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This Week in Tech History: The TRS-80 Goes on Sale

IBM dedicates a massive, 51-foot long calculator, one of the first mass-produced computers goes on sale to the public, and The World Wide Web is released… It all happened This Week in Tech History.

This week in 1876 – Thomas Edison patented the mimeograph machine. He described it as a method of preparing autographic stencils for printing Many of us remember mimeograph copies from school. Those nice-smelling papers with the purple ink on them.

1944 – IBM dedicated the first program-controlled calculator, the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator – better known as the Harvard Mark I. This wasn’t the kind of calculator you could throw in you backpack. This calculator used 765,000 electromechanical components and hundreds of miles of wire. It was 51 feet long, 8 feet high and 2 feet deep.

1955 – Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering sold its first transistor radios in Japan. While you may not know Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering, you may know their new, and easier, name… Sony.

1977 – Tandy Corporation announced the TRS-80, one of the world’s first mass-produced personal computers. It was sold by Tandy Corporation through their Radio Shack stores. The name is an abbreviation of Tandy/Radio Shack, Z-80 microprocessor.

And this week in 1991 – Tim Berners-Lee released files describing his idea for the World Wide Web. Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web two years earlier while working at CERN, The European Organization for Nuclear Research. The decision was made, thankfully, to release the World Wide Web into public domain, rather than profiting from it. As a result, the World Wide Web is now a part of our everyday life.

Written by Chris Graveline

Chris has covered consumer technology for over 20 years. He is 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.

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