Computer Museum news about computers, microcomputers, hobbyist, robotics, computing, Bugbooks, Computers in the Bugbook Historical Computer Museum collection, & amateur radio staion N4USA .

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Vintage Sphere Computer at the "Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum"

 The art of collecting computer for me paid off many times in 
obtaining really hard to find and sometimes computers that are
in beautiful condition. The two Sphere microcomputers in our
collection are a good example of being persistent in the search 
for historical items.  I think you will enjoy seeing these computers.

 The Sphere Microcomputer marketed in 1975 was reported to have sold only about 1300 units making it a hard to acquire microcomputer for collectors.  The Sphere did not gain adequate market share and had a short life as a commercial product. Sphere computers were designed by Michael Donald Wise and had some advanced features. The computer was sold in various configurations from a set of boards to a plug and play package that contained all the electronics, CRT and keyboard and looking modern for 1975. This computer was before the Apple 1 in 1976 and if it would have functioned as advertised it most likely would have been a popular computer.

Sphere Microcomputer
Sphere Microcomputer
These 2 Sphere computers are in the LCF Group "Bugbook Historical Microcomputer" Collection. The
computers were acquired in about the year 2000.
It took a long time add a Sphere computer to our
collection - about 25 years. Two computers gives us
the opportunity to have one working and one as a
spare. It could be difficult to have a working model
as the computers did not have a reputation of working
very well or for very long.

One feature that Michael designed into the computer was the ability to reboot the computer by holding down 2 keys at the same time. This was the first for this kind of hard reboot . Now were have the (Ctrl-Alt- Delete) function  & it is same idea of gaining control of your computer.

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                                   Click on photo's to enlarge
Sphere Microcomputer
Sphere Microcomputer
The many flat ribbons cable Connectors used in the desig
 are known to be a potential problem.
The Sphere computers in our collection use the 6800 microprocessor & have a keyboard, numeric pad and display all in one nice cabinet.  The Sphere company folks had great aspirations for a whole family of computers from single board to a advanced system with built in floppy drives.  It seems the whole process of design, production and delivery of a reliable computer on time did not happen. This main reason the company sold so few computers and went out of business in a short time. The Sphere company went the way many of the early microcomputer start up companies. They just did not have the funding, talent, marketing and a reliable product to attract customers.  More then 600 small operations designed a computer and tried to make it big - most lasted a year or two.  Some lasted many years however only the Apple company is still in business from the 70's as a computer company.

Sphere Microcomputer
Sphere Microcomputer

Sphere Microcomputer
Sphere Microcomputer

Sphere Microcomputer
Sphere Microcomputer

Sphere Microcomputer
Sphere Microcomputer

Sphere Microcomputer
Sphere Microcomputer

The computers were packed with great care and arrived with a complete set of manuals/documentation. I am delighted to have these Sphere computers and all the documentation that was furnished
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Here I am with my wife Gaynell on a windy fall day.  Today it has warmed up from the cold of last week and is a nice day and about 60 degrees.  We live in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Floyd, Virginia. "by David Larsen", Historical Computer Collector/Historian 3-12-13