Home | About | Collections | Stories | Help! | News & Links | Friends | Lets Talk! | Events & Visiting | Search

IBM Personal Computer 5150
and VisiCalc for the IBM PC

The IBM PC 5150

The IBM PC (known inside IBM as the model 5150) was launched on August 12, 1981 and represented IBM's entry into the microcomputer marketplace. The DigiBarn has an IBM PC with a built-in 5MB hard disk (a somewhat unusual aftermarket upgrade). A typical IBM PC shipped with dual 5 1/4 inch floppy drives. The IBM PC was almost entirely built out of components made by companies other than IBM. IBM called this "open architecture" and this was a great departure from its prior "personal" computer model, the 5120, built entirely by IBM and launched in 1980. The IBM PC came bundled with Microsoft's Disk Operating System (called PC-DOS in its IBM incarnation) and a number of software packages were ready to go for it on the day of launch, including VisiCorp's VisiCalc, displayed here with the IBM PC 5150.

The IBM PC changed the personal computing world and its open architecture led to clones and an entire industry of third party software and hardware vendors that put this platform on top as the dominant type of microcomputer by the 1990s. Many firms and platforms fell by the wayside or ended up surviving in niches as a result. Some commentary on the open versus closed approaches of IBM and Apple by DigiBarn curator Bruce Damer may be of interest here as well as Marcin Wichary's 2006 interview with Bruce on the 25th anniverary of the launch of the IBM PC.

The IBM PC 5150
IBM Labels, practically the only
part made by IBM
Personal Computer Display
Monitor shows IBM property number
Floppy and 5MB hard drive (installed after delivery)
Serial number, etc
Label showing 5150 model number
Power and peripherals
Personal Computer Display model was 5151
Coverplate for floppy/hard drive
Removing the cover plate

Know anything about the IBM PC or have a personal story to tell? Contact us!

See Also:

Our special story on the 25th anniversary of the launch of the IBM PC

Erik Klein's photos and movies of the original IBM PC in operation

VisiCalc for the IBM PC 5150

The DigiBarn pages on the IBM PC's predecessor, the IBM 5120
and a successor, the IBM PC/AT and PC 5155 transportable

The IBM PC Jr.

Please send site comments to our Webmaster.
Please see our notices about the content of this site and its usage.
(cc) 1998- Digibarn Computer Museum, some rights reserved under this Creative Commons license.