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Thread: what do you think of my CPT 8535?

  1. #1

    Default what do you think of my CPT 8535?

    Hello everyone,

    I just found this great site..looks good and wow! there are some great collections on here! that's for sure. I myself have a very small collection, as I just started to get into collecting all types of vintage technology, not just computer systems. I love the early cpu's and systems, 70's and 80's, but I love em all really..

    Just thought what you thought of this great system I have, it's from the CPT Corporation (now defunct), circa 1982. Originally these went for $13,000 (!!) for the system including cpu, keyboard, printer and boot, utility disks.
    It's a "dedicated word processor", it does just that, no GUI or other programs exist for it. It still runs great and it can't be beat for producing great word processed documents.

    Thought I'd mention it cuz I don't see CPTs mentioned much by folks. Besides the CPTs, I have some old Apples and an old Commodore. Non computer stuff that's old I have an old wall phone with brass bells, annunciators, camera with real bellows, and a few morse code telegraph keys. like I said, small collection, but you have to s tart somewhere.

    Carlos

  2. #2
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    Default

    The CPT machines were actually full-blown 8080-based computers, running CP/M from thier 8" drives. The parent company never released much software, but some third-party stuff (other than word-processing) exists for it somewhere.

    --T
    Teach your children how to think, not what, and hold 'em close, not tight.
    _____________________________________________

    Please visit the Vintage-Computer Wiki. Contributers welcome.

  3. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Yager View Post
    The CPT machines were actually full-blown 8080-based computers, running CP/M from thier 8" drives. The parent company never released much software, but some third-party stuff (other than word-processing) exists for it somewhere.

    --T
    Yes, that sounds right to me...these machines pre-dated the PCs that had the first intel chips..the whole x86 architectures...windows OS, GUI, etc.

    The 8535 does indeed have 2 8" drives. The second drive gave the machine the file copying capabilities from one drive to the other, for backups and also storing/retrieving often-used text. This was available only on that machine which was top of the line CPT. The other models only had one drive.

  4. #4

    Default CPT Word Processors - From the source

    Hi,

    Just had a trip down memory lane, sitting at my PC and searching on Google. I typed-in “CPT word processor” and look what I found...

    Now they're museum pieces!

    My first job in the "computer industry" was as a service tech. for CPT word processors. I started repairing CPT 4200 (Cassette Powered Typewriters) in 1978. Later, just after the CPT 8000 was released, I moved to Minneapolis and became a software/hardware engineer for CPT Corp.

    The CPT 8000 was a computer way ahead of its time. Although it only employed an Intel 8080, running at 2 mhz and 64K of memory (later expanded to 128K and finally 256K, using an upper bank switching scheme) its operating system was fully multi-tasking and the file system was a modified B-tree design. All of the software was designed and written in-house. CP/M was an addition that could be purchased separately.

    All CPT models had 2 8-inch floppy drives, except the 6000 model. The 6000 was a cost-reduced version of the 8000. It had less memory, one drive and a smaller display.

    Working in the Research Dept. for CPT, I helped in the design of the 6100, 8100, 8500, 9000, WordPak I and WordPak II, and the Phoenix.

    The Phoenix machine was a dual processor design that ran an 8086 (16-bit CPU) and an 8085 (8-bit CPU) together on a shared bus. It ran (we wrote) a multi-processor, multi-tasking operating system that ran 8-bit and 16-bit code simultaneously! The 15" monitor displayed a 1024x768, 256 level grayscale, picture at 78 hz refresh rate. The display fonts were anti-aliasing renditions of Courier, Arial, and New Times Roman. There were even eight "soft key" graphics displayed at the bottom of the screen that changed functions as the corresponding menu keys on the keyboard were touched. It was an amazing piece of work for 1982-84!

    There was also a hybrid model of the Phoenix that used a National Semiconductor 32000 based CPU, running at 16 mhz. The National chip could flip between 8080 8-bit code and native 8086 like 16-bit code internally. It was very fast, but never really made it into production.

    When we (the CPT Research Group) saw the IBM PC for the first time, we all laughed. It was like a kid's toy compared to what we were working on. Little did we know...

    The last computer that CPT built (but never released) was based on an 80386 CPU, running at 20 mhz. This was in 1985/86, when most "fast PCs" were grinding along at 6 to 8 mhz!

    We had ported our operating system to 386 code and were able to run MS-DOS as a sub-task to our main system. This allowed people to run PC programs (like Lotus 123) on the CPT Phoenix and flip between the word processing system and the DOS application by simply pressing a function key. Plus, the DOS programs ran about four times faster than a PC, but no one cared. The Phoenix was expensive and the PCs were getting cheaper and cheaper.

