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
Family & Social Life
Computers & Business Machines
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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I am now 52 years young and recall buying this unit back in 1982 with saved paper route money to add to my BASIC writing skills when I was 12/13. Mostly just to try out the programs printed in the magazines of the time (calculators, a flying bird, scrolling objects, etc.). I did connect a cassette tape player as well to load programs and games, which would take about 10 minutes for something very basic. I recall the keyboard as being very user unfriendly and not easy to type on, but it was easy to plug into the TV and switch it to be a video out for the monitor! Simpler times for sure.
I subscribed to "SYNC" magazine which was devoted to the TS-1000. The mag had a lot of great things in it from programs to interfacing. I wire wrapped an 8255 PPI chip to it and controlled electric toys. Also, it had a program named "Speedway" written in assembly language including a "loader" to get the program entered. The article told which hex number controlled the speed. It could run so fast the road just flew by at about 100 mph. Way too fast to even watch! Lots of fun!
I have my dad's old TS1000 still in the Styrofoam I'm about to get rid of it, finally. I still have his hand written program to hold onto in memory of watching him play with it back when I was a kid
I grew up on the banks of a lush valley meandered by a crystal-clear river deep in Chilean Patagonia, the southernmost tip of the American continent. From one of his trips to the country's capital, my father brought with him what was our first computer: a Timex Sinclair 1000, with its 16K memory expander module. We connected it to a radio cassette player to load a chess and a flight simulator; the first video games I knew and with which we shared, entering the digital world: something totally new for then, and especially for those of us who lived in the remotest part of the world. It was the early 80s... I was still a small child, but I remember taking my first steps in Basic programming in the fall of the southern hemisphere in '86, next to the passage of Halley's comet. Today I'm 43 years old, and I remember with nostalgia the aroma of the cover of this beautiful machine that evokes me to that childhood full of adventures and curiosity for science and the technologies that made it work. My father is no longer alive, but I still keep it as a link to a glorious and eternal past.
This was my first computer. I'm 56 now and although not a programmer I do consider myself a techno wienie, which means I know just enough to be dangerous and get into trouble with programming but not enough to do it right. For those of you who did not have the pleasure of these back in the day...I had to attach this to where the "rabbit ears" (Google it) connected on the back of the TV. I then had to "tune" the TV channel until it displayed the computer screen. Programming was done in BASIC and a cassette recorder was used for storing and loading programs. Good times, good times.
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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