In Pictures: Of punchcards, platters, and wooden mice. The PC's origin story

Technology marches relentlessly onward, discarding the old to make way for the new. Today’s heroes quickly becomes yesterday’s news.

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The dawn of the PC era By the early 1970s, all the pieces were in place, and a deluge of personal computers began to sweep in, each vying for the right to scream “FIRST!”

The Computer History Museum considers the $750 Kenback-1 to be the holder of that particular title. Packing 8 bits of fury and a whopping 256 bytes of memory—or roughly 1/4096 of a megabyte—the Kenback-1 relied on switches and blinking lights for input and output functions, but only 40 were ever made. Meanwhile, the $1750 Micral N (pictured) was the earliest commercial, non-kit PC available (it came to market in 1973), but it never reached U.S. shores.

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In Pictures: Of punchcards, platters, and wooden mice. The PC's origin story

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