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TRS80 Model 1 with peripherals

A fine example of the TRS80 Model 1 (loaded)

We unpacked this mint condition TRS80 Model 1 (Level II 16K) while being visited (in May 2002) by journalist Paul Wallich of the IEEE Spectrum online who wrote this story "Gigabits in the Woods" about his DigiBarn experience as part of a larger story about the Computer History Museum. Thanks Paul!

From the TRS-80 Home Page's section on the Model I:

The TRS-80 Model 1 was Radio Shack's first personal computer. It was developed back in the late 1970's when the only home computers available to the general public were things like the Altair kits, and (if I remember correctly) the first Apple machine.

The Model 1 was first made available with a 4 kilobyte tiny BASIC in ROM, and either 4 or 16 kilobytes of RAM. The CPU board of the computer was contained in the keyboard unit, and it used a separate black and white monitor. The monitor was really a RCA black and white TV without the TV guts in it. A friend of mine had one, and I was almost able to talk her out of it. (Thanks to Robert Bottomley who corrected me when I remembered it as a Sony!)...

Later, the ROM was upgraded to a 12K "Level 2" BASIC, which was much more advanced. Level 2 BASIC was actually useful to write real programs in, though all it supported for storage of programs and data was cassette tape. Level 2 BASIC and 16K of RAM became the "standard" configuration.

Note from the Curator: I was told that the reason most of the early TRS-80 line was silver in color is that the monitor for the Model I was actually a cheap consumer TV that the Radio Shack division had a warehouse of that they couldn't move. Therefore, the consumer electronics division "ordered" the fledgeling computer division to make their computer (and by logic, all peripherals) silver. Talk about a great design criterion! This silver color carried forward all the way to the monster Model II.

The Stringy Floppy, an option with the TRS80 Mod 1

Note also with our Model I came the infamous "Stringy Floppy" drive, actually a
customized cassette tape drive, but since "tape was uncool" by that time, the name suggested "a floppy but all strung out" (yeah, that's the ticket! ;-).

The Model 1, Level II (16K)
Loaded with peripherals!
Paul modeling the TRS80
Curator Bruce Damer and Paul

The rare and strange
"stringing floppy drive"
(actually just a tape drive)

Stringy Floppy documentation
Stringiny Floppy cartridge
What can the Mod 1 do!
Side of TRS80 expansion unit
CPU and keyboard
Original Mod 1 manual

See Also:

Ad introducing the Model I from BYTE, November 1977

(Thanks for scanning this, Michael Holley)

The DigiBarn's other Tandy/Radio Shack (TRS-80) computer systems

Our page on the Stringy Floppy

The TRS-80 Home Page's section on the Model I

8bit micro's pages on the Model I

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