    The last thing I did was to port MS Windows and Ventura Publisher to the Phoenix and 9000 machines. That's what our customers wanted. Windows was a dog and we immediately started working on a graphics processor based display board to help speed it up. The dedicated word processor market was shrinking fast and the PC word processing software was getting better and better. CPT, once the #1 word processing system in the world was dying before our eyes.

    Anyway, I digress. I have a bunch of CPT odds and ends laying around and even more boxes of 8” disks than I care to admit to. They are a constant reminder to me that, “Making a better mouse trap”, is not always successful. If you need real answers, software, information, etc. just drop me a note. I’ll be glad to help.

    Thanks for the memories,
    Rich Jones
    Metasoft, Inc.
    metasoft@erols.com

  5. #5

    Default

    Yes, I sometimes forget about these dedicated word processors. They were a legitimate part of early computing.

    I remember my department at work getting a WANG word processor. This was before the IBM-PC. The secretary loved it. I think it ran a form of CP/M.

    For years and years it sat collecting dust until I personally trashed it sometime in the nineties. I should have snagged it instead!
    ------------------------------------------------
    My vintage collection: https://classic-computers.org.nz/collection/
    My vintage activities blog: https://www.classic-computers.org.nz/blog/
    Twitter: @classiccomputNZ ; YouTube Videos: (click here)


  6. #6

    Default CPT 8525 & 8535 Software

    I am looking for software to test these units. Do you know where I can obtain this software? Chuck Ellicottrd@yahoo.com
    Quote Originally Posted by Metasoft View Post
    Hi,

    Just had a trip down memory lane, sitting at my PC and searching on Google. I typed-in “CPT word processor” and look what I found...

    Now they're museum pieces!

    My first job in the "computer industry" was as a service tech. for CPT word processors. I started repairing CPT 4200 (Cassette Powered Typewriters) in 1978. Later, just after the CPT 8000 was released, I moved to Minneapolis and became a software/hardware engineer for CPT Corp.

    The CPT 8000 was a computer way ahead of its time. Although it only employed an Intel 8080, running at 2 mhz and 64K of memory (later expanded to 128K and finally 256K, using an upper bank switching scheme) its operating system was fully multi-tasking and the file system was a modified B-tree design. All of the software was designed and written in-house. CP/M was an addition that could be purchased separately.

    All CPT models had 2 8-inch floppy drives, except the 6000 model. The 6000 was a cost-reduced version of the 8000. It had less memory, one drive and a smaller display.

    Working in the Research Dept. for CPT, I helped in the design of the 6100, 8100, 8500, 9000, WordPak I and WordPak II, and the Phoenix.

    The Phoenix machine was a dual processor design that ran an 8086 (16-bit CPU) and an 8085 (8-bit CPU) together on a shared bus. It ran (we wrote) a multi-processor, multi-tasking operating system that ran 8-bit and 16-bit code simultaneously! The 15" monitor displayed a 1024x768, 256 level grayscale, picture at 78 hz refresh rate. The display fonts were anti-aliasing renditions of Courier, Arial, and New Times Roman. There were even eight "soft key" graphics displayed at the bottom of the screen that changed functions as the corresponding menu keys on the keyboard were touched. It was an amazing piece of work for 1982-84!

    There was also a hybrid model of the Phoenix that used a National Semiconductor 32000 based CPU, running at 16 mhz. The National chip could flip between 8080 8-bit code and native 8086 like 16-bit code internally. It was very fast, but never really made it into production.

    When we (the CPT Research Group) saw the IBM PC for the first time, we all laughed. It was like a kid's toy compared to what we were working on. Little did we know...

    The last computer that CPT built (but never released) was based on an 80386 CPU, running at 20 mhz. This was in 1985/86, when most "fast PCs" were grinding along at 6 to 8 mhz!

    We had ported our operating system to 386 code and were able to run MS-DOS as a sub-task to our main system. This allowed people to run PC programs (like Lotus 123) on the CPT Phoenix and flip between the word processing system and the DOS application by simply pressing a function key. Plus, the DOS programs ran about four times faster than a PC, but no one cared. The Phoenix was expensive and the PCs were getting cheaper and cheaper.

    The last thing I did was to port MS Windows and Ventura Publisher to the Phoenix and 9000 machines. That's what our customers wanted. Windows was a dog and we immediately started working on a graphics processor based display board to help speed it up. The dedicated word processor market was shrinking fast and the PC word processing software was getting better and better. CPT, once the #1 word processing system in the world was dying before our eyes.

    Anyway, I digress. I have a bunch of CPT odds and ends laying around and even more boxes of 8” disks than I care to admit to. They are a constant reminder to me that, “Making a better mouse trap”, is not always successful. If you need real answers, software, information, etc. just drop me a note. I’ll be glad to help.

