Personal Computers

C. Gordon Bell is considered by most as the father of distributed processing and the minicomputer. Gordon is also one of the founders of The Computer Museum in Boston, MA (, which is now the Computer History Museum in Mt. View, CA ( The idea for this timeline was created by Gordon, Sheridan Sinclaire-Bell, and Gordon's assistant, Victoria Rozycki. Vicki also researched and populated the entries. The intent of the timeline was to provide a one-stop-shop for access to historical information on the fascinating birth and growth of the personal computer industry. Sources used to create the timeline were found on the Internet. ;xNLx;

1962-01-03 00:00:00


The LINC (Laboratory INstrument Computer) was developed specifically for biomedical research under grants from the National Institutes of Health. It was designed at MIT and eventually built by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) and Spear Inc. of Waltham, Massachusetts.

1966-01-01 00:00:00


The LINC-8 was based on a previous design from Lincoln Labs to penetrate the emerging biomedical computer market. The computer incorporated both the LINC (Laboratory Instrument Computer) processor and the PDP-8 processor unit.

1966-01-01 00:00:00

Echo IV

The "Electronic Computing Home Operator," was a home automation system, hand-crafted with surplus electronic parts and enclosed in oiled-walnut wooden cabinetry, that computerized many of the household chores formerly undertaken by Mrs. Sutherland.

1970-06-01 00:00:00

Datapoint 2200, Type 2 2200, 5500, 1100, 6600, 3800/1800, 8800

Computer Terminal Corporation (CTC) A mass-produced programmable terminal, presented as a versatile and cost-efficient terminal for connecting to a wide variety of mainframes by loading various terminal emulations from tape rather than being hardwired as most contemporary terminals.

1971-01-01 00:00:00


The stored program, automatically sequenced computer Kenbak-1 was considered by some people to be the first commercially available personal computer in the world.

1972-01-01 00:00:00

Intel SIM8-01

Built around the Intel 8008 CPU, it inspired many of the early computers.

1973-01-01 00:00:00

Scelbi 8H, 8B

The SCELBI (SCientic-ELectronics-BIological) was arguably the first commercially available micro-computer marketed toward hobbyists.

1973-01-01 00:00:00

Micral Models N, D, G, S, M, CZ, C, V Portable, 9020

Micral is a series of microcomputers produced by the French company Réalisation d'Études Électroniques (R2E).

1973-03-01 00:00:00

Alto I, II

The Alto was the first computer to use a desktop metaphor and was one of the first with a mouse-driven graphical user interface (GUI).

1973-05-01 00:00:00

Wang 2200 A/B/C/S/T/CS

Wang. The most identifiable Wang minicomputer performing recognizable data processing.

1973-07-01 00:00:00

IMSAI 8080, Series Two

A clone of its main competitor, the earlier MITS Altair 8800.

1974-01-01 00:00:00

Loren Jacobson

Homebrew 16-bit processor based on small scale and medium scale TTL integrated circuits.

1974-01-01 00:00:00


The Mark-8 Minicomputer was the third microprocessor based computer ever made available to the public, second in America, and the first to grace the cover of a popular magazine.

1975-01-01 00:00:00

Sphere I

The Sphere contributed to both the specs and design of future generations of hardware.

1975-01-01 00:00:00


General purpose microcomputer kit

1975-01-01 00:00:00

Altair 8800A, 8800B

A microcomputer based on the Intel 8080 CPU and featured on the cover of the January 1975 issue of Popular Electronics, and was sold by mail order through advertisements there, in Radio-Electronics, and in other hobbyist magazines.

1975-01-01 00:00:00

Jupiter II, IIA, Jupiter III, IIIA

Computer kit which could interface with a TV for use as a monitor.

1975-01-01 00:00:00

Jolt, Super Jolt

Jolt was the first 6502 one board computer.

1975-01-01 00:00:00

Digital Group System, 3, 4, Mini ByteMaster

DG computers were among the most advanced microcomputer systems available at the time. They offered users a choice of CPU's that enabled upgrading or swapping processors to run software written for any of the four most popular processors available at the time.

1975-01-01 00:00:00

Mike 203, 303A

The Mike 2 was a bare-bones system – just the CPU board with a 20-key keypad and a seven-digit display. The Mike series was for hobbyists looking for an inexpensive entry-level system.

1975-01-01 00:00:00

IBM 5100

IBM's first production personal computer (six years before the PC).

1975-06-01 00:00:00

Wang 2200 WCS Family - 10, 20, 30, 40, 15

Wang's offering of standardized sets of CPUs, peripherals, and software, aimed at the business and commercial customers.

