Sunday, January 6, 2013

MARK 8 Personal Computer 1974

David Larsen KK4WW
Dr. John Titus designed and published a construction article about the MARK 8 Computer in the July 1974 'Radio Electronics Magazine'. Dr. Titus  was a graduate student at Virginia Tech and is given credit for being the first to make it possible for an electronic hobbyist to build their very own microcomputer. The article describes how to build the computer however the finished and made to operate.  Several were even made into rather complex control computers.  We have one in our Microcomputer Museum with lots of extra complex circuits and software to make it into a process control computer.
hobbyist had to obtain all the parts on his own.  A company did make the bare printed circuit cards available and the additional parts were a challenge acquire. This limited the number of computers constructed to several hundred or less. To help a 48 page construction guide was made available by the publishers of ’Radio Electronics' for about $5.00.  Most likely only a few MARK 8 microcomputers were ever

The publication of the MARK 8 computer in the July issue of 'Radio Electronics' was the very first time a construction article was published. This was noticed by the competing publication 'Popular Electronics' and followed in January 1975 with an article about the "MITS Altair 8800" microcomputer.  John was first with the MARK 8 and as a result many computer clubs and newsletters were started to help computer hobbyist build and use the MARK 8.

Here is a the whole article in 'Radio Electronics' from  Rich Cini Collector of Classic Computers web site.
Added 9-4-13


                       Original Mark 8 in our Museum display - Floyd Virginia


It is a pleasure to be a colleague and friend of  Dr. John Titus.   John and I worked together in the 'Blacksburg Group' in Blacksburg, Virginia (70's & 80's). During this time the group developed popular books about computers & electronics "The Blacksburg Continuing Education Series".  The group also developed several popular microcomputer trainers, electronic teaching & development hardware and taught dozens of microcomputer workshops. John did the design and development of all our computers.

Update - Here is John last Column in "Design News" December 2013. John tells about 3 mentors in his career - Gosh I had no idea how John felt about those early days in Blacksburg Virginia.  Thank you John for the nice words about our work together - it means a lot to me. Dave 3-31-14 

David Larsen KK4WW

 "by David Larsen" KK4WW Microcomputer Collector/Historian.

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