Obit of the Day: Helped Put the “Home” in Home Computer
The history of personal computing can reflect on 1977 as a year that changed everything. Before that time if you wanted a personal computer you would buy the parts, assemble it, and then begin using. Fine if you were an engineer. Not so great if you simply wanted a family computer.
In 1977 the home computing revolution began with the release of three computers: the Apple II, the Commodore PET, and the TRS-80. The latter, manufactured by Tandy Corporation and sold through RadioShack was the marketing idea of RadioShack president Lewis Kornfeld.
Mr. Kornfeld, who died on August 11, 2013 at the age of 97, first saw the computer, a simple cathode ray tube and keyboard, and said “You let me know when I can play chess on it, and if it will, I’m going to put the damned thing in our line.”
Originally Tandy made 1,000 TRS-80s, but sold 5,000 in the first year. It’s retail price was $600. (For that $600 you received a monitor, a Keyboard/CPU with 4 KB - kilobytes - of RAM, and a cassette drive.)
Mr. Kornfeld saw his introduction of the TRS-80 as his greatest achievement.
Later in life, Mr. Kornfeld turned to poetry, publishing a volume of his works at the age of 90. The collection was titled LXXXX.
(Image of an Italian advertisement for the TRS-80 from February 1980 is courtesy of www.1000bit.it)
Also on Obit of the Day:
Jack Tramiel, inventor of the Commodore
Steve Jobs, featuring the full-length 1984 Macintosh commercial