Banner Computer History Online
Computer History Online

Homepage E-Mail Feedback






 Schwäbisch Gmünd:

Mark Metzlers "pre-Altair" Lawrence Livermore Labs MCS-80

Mark Metzler hat - neben vielen anderen - einen Mikrocomputer von 1974 entdeckt. Er sucht hierzu weitere Informationen:

I discovered a unkown 8080 computer from 1974....the Lawrence Livermore Labs MCS-80. There is still a debate about whether it is 'pre-Altair'. I have not yet been able to locate its designers. Perhaps this was the first 808 machine.

You can read about what is known about it, and see some photographs on my web page:

I would appreciate any feedback you can give me! I've been collect computers for about 6 years. Originally, I was collecting everything, but started focusing on microcomputers before 1980, for practical reasons.

I go to the 'Foot Hills College electronics swap meet' regularly (near San Jose. When I saw this thing, for only $5, I decided to buy it, because it was the stangest computer I had seen. They charged me another $5 for 2 trays of circuit cards that went with it. I was a little bit unsure whether I should buy such an old piece of junk, but I hadn't found anything at all that day so, I felt like spending some money.

It sat on my shelf for about 3 years. Fortunately, the guy I bought it from sent me the orginal 'blue prints' which said '1974'. As I read widely about the first microcomputers, I became icreasingly convinced that this was a significant one, and was not yet in the computer history articles.

Having talked with John Titus (the designer of the Mark-8) last week, by phone, I am now more convinced than ever of its relative significance. He says he doubts there will be many more found from that period.

The circuit diagrams certainly pre-date the commercial sales of Altairs (january 1975), but I still don't know when the first prototype Altair was made, and I still don't know when this one was actually built. I guess its all rather academic anyway, but I'm having fun stirring up a debate amoung computer historians.

I am going to Livermore, Sunday (6.10.96), for an electronics swap meet, and I will try to talk to people there, and try to get some leads on how to get in touch with those who designed it.

Take care!

Mark Metzler,


© Copyright Computer History Online, Clemens Weller, Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany. 27.12.2012 .
Alle Farbfotos: © Copyright Clemens Weller. Letzte Änderung: 27.12.2012 .