1980s Vintage Computers


My main interest in old computers are old business microcomputers particular the Hewlett-Packard HP-85 and the IBM PC family.

Please follow the links on the left to enter the main sections.

Recent Updates

20/6/21 - Added Merlin Tonto page

10/8/16 - Updated HP-85 Software and added Hornets nest from Practical Computing August 1980

20/7/14 - Updated Celetronics Promicron page

18/2/13 - Added NEC PC-8001 page

1/12/12 - Added another chapter to Son of Hexadecimal Kid

21/11/12 - Added Microwriter MW4 page

12/1/12 - Added PSI Comp 80 page

29/6/11 - Added Larr's Ghost from Practical Computing, November 1980

5/11/08 - Added List of Machines in collection.

5/10/08 - Added Acorn BBC Computer pages

27/5/07 - Added Wireless World magazine.

9/5/07 - Added Cromemco Z-2D and NorthStar Advantage pages to the CP/M section.

17/1/07 - Added more Practical Computing magazine covers.

1/6/06 - Added Transam Tuscan page

23/5/06 - Updated HP-85 pages with Forth ROM info

16/4/06 - Added AES Superplus pages.

8/4/06 - Added HP-9915 pages, updated CP/M pages.

14/10/05 - Added PRM-85 section, and more Practical Computing covers.

22/6/05 - Added Transam Triton review to Practical Computing section.

15/5/05 - Added CP/M Computers page.

23/3/05 - Minor updates to HP-85 pages.

23/11/04 - Added more Practical Computing covers to December 1981 and added pictures to The Hexadecimal Kid stories.

15/11/04 - Added Practical Computing covers for Oct 78 to Dec 79. Updated HP-85 pages for links and tips.

22/4/04 - Added HP-85 Standard and Math Pacs, HP-87 Demo disk, Action Games and UCSD p-system disks to HP-85/87 software.

1/4/04 - Added HP-85 Service ROM to HP-85 / 87 ROMs, and full HP-85 Assembler disk to HP-85/87 software.

16/3/04 - Added HP-85 / 87 parts list, Ski game screen shot.

28/6/03 - Added The Hexadecimal Kid story in 16 parts from Practical Computing.

I would like to find more program listings for the Hewlett-Packard HP-85, which is an unusual 'all-in-one' machine that was a favorite of engineers such as myself.

Top machines:

Apple II Europlus
Commodore CBM 4032 and other Pets
HP 85 and HP 87 desktop computers

Other machines:

I have the obligatory BBC B, BBC B+ 128k, Master line-up. I also have the Z80 and 6502 additional processors, the Teletext adapter, and hope to run CP/M on a BBC B/Z80 set-up.

I have had a few CP/M systems eg Pericom S-100 with twin 8" floppies, Transam Tuscan, Osbourne 1 portable, Merlin 2100 (a rebadged ICL DRS20), Cromemco Z2-D, Zenith Z-120 and NorthStar Advantage. I also have a Research Machines 380Z and 480Z.

Portable systems are also of interest, I have a range going from the HP-110, Husky Hunter 2, Epson PX-4+ through to some DOS based Toshiba machines (from the early 1990s).

I have a few stand-alone systems too which don't really fit into the 'business machines' category, but are representative of the period. These include:

Sharp MZ-80K (built in screen and tape drive)
Nascom1, Nascom 2 (one working and one sadly in need of major repair), with disk drive and Imp printer
Tandy Color Computer 3
Atari 800XL & 512ST
Prinztronic Console

Lastly I have had some fun with a few microprocessor development type boards, in particular a Sinclair MK-14 and a Motorola MEK6800-D2. The MK-14 was sold to fund other projects.

I hope to add some info on other machines that I had an interest in:

UK101 (now sold)
Hitech 10

Apart from Practical Computing, I also have a set of 'Computer User Magazine' from the 1980s, which was aimed at home users but ran some interesting articles & interviews, and featured a detailed look (in colour) at a different machine each month.

I will update my links to other favourite computer collections on the web, but I would recommend a web search for vintage computer collections.

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Thanks to..

Matthew Saxby, who got me started with BBC Bs and an IBM AT; Graham Vine, for a wide range of machines and manuals; Bob Hahm, Oliver Williams, Gil Smith, Vassilis Prevelakis, Everett Kaser and many more HP collectors for their support and encouragement;  several very kind people for donations of old equipment; plus many more of you out there who have given advice in response on various web forums and e-mail pleas for help (and back in the day usenet postings too).

About me

I am John Shadbolt and live in the UK.

General links


The Mind Machine

Daves Old Computers

Digidome (sadly no more, this is link to the Internet Archive. I particularly like the use of plants in most of the photos)

e-mail me

This page was last revised on: 30/12/17