MCM/70 : first "laptop"?

From: Stan Sieler <>
Date: Mon Oct 20 13:10:37 2003


My candidate for the first "laptop" is the MCM/70, from 1973.

It was an 8008 computer, with APL in ROM, a one line
32-character video display, dual cassettes for mass storage,
internal batteries (so it could run "on your lap" for a bit :),
and "virtual memory" via the casettes.

Some more info at:

I got a phone call yesterday from a guy who owns a working MCM/70
... that he bought new in 1975.
Sadly (for me :), he doesn't want to part with it :(
He confirmed that it could run for a short while on batteries.

The MCM/70 was announced in 1973. I'm not sure of the actual
first shipping date, but his was received in Jan 1975.
(The Computer History Museum's MCM/70 is dated 1974 on the display

Misc notes about the MCM/70 from the guy...

He ordered his MCM/70 in August, 1974 ... and started threatening
legal action in December ... that got him a machine in January 1975.
(I'm not 100% sure of the months.)

This makes me wonder: did the machine *ever* ship in 1973 or 1974,
or did it first ship in 1975?

He said that if the batteries were low, powering on the machine
often resulted in a failure in the power supply. He reduced the
problem by (1) adding a 10-ohm resistor (somewhere unknown); and
(2) switching to a different kind of battery pack (instead of the
individual batteries).

Did I mention that he doesn't want to sell it?

I'm working with him on trying to copy/scan some of the material
he has about the computer (including original advertisements).

Received on Mon Oct 20 2003 - 13:10:37 BST

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