View Full Version : Billings Computer Corp.?

August 30th, 2004, 06:49 AM
Anybody know anything about this company and it's boxes? I saw a unibody with dual 5.25" floppies (in major disrepair). Is it just a run-of-the-mill PC clone or something more exciting?

Tim Wellman
August 30th, 2004, 09:16 AM
I know Billings himself is an odd duck... he has had an on-going lawsuit since the early 90's with Novel... he claims he invented computer networks... he's also a preacher, I believe, is a scientist who creates hydrogen-fueled automobiles, and started a college, and gave himself a doctorate :-) I think he also claims Bill Gates used to work for him.

As for the computers, I think he was kicked out of his own company in 1984, so, I'm guessing pre 84 Billings computers would have a decent collector value, simply because of Billings himself. I think the early ones ran a proprietary os called BOS. I've never seen a Billings computer anywhere for sale.... you probably should have picked it up :-)

August 30th, 2004, 07:50 PM
I took your advice and went back and picked it up. It is in really rough shape, but maybe somebody can get ahold of it and do something with it (I can't).

...and now you *have* seen one for sale :-)


Tim Wellman
August 31st, 2004, 05:13 AM
That really is a beautiful old machine... I can see why Billings says his designs were picked up by Radio Shack. I wish I had more knowledge of digital electronics, I'd give it a go. I see you've already gotten 1 bid on it... good luck, I bet it goes for good money.

September 11th, 2005, 10:36 PM
I'm curious. Did you ever sell that old Billings Computer? If for how much if you don't mind my asking? I'm just curious. I used to build those computers for Billings.

December 18th, 2005, 05:31 PM
Yes, it did wind up getting sold. Went for $75 as I remember to some guy in NY or NJ. I asked him if he had any more info on the machine or why he wanted it just because I was curious but he never responded.

November 2nd, 2006, 08:32 AM
Roger Billings is and was back then an "odd ball". He however was an opportunist. When he saw the potential in the systems being produced by Ed Roberts, he realized that he could not only make money on those little boxes but he could also save money by using them with his other ventures.

I still have one of his early systems. Its specs were:
Primary cabinet - 8080 2Hhz Intel CPU, 48K memory (3 cards), SIO (4 serial 1 parallel) card and one FDC. The S-100 system contained a motherboard with 20 slots and a front panel that only had 2 switches but lots and lots of lights.

The second cabinet contained 2 cal comp floppy disk drives (8" 240K each single sided IBM raw format).

The terminals were Beehive 80 x 24 Uppercase only and the standard printer was a Centronics 60cps uppercase only bi-directional 14" tractor feed.

All his software was written in Microsoft FORTRAN (GL, AP, Payroll etc.) with the OS being the Digital Research CPM Version 1.2.

Cost - $17,000.

I still have most of the documentation for the OS and many of the distribution disks with his software.

My final configuration kept the original cabinets, but relpaced most all of the rest of the system. The CPU - Tarbell Dual processor (8 MHz 80186/Z80), Marrow Systems HDC, 20 Meg Hard Drive, 2 ea Qume DT8 8" Floppy Disks and 2 Qume 5.25 disks. Memory was upped to 512 using Digital Research (out of Texas) 64K Static Memory cards.

The last time I tried it (about 10 years ago now), everything but the HDC worked.