Other Early PCs

There are slides devoted to this topic: Lecture 12a, pp. 21-39.


Read all about hobbyist kit computers at the Computer History Museum.

Head over to the Personal Computer directory on the History of Computers site to link to information on early PCs from the Dynabook to the Macintosh.

PC History is a site devoted entirely to pre-IBM PC personal computers.

Read “1960s and Beyond: The Advent of Personal Computing,” on Lexikon’s History of Computing. The article offers an overview of PCs, spanning from the 1960s and Xerox PARC to the 1990s and the Internet.


This commercial for the Xerox ALTO system shows just how far ahead of its time this computer system was.

This 80-minute discussion of the Xerox ALTO is fairly informal, featuring a number of different PARC alums recalling their time working on the ALTO. It is a fascinating look into the intellectual and technological development of this ingenious computer.

In this 100 minute lecture arranged for the 50th anniversary of the Dynabook, Alan Kay speaks on scientists, writers, psychologists, and other thinkers in the 50s and 60s who anticipated and modelled the shift to personal, dynamic computing. He explains  how these people and their inventions helped him to dream up the revolutionary Dynabook concept. Next, Charles Thacker and Mary Lou Jepson – the co-inventors of Ethernet and the designer of One Laptop Per Child, respectively – talk about modern opportunities and challenges of laptop technologies, especially with regard to children and education.

Watch this 90-minute video arranged for the Commodore 64’s 25th anniversary in which Jack Tramiel, the founder of Commodore, discusses early PCs with Steve Wozniak and an IBM PC team member. They cover lots of ground related to the early years of the PC business, and take (sometimes odd) audience questions. Look out for when the barbs start flying between Wozniak and the Tramiel, as they discuss the reasons one company was successful while the other was not.