Commodore PET 2001 Personal Computer

In 1977, Commodore introduced the PET (Personal Electronic Transactor) home/personal computer. Appearing before either the Apple II or the Radio Shack TRS80, it was among the first personal computers. The PET 2001, Commodore's first model, included 4 kilobytes of memory, cost $495, and was fully functional out the box. The computer sold well, but initially Commodore could produce only a meager 30 units a day.
The PET had a main board with a 1 MHz MOS 6502 processor and room for additional RAM. The machine included a built-in cassette on the front of the case for data storage. Users could write their own programs in BASIC, but many complained about the small keyboard, which made touch typing difficult. The screen of the PET computer was small (9"), and had a black or blue display. Users could design simple graphics, do animations, or work out math problems. A notable feature of the PET 2001 was that the top of the computer opened for maintenance--like the hood of a car.
PET 2001 was designed by computer pioneer Chuck Peddle. He came to Commodore during the company's acquisition of MOS Technology in 1976. AT MOS, he had designed the KIM (Keyboard Input Monitor) computer. At Commodore, he convinced managers that computers were "in" and won approval to design the PET. It paved the way for later Commodore machines, such as the Commodore-64.
This particular PET 2001 was donated by Louis Mittleman, who noted not only that the keyboard was a serious "drawback," but also that the manual did not have much information.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
ca 1977
Commodore Business Machines, Inc.
Physical Description
manufactured (overall production method/technique)
plastic (overall material)
metal (overall material)
overall: 16 in x 17 1/2 in x 19 in; 40.64 cm x 44.45 cm x 48.26 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Family & Social Life
Computers & Business Machines
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Computers
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Louis Mittelman, Jr.

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