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Timex Sinclair 1000 Personal Computer

Timex Sinclair 1000 Personal Computer

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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
Credit Line
Timex Computer Corp.
Timex Sinclair
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Computers
Computers & Business Machines
Family & Social Life
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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I am writing my dissertation now and the Timex Sinclair features in part of it. Thank you for the great post and all the images!
The article says "the TS-1000 hit stores in 1981". Sinclair sold the ZX81 in the US, starting in Oct. 1981 via mail order. I bought mine as soon as I saw the ad, with it arriving in Nov. 1981. The T/S 1000 hit the US market in July 1982.
I am 50 years old and received my Timex Sinclair 100 for Christmas in 1982 (Wisconsin). I was also one of the only girls in a computer club run by a parent at my small Catholic grade School. There were 6-7 of us who were learning BASIC. Today, I told my Media Basics class about the my first computer as part of a unit on communication technology history.
I received my TS1000 for Christmas 1983. My brother also received one. I had just received a kidney transplant from my brother. I had a lot of time on my hands to learn about this computer. Now, 35 years later I set it up again and used it. I actually purchased a new keyboard with better connections from the U.K. still having a lot of fun with this little guy.
I'm 46 as well and this was my first computer too. I was the first kid in my neighborhood to get a computer and until graduation I was the only girl to be involved in Computer Club. Taught myself BASIC just like everyone else. I loved it and eventually went on to work in information technology completely self-taught. Thanks, Timex! ;)
"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."
I just turned 46 and also had one of these with the 16K expansion. Got it for Xmas in 82 or 83 I believe. Like you, this was also my first introduction to basic. To the best of memory, this started for me by hacking into frogger and increasing the number of lives. My brother and I were soon writing simple programs, self taught. We had a lot of fun trying to write D&D "role playing" style war games. We never completed anything, but learned a great deal and had a lot of fun doing so.

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