The Dawn of Personal Computing

The Dawn of Personal Computing refers to that period when complete computers became available to individuals on an exclusive basis. Aside from the benefits of applying computing resources to more and more fields of work, this led to an explosion in the number of people who had intimate knowledge of computers, how they worked and what they could do. Computers were no longer the preserve of a technical elite, and a community of computer enthusiasts could begin to develop.

Two developments in the early 1970s ushered in the dawn age for personal computing:

  • First was the development of the microprocessor, which in turn led to the introduction of small business computers and dedicated hobbyist home computer systems. Small business computers brought a professional style of hardware and software to individual users while the home computers of the 1970s allowed enthusiasts to gain a close understanding of the design and construction of microprocessor based systems.

  • Second was the movement of obsolete 1960s-70s computer hardware into the hands of schools and enthusiasts. This allowed the recipients to gain experience and knowledge of professionally engineered hardware and software.

This site presents a somewhat random group of machines that illustrate various aspects of the dawn of personal computing. Some are early microprocessor based business and personal systems while others are business systems that found a second life in the hands of persoal users. All illustrate the types of hardware and software that early personal computer enthusiasts were using.