Of the big 3 home computers to be celebrating their 40th anniversaries at VCF East XII, Tom Hornberger put together quite possibly the single most authentic recreation of a home deployment you could imagine. I would dare call this a shrine to Tandy Radio Shack’s TRS-80 Model I, as you would have encountered one in 1977.
Seen here is a TRS-80 Model I in a specially built desk with an inset for the main unit/keyboard, a second inset for the expansion unit and monitor, and a little shelf underneath for the bank of 5¼ floppy drives. Tom brought along an authentic tape deck, Radio Shack pocket amplifier, and even a tiny era-appropriate desk lamp! Documentation, a printer, and software galore shows he was a hardcore TRS-80 user when this was new and commonplace in the home, and Tandy was king of microcomputer sales (if only for a few years).
I learned more about the TRS-80 talking to Tom than I have in all my years in this hobby.
I can’t find myself getting nostalgic about Radio Shack closing. As an electronics enthusiast, they had cheap kits and parts that broke quickly, and among enthusiasts, the TRS-80 was known as the “Trash-80.”
This was one of the three mega exhibits for the 40th anniversary of the big three appliance computers launched in 1977.
Peter Cetinski, Kelly Leavitt, Dean Notarnicola (captain), his son Drew Notarnicola, & Jeffrey Jonas teamed up to display Tandy Radio Shack computers, primarily focusing on the TRS-80 Model 1
First we have some examples of early Tandy products that lead paved the way for the microcomputer boom of 1977. Radio Shack was the ubiquitous source of electronics parts for decades. Then the TRS-80 Model I burst onto the scene, and it was a whole new ballgame! Seen here is a decked out Model I, a Z80 juggernaut complete with acoustic coupler, bank of four floppy drives, stringy floppy (kinda like tape, but not), and even the modern TRS-80 MISE unit.
Later machines moved from Z80 architecture up to the more powerful 6809 with the TRS-80 CoCo I, II, & III (short for Color Computer). Plus, this also lead to the very tiny MC-10 based on the CoCO line. Look how small it is! Oh, and yes, that is a TRS-80-stylized Portable Data Terminal with acoustic coupler built right in.
Stay tuned for more photos, including the TRS-80 Model II, III, 4, and the portables!
Anthony Stramaglia promised Tandy Color Computers, and he sure delivered.
“In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the home computer market was filled
with 6502-based offerings. But in 1980, Tandy Corporation threw their
own hat in the home computer ring and offered a Motorola 6809E-based
micro called the Radio Shack Color Computer — affectionately known as
the CoCo. It developed a devoted following, and as a result, Tandy
released two more generations, the Color Computer II in 1983 and III in
1986. A low-cost entry-level “little brother” called the MC-10 was also
released in 1983. I will exhibit all three generations, an MC-10. and a
variety of peripherals, games and other applications.”