    Thanks for the memories,
    Rich Jones
    Metasoft, Inc.
    metasoft@erols.com

  7. #7

    Default

    Send large sums of money and I will make you a disk!

    The 8000, 6000, 9000 software was really pretty amazing. Real Multitalking and hardware interrupt based. And done when? Before the IBM PC was ever released. Unlike the other junk that was made after it that spent so many computer cycles polling things all the time (Insane) The display was pretty amazing as it had the ability to use hardware to direct each line to different memory locations. Allowing things like ultra fast scrolling and a smooth look that even now (With some of the garbage published) looked impossibly good. I remember how cool it was to have an 8100 and a phone modem and be able to access the few things that were available then. Mostly mainframes that were not meant for me to be fiddling with. I had one of those 14 inch 30 mb hard disks and thought it was about THE coolest computer anyone could have and when I think about it now back then it was. BTW I worked with "metasoft" who is one of the greatest guys in the world.

    When we were together in the R&D world one of my jobs was to evaluate the new boxes from IBM, Apple, Atari and later the Amiga. The IBM to me seemed like the crudest thing I had ever seen. 64K of memory one floppy disk a green text screen or a 320x200 color video game screen. Who knew that those 3 letters would sell SO many of these machines. Our old machine had 256K of memory (With Parity) had the ability to connect to a variety of Hard Disks back when that was pretty wild stuff. Had built in communications, support for multilingual and printed what you saw on the screen an entire page at a time. Forget 80 x ? what was it 80 x 25?? Anyway people were going bonkers to buy it no matter how crude they were. Price wise it was clearly much cheaper. But what a step down. To me it was like flying around on the Star Ship Enterprise and choosing to turn in your Transporter card for a train ticket.

    The Apple seemed to me to be more interesting at least in that it was ALL graphics mode all the time. But the screens seemed so tiny and the inability to upgrade the hardware looked to me like a death wish. I thought whoever did the Amiga had some good ideas. The paged screen, graphics core and multitasking at least showed they were beyond "copying" CPM which is what I felt MSDOS was. *And now know it was. Google QDDOS.

    Atari was a weird mix. Another copy of CPM for 68000 but some nicer hardware for graphics and such...

    CPT had I think a far better product then the others a much better core with its close hardware software connection but a lot of the company wanted to do what others were doing. It was like they were in the Beatles and wanted to throw out Sgt Pepper and record a "better" record by doing some Archies cover songs. Finance wise I think the true kiss of death was the day all the wealthy sales guys drove up in nicer cars then the "execs" and they deemed that the sales folks should only be paid a salary. No more commissions. As you can guess the rich salesmen drove away never to be seen or heard from again. Insane! You want rich salesmen who are paid only commissions.

    Thanks just my 2 cents worth from the inside.

    - Jay

  8. #8
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    Default

    There were a lot of word processing systems out around 1980; it's too bad that no one really collects them. I've had to do conversion from the CPT-8000 floppies and seem to recall that it was a page-oriented system that used an RO Diablo Hytype daisywheel as a printer.

    Others (e.g. Artec, Lanier, AES) were similar in concept. Wang and Xerox had the high end, with IBM Displaywriters coming in about 1981. DEC had their WPS system that they deployed on several platforms.

    What did them all in was the personal computer with their word-processing software--most notably, Wordstar. But Vector had Memorite, Epson had Valdocs, Eagle had Spellbinder...the list goes on and on.

  9. #9
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    Default

    This guy seems to have been involved in most of the thing. I only mention it because so rarely do you see people posting pictures of themselves wearing bow ties on the internet. It takes real guts if its not a picture of your prom or you're not selling pop corn.

  10. #10

    Default

    What a trip down memory lane, indeed! It's very nice to hear from everyone regarding the venerable CPT..These posts have increased my appreciation even more for them. And they have kindled some fond remembrances from the early 80s through to the end of the decade. What a machine!

    The ability to scroll through the page lightning quick...keyboard shortcuts, and...a multitasking operating system! I think that neither my father (professional technical translator and lexicographer) nor myself (in high school at the time) were aware how uncommon this was for systems at that time in personal computing. The daisywheel "letter quality" printing was just what a professional writer needed...pitch, pica, and size adjustment of the letters ("fonts" as they came to be known years later). Later, throughout the 80s, dot matrix printing was the bane of college students and anyone else stuck with a PC. The PC had nothing next to the print output from the CPT's rotary daisywheel system.

    Rich & Jay...it's great to know there's someone who know these machines intimately. These beauties were "machines out of time" - unmatched for dedicated word processing.

    I cherish the memory of the CPT dedicated word processors. They were venerable workhorses for serious word processing applications and letter-quality printing.

    The photo is of the 8535, Javier L. Collazo's main workhorse. Back-up machine was a 6100 (single drive bay).

    Carlos
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