Altair 8800b computer system, 1977-1982

Made:
1977-1982 in United States

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Altair 8800b Working System, made by Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS), United States, 1977-1982.

The Altair was widely acknowledged as the first home computer kit. It was developed by Ed Roberts, an American electronics enthusiast who had founded a company called Model Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS), originally to sell calculator kits. He was able to source Intel 8080 microchips to power the computer kits for just $75, when the standard retail price was $350, meaning that the kit could be sold for less that $400. Roberts expected to sell a few hundred build-it-yourself kits to dedicated hobbyists, but thousands of kits were bought in the first month. The front switch Altair system was never sold in the UK - this computer was imported from the US by the Head of Technology at a Secondary school in Kent in the late 1970s.

Details

Category:
Computing & Data Processing
Object Number:
2014-41
Materials:
aluminium (metal), copper (alloy), electronic components, fibreglass, metal (unknown), plastic (unidentified), rubber (unidentified) and steel (metal)
type:
personal computer
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • computer
credit:
Donated by Leigh Academy Trust