Exceptional Discovery of Two Examples of the First PC in History (Intel 8008)

Published by Adrien - Saturday, February 24, 2024 - Other Languages: FR, DE, ES, PT

The recent discovery of two Q1 microcomputers, often viewed as precursors to modern desktop computers, by a British clearance company, has sparked significant interest in the technology and computer history world. These devices, found beneath a pile of boxes during the clearance of a property, increase the known surviving examples of this iconic model to three.

The Q1 microcomputer is often seen as the precursor to the modern desktop computer.
Credit: Just Clear

These Q1s, manufactured by the American company Q1 Corporation in 1972, feature a distinctive orange and black design and include a plasma screen. They are distinguished by their use of a single-chip microprocessor, the Intel 8008, making them the world's first fully integrated desktop computers powered by such a component. Before the Q1, computers were equipped with multi-chip microprocessors, marking a significant milestone in computing development.

The discovery was made by employees of Just Clear, a company specializing in house clearances. They initially had no idea of the historical value of their find. The significance of these devices was revealed after consulting an expert. These two models were last used by an oil drilling company in the 1970s, while the location of the third known model is assumed to be somewhere in Scandinavia.

Credit: Just Clear

Paul Neve, a professor of computer science at Kingston University in the UK, emphasizes the Q1's crucial importance in the history of computing: without this innovation, personal computers, Macs, and Apple or Android phones as we know them today would not have existed. The pioneers of the 1970s and 1980s laid the groundwork for the modern computer, which has become an omnipresent device in our daily lives.

The two Q1 microcomputers were temporarily displayed at an exhibition at Kingston University, alongside other key devices in computing history, such as the ZX Spectrum and the BBC Micro. The two Q1s could now be auctioned off, unless a museum or collector seeks to acquire them privately.
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