Aviva Directory » Computers & Internet » Systems & Hardware » Computer Systems » Vintage Computers

Simply speaking, a vintage computer is one that represents an earlier era of computing.

For the purpose of categorization, this category, and any of its subcategories, are reserved for those of computer companies that are no longer in business, or which are no longer manufacturing computers.

Early computers from contemporary computer manufacturers for which we have a category, such as Apple, will be listed within the category representing the company, or as a subcategory of that category.

Personal computers have been on the market since around 1976 and, in the more than forty years that they have been around, computer technology has changed significantly, leaving many beloved computers in obsolescence. However, a subculture of vintage computer collectors and enthusiasts have grown up around several of these early computers, some who are devoted to one particular type of computer, such as the Apple II or the Commodore 64, while others may collect computers from a particular era.

While many of these are pure collectors, who display these computers in their homes and at vintage computer shows, others continue to use these old computers, even to the point of upgrading and extending them for uses that they were never intended for, such as developing Ethernet interfaces for vintage 8-bit machines, allowing connectivity to the Internet. Others use vintage computers to operated computer bulletin board systems (BBSs), many of which are still in operation.

Most vintage hobbyists collect computers made after 1960, although there are also collections of pre-1960 computers. A full list of vintage computers would be exhaustive, and some would probably still be missing, as the computer revolution was not limited to any one country or continent.

These may include the Magnavox Odyssey, released in 1972, although it was designed with no sound, and could display only one vertical line, along with three square dots shown in white against a black background. Essentially, the Odyssey was the first Pong machine, although before its discontinuation in 1975, twenty-eight games were available for it.

The Altair 8800, created by Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS) in 1974, and released in 1975, is credited with starting the microcomputer revolution, as it was the first commercially successful personal computer.

Not as well known, the Sol-20 was developed by Processor Technology in 1976 and was the first to ship with a case that included a keyboard, a feature that was later copied in several subsequent computers.

The Atari Video Computer System (Atari VCS) is a home video game console and computer from Atari. Its line was sold from 1977 to 1992.

The Commodore PET is a line of home computers produced by Commodore International from 1977 to 1982. Intended to be more affordable, the Commodore VIC-20 was distributed from 1980 to 1985. Its more successful model, however, was the Commodore 64. Sold between 1982 to 1994, the C64 was the highest-selling single computer model of all time.

Among the most collectible computers are those produced by Apple, such as the Apple I, the Apple II, and the Macintosh. The Apple II may have been the first computer commonly used as a gaming computer, although it also served as a general-purpose computer.

While slow to get into the PC market, IBM became the standard for personal computers, which are defined as being IBM-compatible. Its early computers included the IBM 1130, the 5100, and its PC series. The high price being asked for IBM computers, combined with a flurry of activity from manufacturers producing much cheaper IBM clones, contributed to the failure of IBM to compete in the PC market.

In Britain, the Acorn BBC Micro was popular in the 1980s, as was its successor, the Archimedes series.

Other popular vintage computers were produced by Tandy/Radio Shack and included the TRS-80 and the Tandy 1000, which helped Tandy achieve a twenty-five percent PC market in 1986, tied with Apple and in second place behind IBM.

The Coleco Adam was produced by ColecoVision from 1983 to 1985. Although it was not on the market long, it is one of the more collectible computers, and was the first of many computers that I have had.

There were many others, including some that may have made contributions more significant than some of those that I have listed here. Regardless of the manufacturer or system, vintage computers are the focus of this category, or any subcategories.


@History of Computers

@Vintage Apple Computers

Acorn Computers

Amstrad Computers

Atari Computers

Coleco Adam

Commodore Computers

MITS Altair 8800

Sinclair Computers

Tandy/Radio Shack Computers



Recommended Resources

Search for Vintage Computers on Google or Bing