View Full Version : A great computer mystery!

April 22nd, 2015, 02:59 AM
It is relatively easy to find American computer artifacts from the 50s to the 80s.
Does anybody know why there never seems to be any British computer artifacts around (on eBay for example) for that period?

IN hope,


May 2nd, 2015, 04:44 PM
I would speculate that not much survived in that area of the world, from that era. Take into consideration the size of the UK, a much smaller land base, smaller population. I wasn't around at that time, nor am i from there, and i don't know the level of interested in computing during that time frame. Could also be that the people in UK at the time, didn't really keep anything after it was used, as a result of that, not much survived to see the 2000's either. So many reasons, those are what i would say with some level of certainly, but not completeness.

May 2nd, 2015, 09:48 PM
Hmm - Well, the Sinclair Machines seem to turn up... ZX-80, & others.

There's a website devoted to the Powertran Cortex: http://www.powertrancortex.com/

for which you'll find quite a bit of activity right here (VCF) - Look at the Texas Instruments


May 3rd, 2015, 01:01 AM
If we are talking "Home" or "Personal" computers then often in the UK we used US imports. So you see the odd Cromenco turn up on E-Bay UK. I have a couple of SWTPC 6809 systems which I guess date from the 1980's but I must admit I haven't checked the date codes on the IC's.

I do find it odd that I have never seen a NewBear 77-68 or 77-6809 system on E-Bay, but there again I don't run a search specifically for them. I doubt I could afford one should they turn up. It is a pitty mine was given away to some who couldn't afford a computer. I don't think I would have taken it back, but I am sad I didn't take any photos of the systems. Other UK systems do turn up from time to time. So there have been a couple of NASCOM's in the last 12 months, many Synclairs and of course BBC-Bs.

I think another factor is that I think UK Business is fundamentally different to US business. We have far fewer of the Mom and Pop business you have in the US , who would I assume be a market for small business systems.

May 3rd, 2015, 09:40 AM
Another interesting UK computer: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambridge_Z88

This one still had an active user base a few years ago...

May 3rd, 2015, 09:57 AM
Uhm, didn't you already post this exact same thread once already?!?


Oh wait, they're one minute apart; double-post. Hey mods, could we get a merge?

May 3rd, 2015, 10:17 AM
Another factor in the US was the preferred trade status with Taiwan at the time. Essentially, you had your uncle load a container full of stuff and send it to LA duty-free. Open a storefront and sell it all at cut-rate prices.

You cannot argue about the success of the PC platform in the USA without talking about Taiwan. It's interesting to note that Japan had no such relation with Taiwan at the time, so it was the NEC machines that predominated the PC market there at the time.

As far as I know, the UK did not exempt any foreign imports from duty fees in the 1980s.