This site, which documents the history of pre-IBM PCs, is a tribute to the work of Stan Veit, a pioneer of personal computing.
The core of the site, everything apart from the timeline pages below, was created by Stan between 1999 and 2002. It is now being preserved, for the enjoyment of future generations.
PC-History.Org is the centerpiece of a growing hub of historical information on computing related topics. These gradually will be added to over time. For your enjoyment, we are pleased to bring you the history of....
The PC Virus
MITS ALTAIR 8800-The
start of it all
|The MITS Altair was the first
8080 based kit microcomputer. It was first introduced in the January, 1975 issue of
Popular Electronics magazine as a construction project. The reaction to the Altair
was un-expected by either the magazine or by MITS who designed it. Although not the
first available microcomputer , it was the start of the industry.
IMSAI -8080 The micro-computer that was
more than a toy
|The Imsai 8080 developed by IMS Associates, was designed to use the
same bus structure as the Altair 8800 with interchangeable circuit boards. The Imsai 8080
however was much better built, had a more powerful power supply, and front panel. It
supplanted the Altair A model as the standard S-100 Bus computer. The Imsai was the
first for a complete line of micros built by this company.
Southwest Tech 6800- The kit builders favorite
|The M6800 Computer kit from South West Technical Products Company
used the Motorola 6800 processor and the SS-50 bus structure. Much less expensive
than the S-100 bus computers and much simpler to build, the M6800 became very popular. In
addition SWTPC provided a complete family of peripherals kits at very low cost. The
software for the M6800 was excellent and very inexpensive.
The SOL-First 8080 Desktop microcomputer
|Processor Technology company designed and sold a full line of boards
for the S-100 computers. In 1977 they designed the SOL Computer which used most of
their circuit boards. The SOL had a video terminal built-in, only requiring a video
monitor. In a very attractive case with walnut wood sides, the SOL became a very popular
computer that influenced the design of future computers. Pro. Tech did not provide a
low cost floppy disk system so users turned to North Star for their disk storage.
Apple II The micro that
made it into business and homes .
|The Apple II was the first true"personal computer"
it was factory built, in-expensive and easy to learn and use. Provided with the most
extensive set of software and low cost floppy disks, the Apple II was also the first
personal computer capable of color graphics and easy modem operation.. Development
of the Visicalc spreadsheet program created a business tool that made adoption of
Apple II a regular part of business.
TRS-80 (Trash 80), The most popular home
Shack's TRS-80 selling for about $500 complete with video monitor and BASIC took the
personal computer market by storm. Using a fast Z-80 processor it use a cassette
recorder for program and data storage. Later models incorporated disk drives and more
memory. the Model III, housed in one case became the most popular personal computer in
schools and homes rivaling the Apple II. Radio Shack also built other types of
personal computers including the first practical laptop, the Model 100.
Atari 800- The machine that won the color graphics race
|The Atari Models 400 and 800 were considered the best personal
computers for games and color graphics. They had a very large family of game software, but
not much business software. Lack of good disk and peripheral support cased these
machines to have a short life.
Commodore 64- Breaking the price barrier
The Commodore 64 was the best-selling personal computer of all
time. It had a large memory capacity, low cost floppy disks and peripherals and color
graphics. It could use a TV for a monitor and there was all the software anyone could
want. Commodore in a price war with Texas Instruments, reduced the prices of
the C-64 as low as $260 and more of them were sold than any computer in history.
Texas Instruments TI 99-4
|The Texas Instruments 99-4A used a TI 16-bit processor and was an
excellent graphics computer. It lacked easy expansion capabilities and required
engaging in a price war with Commodore, TI stopped production and sold out below $100 per
Heath- Desktop with built-in floppy and monitor
|The Heath Desktop was one of the first computers designed as
complete desktop machines including monitor, floppy disks and keyboard. Heath made a full
line of computers and was later bought by Zenith.
Morrow- Powerful S-100 Z80 Computer using CP/M
|The Morrow computer was one of last powerful Z-80 powered
S-100 computers. Representative of the designs supplanted by the IBM PC, this machine was
sold as a complete system including a video terminal and printer.
It ran the CP/M operating system and the MP/M multi-user operating
The Morrow Company was a leading supplier of disk systems
for CP/M computers.
INFORMATION & LINKS
See our growing collection of other interesting photographs: here
Pre-IBM PCs: Including Ohio Scientific and The
Software: The Birth of PC Software
(including 'The Rise of "Killer" Apps)
Other PC History & Museum Sites Links: We have recently added an external Links
This site is under construction by Stan Veit and the PC
History Association. Stan Veit will make his vast collection available on the net and
provide a site for learning about antique computers. Your comments and
contributions are most welcome. The site will grow into a resource for all interested in
computer history. Note: we will not publish arguments about which computer was the
To contact site administration: pchistory [at] pc-history . org
To contact Stan Veit: stv
[at] pc-history . org
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