February 16th, 2017, 01:06 PM
MEC, GEM Computer Products, and C.MORE
Posting what I know and letting others add what they want to about my favorite Whitebox PC Company, I wish I could find more advertising, old literature, and stuff about them. I'm very interested in this sort of stuff.
WHAT I KNOW
MEC - Micro Equipment Corporation
According to Trademarkia, MEC (Micro Equiptment Corporation) is the main company that runs these other two enterprises. MEC made computers and sold products that were outsourced apparently. MEC focused on the home market. I might have seen some MEC computers pass me by but I can't remember what I saw. MEC was advertised in Byte Magazine in Volume 20 Issues 5-8 on Page 111 in 1995. The first known use listed on Trademarkia is 5/30/1983 - but they may have existed earlier as one of the trademarks on trademarkia lists the company as first use being "unknown".
GEM Computer Products started in 1983 and was their other badge which they made computers under and provided equipment under. GEM Computer Products seems to have had a wider distribution as I've actually found more than one system that they have built. The odd thing though is certain listings on Trademarkia list GEM computer products as being a "Military" branch. Considering that the two GEM machines I've owned came from people who worked in the military - I can verify this is true. I also saw another one for sale recently (an XT 286 clone) that was from near where I got my 286 AT from. GEM got an article in a 1987 issue of InfoWorld as releasing a XT replacement motherboard called the "Pepper XT". What I do know is that brand continued until 1997 inline with MEC and C.MORE. First use of this brand was in 5/3/1983.
C.MORE was a series of stores in Georgia and possibly East/Central Alabama as well as a brand they manufactured equipment under, first used on 6/30/1993. I think I recall seeing one of their stores as a kid in Peachtree Mall in Georgia sometime around that time. They also apparently marketed equipment under that brand too which I may also have seen around.
I've seen only four or five systems by one of these companies that I can remember - and here they are.....
GEM Computer Products 286 XT Clone System (seen on E-bay 12/2016) - a 286 in an XT Clone chassis. This must have been built sometime around 1986 or 1987.
GEM Computer Products 286 AT Clone System (seen on E-bay 5/2005, Purchased by me in 6/2005) - This one was purchased from a seller who was at a Texas Military base further supporting the Military branding. This computer was upgraded though at some point as it contained a VGA display adapter (Oak Technolgy) and a 540MB HDD with Overlay (Seagate). The motherboard is an Octek REV 5.1 motherboard also known as a 12MHz Super 286 on TH99. The original power supply was a Magitronic and I've read somewhere Magitronic made the cases too, which this one uses the same screws (they use an obscure style of screw in back) as the 386 below. Most likely this had EGA and a ST-506/412 hard disk in it around 40MB when it was new.
GEM computer Products 386 "Compaq Deskpro 386" clone (Acquired from a Military I.T. guy in 2001 via a friend of mine - it cost $3000 new sometime around 1987-1989) - This computer had an Addonics motherboard with a AMI 2 chip Hi/Lo BIOS and was most bundled with an Addonics MON7C4B 14" VGA monitor when new, it also had a keyboard that mimicked the original Deskpro 386 keyboards right on down to the metal DIN-5 connector and black surround to the keys. It had a i386 DX-20, 5MB of RAM on SIPS, and the original 40MB ST-251 MFM Hard Disk as well as a Quantum ProDrive LPS 244MB Hardcard installed when I got it. The case was almost identical to a original Compaq Deskpro 386 chassis right on down to the drive cage and aluminum drive rails used, but it utilized standard full AT PSU, motherboards, and the front keyboard jack was active via a right-angle DIN5 that rant to the back of the case where the AT Keyboard jack normally goes, and covered over by a metal panel to hide it. It also had a control panel, and a "GEM Computer" diagram about taking the cover off and installing drives on top of the drive bay that showed that there was a version with a Turbo Button on it as well.
Apparently they were still going well into the 1990's here's a YouTube video of someone running a Pentium system from the mid 90's - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSi6RpFCQ9o - It looks like they were using Enlight chassis by that point in time.
It looks like the Trademarks for MEC, C.More, and GEM were abandoned in 1997, meaning they have not been around for over 20 years.
Parts suppliers included, Addonics, Octek, Western Digital, Seagate, Quantum, Magitronic, Samsung, Goldstar, and Oak Technologies
It looks like they had two locations - 6889 Peachtree Industrial Blvd., Suite 160, Norcross, GA 30092 - which is where the AT systems I mentioned were probably built at, it's now a shopping center and the building they used may have been torn down. The other one is a HUGE corporate building at 2900 Jones Mill Road in Atlanta/Norcross at 2900 Jones Mill Road that looks abandoned. I recall a C.MORE in Peachtree mall, but they may have also had one at the Montgomery AL mall too - which would make sense.
If anyone has other information feel free to add.
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