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This Week in Tech History: The Age of the Personal Computer

The phonograph is born, a new way to answer the phone is proposed, and the personal computer makes its debut… It all happened This Week in Tech History.

This week in 1877 – Thomas Edison finished figuring out his first phonograph. He handed the model of his invention to John Kreusi with instructions on how to build it. Less than 30 hours later, they had a machine that worked on the first try.

Also in 1877 – Thomas Edison wrote the president of the Telegraph Company in Pittsburgh, PA. The letter stated that the word, “hello” would be a more appropriate greeting than “ahoy,” as suggested by Alexander Graham Bell when answering the telephone.

And this week in 1981 – IBM introduced the personal computer with their 5150 model. The IBM PC ran on the Intel 8088 microprocessor at 4.77 mHz. It had 16 kilobytes of memory, no built-in clock or video capability — it was available however, with an optional color monitor. Prices started at around $1,500. The IBM PC was a smashing success and IBM quickly became the #1 microcomputer company, dropping Apple to #2.

Written by Chris Graveline

Chris Graveline

Chris has covered consumer technology for 14 years. He is a producer of Into Tomorrow with Dave Graveline and the host of This Week in Tech History as well as a regular co-host on "Into Tomorrow with Dave Graveline" and our Technical Director.

1733 posts

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