with a Catalog Order Center. Auto Parts comprised only a small percentage of the company's sales by the mid-1960s and had all but disappeared by the 1970s.

Western Auto began in 1973 distributing portable electronic calculators manufactured by Texas Instruments under their own branding with a prominent "electronic Wizard" logo. This M4995 "electronic Wizard" is a close relative of the Montgomery Ward P8P a.k.a. TXI-8645A with the unusual [-=] and [+=] keys but misses the sliding switch to select between floating [F] or [2] or [4] decimal places for the answer.

Dismantling the featured M4995 with Date code 184 and manufactured in April 1974 in Texas reveals a printed circuit board (PCB) 100% identical with the Montgomery Ward P8P despite the missing switch next to the [%] key.

The TMS0128 located in this rare electronic Wizard introduced in Fall 1973 traces back to the TMS0102 "calculator-on-a-chip" announced two years earlier by Texas Instruments. We know the TMS0128 already from the Canon LE-82.

Texas Instruments ceased manufacturing of the Montgomery Ward P8F, P8M, P8P and this Western Auto M4995 in Summer 1974 and both companies introduced calculators based on the Exactra 23 named P100 and M4993, respectively. 


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Joerg Woerner, February 2, 2012. No reprints without written permission.