Timex Sinclair 1000 Personal Computer

The Timex/Sinclair 1000 was the U.S. version of the Sinclair ZX-81, which was made by Sinclair Research, Ltd. One of the earliest versions of the home computer, the TS-1000 hit stores in 1981. At $99 it was certainly one of the most affordable early machines, and Timex sold over 600,000. Its introduction caused other companies to lower their prices and include more features in their computers in order to compete.
The size of a book and weighing 20 ounces, the Timex/Sinclair used a television set as a monitor. Data was stored on cassette tape. The processor was a Z80A microchip running at 3.5 MHz, and the ROM was 8 KB (the earliest version had only 1 KB). The computer keyboard was flat and the keys used black characters on a white background. The Timex could be used around the home for such tasks as budget management, checkbook balancing, and entertainment, but the limitations of the machine made tasks rudimentary. Users could also write programs in BASIC. Accessories included a small "adding machine" type printer and a 16 KB RAM drive. Purchasers of it could also buy pre-programmed cassettes, among them BASIC versions of games such as space invaders.
This particular computer was given to the Smithsonian by Daniel Ross, Vice-President of Computer Products of the Timex Computer Corporation. It was one of a series of TS-1000s donated to science museums across the United States.
Despite brisk sales, Timex dropped out of the computer market in the spring of 1984.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
Timex Computer Corporation
Physical Description
plastic (overall material)
metal (overall material)
overall: 1 1/2 in x 6 1/2 in x 7 in; 3.81 cm x 16.51 cm x 17.78 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Timex Sinclair
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Computers
Computers & Business Machines
Family & Social Life
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center


"I'm 43 years old and had one of these when I was a kid. This was the first computer I owned and learned how to program in Basic on it. I used cassette tapes to play and store programs. We had the 16kb RAM accessory. It seems extremely archaic now, but being an electrical engineering graduate, it makes me appreciate how far electronics and computer science has come."

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