Computers & Business Machines
Imagine the loss, 100 years from now, if museums hadn't begun preserving the artifacts of the computer age. The last few decades offer proof positive of why museums must collect continuously—to document technological and social transformations already underway.
The museum's collections contain mainframes, minicomputers, microcomputers, and handheld devices. Computers range from the pioneering ENIAC to microcomputers like the Altair and the Apple I. A Cray2 supercomputer is part of the collections, along with one of the towers of IBM's Deep Blue, the computer that defeated reigning champion Garry Kasparov in a chess match in 1997. Computer components and peripherals, games, software, manuals, and other documents are part of the collections. Some of the instruments of business include adding machines, calculators, typewriters, dictating machines, fax machines, cash registers, and photocopiers
- Exidy, a leading manufacturer of home and arcade video games, introduced its Sorcerer home computer in 1978. The Sorcer used a Z-80 processor that ran at 2.106 MHz and came with 8 KB of RAM, which could be expanded to 32 KB. It ran the CP/M operating system. It sold for $898 with 8 KB of RAM, $1150 with 16 KB of RAM, and $1395 with 32 KB of RAM. It also contained 4 K of ROM. Programs were loaded with plug-in ROM cartridges, and the machine came with a standard BASIC cartridge. This was essentially the common Microsoft BASIC already widely used in the CP/M world. But Exidy added a number of one-stroke commands that allowed users to type in common instructions such as PRINT with a single keystroke. Another popular cartridge contained an early version of the word processor Spellbinder. Users could connect the machine to a standard TV, but the company also offered its own Exidy "Video/Disk" monitor for $2,995.
- Judged against its competitors, the Commodore PET and Radio Shack TRS-80, the Sorcerer was comparatively advanced when it appeared. Due to a lack of marketing in the United States, however, it did not sell well there. It did better in Europe and Australia. Exidy took the machine off the market in 1980.
- Currently not on view
- Date made
- Exidy, Inc.
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History