Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Vintage Computer Apple 1 Microcomputer in the Bugbook Microcomputer Museum Floyd Virginia

The John Burch Apple 1 in Davids Collection

 Apple 1 Microcomputer
David Larsen, LCF Group Collection
Many computer collectors have ask me - How did you acquire an Apple 1 computer ?  Good question because their are only about 50 or less of the original 200 made in the garage by Steve Wozniak & Steve Jobs in 1976.  This did not happen as a one time event. I was involved with microcomputer's from  day one in 1971 when the 4004 microprocessor chip was introduced commercially by Intel.  Here is how Wozniak wrote basic for the Apple 1.

The Apple 1 as purchased from John Burch was only a single board as seen above.  Steve Wozniak designed it using the 6502 microprocessor because it was very low cost compared to the  popular 6800 or 8080 microprocessor. Owners had to add the AC power transformers, keyboard and TV as an output display device to get a simple operational computer. You can see the transformers and keyboard that was added to make my Apple 1 operation in the photos below. Even before all the Apple 1's were sold Wozniak realized that a much more plug and play computer would be more popular and started the design of the famous Apple 2.  The Apple 1 and 2 were designed in total including the initial software by Wozniak. He was really a brilliant designer to make the computers with minimum amount of hardware and efficient  software.
Original Apple logo

You can see this computer in the Apple 1 registry by Mike Willegal see - 
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My association with computers actually began in September 1957 when the Navy sent me to school at Remington Rand Univac in St. Paul MN. I was just out of high school and only 19 at the time. The computers in those days were really big room size vacuum tube monsters. It was fun and exciting to be a part of the Navy program to install one of the Univac computers at the War College in Norfolk VA.

In 1967 I started my career as faculty member teaching Electronic Instrumentation and Automation at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg VA.  It was here that I become associated with microcomputers as a normal part of my teaching.  I had many great experiences during this time and started collecting microcomputer memorabilia and continue to this day. To build the extensive collection I have today I advertised in various publications "Wanted pre1980 microcomputers for Historical Collection". This advertisement was placed in many computer & Electronic publications for more than 30 years. The most effective publication was 'Computer Shopper'. Running the advertisement for so long shows that repeat consistent advertising pays off. I had many calls from folks who had seen the advertisement for years and now were going into retirement or nursing home and call " I have been saving this computer for years but can't do it any longer and hope you can add it to your historical collection".  Many times it was possible for me to add great computers and other items to the collection.

                               David introduces himself  to you in the audio player above

David is interviewed by Robbie Harris of WVTF public radio July 29,2013.

David working on his Apple 1 purchased from Mr. Burch.
I have had about 10 Apple 1 Computers offered to me over the past 30 years.  I keep a log of all the calls and still have the logs. Most of the Apple 1 computers were out of my price range however over the years I was in a position to acquire several including the one I describe in this blog.

I received a call from John Burch in the early 90's and he told me he was ready to part with his Apple 1 computer however all the collectors he had talked to wanted him to just give them the computer. The Apple 1 computers were selling at reported values of $10,000 to up to $50,000 during that time. I don't see how any rational collector would expect to get one free.   Mr. Burch and I arrived at terms agreeable to both  of us.

John told me he was the original owner of the computer and he had purchased it at a computer club meeting out of the back of a car from Steve Wozniak. (Steve Wozniak was the brilliant designer of the Apple 1 and 2).  The Apple 1 did not come in any kind of case. This has beautiful wood case and I did not know who made the case. Some of the papers I received with the computer indicated it was from a Byte Shop so maybe it was one Wozniak was selling one for Byte Shop.He told me it was working when he sold it to me and I plan to make sure it is a  working computer this year. I think I can do this myself but do have some friends near here who are very good and willing to help.

The serial interface card for the Apple 1
Many original manuals, data sheets, & cassette tape included

 This is a beautiful computer and I hope to have it public display in the future.     

 "by David Larsen" KK4WW
Collector Historian

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