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

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Vintage Computers - Apple ll Computer Pirates - The Franklin Computers 'Clones of Apple ll computers'


Bugbooks
Bugbooks
Steve Wozniak spent several years developing the Apple 1 computer before he and Steve Jobs actually brought the computer to market. It was a wonderful design at that time however hobbyist were not willing to purchase or able to make working Apple 1 computers in very large numbers. Only 200 Apple 1 computers were made and not all of them were actually sold.  The Apple 1 required the addition of power transformers, keyboard and a  display to make an operating system. Even then it was crude looking if a display case was not custom made for the computer.  The short story is the computer did not sell well and Wozniak realized a plug and play computer was needed and started the design of the Apple ll soon after the Apple 1 was put on the commercial market.

The Apple ll was a tremendous success for the Apple Company - selling 5 to 6 million from 1977 to 1993 ( according to information in Wikipedia ).

1982 Enter Franklin Computer with a Clone of the Apple ll
                        "the Franklin Ace 100" 
 The Franklin Company wanted to cash in on the large following of purchasers of the Apple ll computer and the Ace 100 was almost an exact digital copy. The monitor program in ROM was also an exact copy of the the Apple ll ROM.
 
ACE 100 computer
Ace 100
ACE 100 computer
Ace 100
ACE 100 computer
Ace 100

This Ace 100 computer for sale








 March 1982 the Franklin Computer Company released the Ace 1000 a copy of the Apple ll+.



ACE 1000 computer
Ace 1000
ACE 1000 computer
Ace 1000

ACE 1000 computer
Ace 1000

 The Apple Company did not take this lightly and in June 1982 sued  the Franklin Computer Company for copyright infringement. Initially Apple lost the case and Franklin continued to sell their clone computers. The next Franklin computer was the Ace 1200 and it was the same as the Ace 1000 with additional features. The Ace 1200 came with 2 floppy drives built in and it also had and 8080 CPU on a plug in card and could execute CP/M programs as well as the Apple ll software.  The Ace 1200 had upper and lower case characters and a color display.
ACE 1200 computer
Ace 1200

ACE 1200 computer
Ace 1200
ACE 1200 computer
Ace 1200

 The Apple Company did win the infringement case in 1983 however the Franklin Company received an injunction and was able to continue making the Ace Apple clone computers.  The numbers I have found indicate that the Franklin Company sold these computers in the 10,000 + range.

Franklin continued to develop additional computers -  Ace 500 an Apple llc clone and Ace 2000 an Apple lle clone. In 1986 - 1988 the Ace PC 6000 & Ace PC8000 both IBM PC clones were brought to market. The hand held small computer line of Franklin products was introduced with such products as spelling correction, dictionary definitions and a thesaurus. The production of Franklin desk top computers ended in the late 80's.

The  Franklin Computer Company  merged with Saunders Acquisition Corporation September 30, 2009.

The computer photo's in this blog are from our "Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum". Our collection includes most all of  the Franklin computers.

Many companies made Apple ll clones - mostly they were from China or Taiwan. Their were dozens of these clones however none of them were really a success. The Apple Computer Company put most of them out of business quickly. It would be interesting to hear of anyone who has made a collection of Apple clone computers.

david Larsen
David Larsen
Gaynell Larsen
Space Museum
This has been a busy and fun two weeks with our friends Clement & Hetty  Pierre Louis visiting from Dominica. We just returned from taking them to Dullas airport for a Saturday morning departure back home. Friday we toured the  Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center | National Air and Space Museum near the Dullas airport. If you have the opportunity to visit this is a great air museum with a Space Shuttle and an SR 51 spy plane + 300 or so other very interesting planes. The tour guide told lots of really good stories about many of the planes and the folks associated with them. The Imax theater there has great shows.


  "By David Larsen" KK4WW Computer Collector Historian   
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