1975-11-01 00:00:00

SWTPC 6800, 6809

The first computer system sold by SWTPC.

1976-01-01 00:00:00


KIM-1, short for Keyboard Input Monitor, was a small single board computer very successful in its time because of its low price and easy-access expandability.

1976-01-01 00:00:00

TK-80, TK-80BS

A Japanesr training kit first aimed at technicians, but met great success with computer hobbyists.

1976-01-01 00:00:00

Cromenco Z Series - Z-1, Z-2, Z-2D, Z-2H

Originally available in assembled or kit form to serve both a commercial market and the computer enthusiast market. Later the machines were only available factory-assembled.

1976-01-01 00:00:00

Homebrew Logic Analyzer

Object has eight boards which are slotted into the base.

1976-01-01 00:00:00

Poly-88, Systems 0, 1, 2, 3 ,4, 7, 16

The POLY 88 was a S-100 bus based computer sold in kit or assembled versions.

1976-01-01 00:00:00

Intercept Jr.

A completely assembled microcomputer billed as a tutorial trainer which taught the basics of microprocessors.

1976-01-01 00:00:00

Altair 680, 680B, 680B Turnkey

An attempt to offer a new system based on the well known Motorola 6800 processor. The computer was available in kit or assembled form.

1976-01-01 00:00:00

EPA Micro-68

A complete, ready-to-use microprocessor designed for both scientific application and industrial usage.

1976-03-24 00:00:00

Wang 2200 PCS, Wang 2200WS, 2200 PCS-II

PCS stood for Personal Computer System. Although it looked very much like the standard Wang 2220 and 2226 terminals, the CPU and some common peripheral controllers were repackaged to fit into the terminal housing, getting rid of the ungainly metal "suitcase."

1976-04-11 00:00:00

Apple Computer I (aka Apple I)

Unlike other hobbyist computers of its day, which were sold as kits, the Apple I was a fully assembled circuit board containing about 60+ chips.

1976-11-01 00:00:00


Introduced in the pages of the Popular Electronics magazine, the COSMAC ELF was conceived as a hobbyist computer, as bare-bones as any of the day.

1976-12-01 00:00:00


One of the first personal computers with a built-in keyboard. The Sol-20 was considered very stylish because of its walnut side panels.

1977-01-01 00:00:00

PolyMorphic System 8813, 8810

PolyMorphic's disk-based system. The System 8813 had as many as three floppy disk drives, each holding 90K bytes, about the equivalent of a three-page PDF file today.

1977-01-01 00:00:00

Micro Star or The Small One

One of the first portable computers.

1977-01-01 00:00:00

TRS-80 Model 1, Model III, Model 4

Until 1982, the TRS-80 was the best-selling PC line, outselling the Apple II series by a factor of 5 according to one analysis.

1977-01-01 00:00:00

microNOVA, microVOVA MP/100, MP/200

The microNOVA was a single-chip implementations of Data General's earlier Nova.

1977-01-01 00:00:00

Heathkit H8

Influential hobbyist computer sold in kit form for assembly by the purchaser.

1977-01-10 00:00:00

HP 9845 Series

The first in a famous line of workstation systems developed by Hewlett Packard.

1977-03-01 00:00:00

MK14 (Microcomputer Kit 14)

Science of Cambridge LTD (later Sinclair) The MK14 is a kit of parts assembled by the user to form a minimum cost computer. It comprises in miniature the essential elements common to all computer systems..

1977-06-10 00:00:00

Apple II

The first model in a series of computers which were produced until Apple IIe production ceased in November 1993.

1977-06-10 00:00:00

Terak 8510, 8512

The Terak was based on the popular PDP-11/03 processor and was advertised as a "Graphic Computer System."

1977-10-01 00:00:00


A popular 8-bit S-100 bus computer that was one of the first to offer floppy drives.

1977-10-01 00:00:00

Commodore PET (Personal Electronic Transactor)

A top-seller in the Canadian and United States educational markets, it was Commodore's first full-featured computer, and formed the basis for their entire 8-bit product line.

1978-01-01 00:00:00

PeCos One

A "Compact Home Computer", the PeCos One (an acronym for Personal Computing System) was a self-contained unit with two built-in tape drives and an external monitor. Its main language is PeCos I, a derivative of Rand Corporation's JOSS language.

1978-01-01 00:00:00

HP 9835 series A/B

A lower-cost version of the HP 9845 computers.

1978-01-01 00:00:00

Heathkit H-11

An early kit-format personal computer which was essentially a Digital Equipment PDP-11 in a small-form-factor case.

1978-01-01 00:00:00

Wave Mate Bullet, Super Bullet

A Z80 single-board computer.

Personal Computers

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