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What was the first personal computer?

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Click here for further information on our rarity scale RARITY: Exceedingly Rare Information on the rarity of this item is unknown.

 YEAR: 1970
 COMPANY: Limrose Electronics
 COUNTRY: England

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Compukit 1

A view of the vintage Compukit 1 an important part of computer history

Although it is a training device, the Compukit 1 may qualify as one of the earliest personal computers ever offered to the public. It pre-dates contenders such as the Kenbak-1 and the NRI 832 by several months. The only digital personal computer we know of that is older is the COMSPACE-650.

The Compukit 1 is, as you might suspect, a kit that the buyer assembled on his/her own. It arrived in a bright red box that was filled with everything that was needed to build it, including a soldering iron and solder. (Of course, you still had to supply your own batteries...some things never change.) Once it was assembled, the buyer had a "mini-computer' that would add binary numbers and manipulate negative numbers. It was described in the accompanying flyer1 as "a logic simulator and educational aid for teaching the fundamentals of computer electronics, digital logic and Boolean algebra". It was, according to the flyer, the "Ideal gift for intelligent teenagers, amateurs, students, teachers and business executives."

If you wanted to buy several of these kits, you could connect them together. At the ITEX70 conference in Manchester in 1970, Limrose Electronics exhibited ten connected kits that could play "Noughts & Crosses" (that's Tic-Tac-Toe for those of us living in the colonies) against a human opponent.

The Compukit 1 was created by Dr. Ravi Raizada who founded Limrose Electronics (now Limrose Group). The flyer points out that the Instruction Book was written by "a Fellow of the British Computer Society". Since Dr. Raizada is a Fellow of the British Computer Society we are assuming that he wrote the Instruction Manual. At one point in his life, Dr. Raizada lived right here in Pennsylvania where he taught at Penn State University (Although I haven't had the opportunity to chat with him, I think he would have been much happier at West Chester University which is part of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education!)

The Compukit 1 in our collection was never assembled. It still has the transistors, diodes, resisters, mounting clips and 2 miniature indicator lamps in their original plastic bags. The box for the soldering iron is in the kit but the soldering iron itself is missing...guess it found a use on another project!

Recently (Feb. 2021), a really nice article was published by deftcoyote at HACKADAY.IO on the Compukit 1. It has some great artwork. If you are interested, you can find it here.

1Two flyers and an Instruction Manual were included with the Compukit in our collection. The two flyers are dated October 1970 and November 1970. The 16 page Instruction Manual is simply dated 1970.

Related Items
      Related Item 1: Compukit 1 Deluxe Model
      Related Item 2: Compukit 2 Brochure

Viewer Stories & Comments
   Manish argal     Jabalpur, India     April 21, 2017

       Hi ravi uncle jee. I am old friend raju argal son. My cell no 08435993224. I am 52 year your friend raju is no more I am dealing with scientific instrument same trade and lpg fittings indian oil corporation job.

   Manish argal     Jabalpur, India     April 21, 2017

       Hi ravi uncle jee. I am old friend raju argal son. My cell no 08435993224. I am 52 year your friend raju is no more I am dealing with scientific instrument same trade and lpg fittings indian oil corporation job.

   Manish argal     Jabalpur, India     April 21, 2017

       Hi ravi uncle jee. I am old friend raju argal son. My cell no 08435993224. I am 52 year your friend raju is no more I am dealing with scientific instrument same trade and lpg fittings indian oil corporation job.

Copyright © 2024 by Early Computers Project, All Rights Reserved.

Click on any of the images below to see the slideshow. Front view of the Compukit 1 board. The Compukit 1 arrived in a striking red box. The Compukit 1 in its original plastic cover. A close up of the center of the board. A close up of the lower right corner of the board. The reverse side of the Compukit 1 board. With board set aside, you see the rest of the kit in the box Close up of the transistors in their original bag. Close up of the resistors and posts in their original bags. More parts and two indicator lights in their original bags. More parts
(Analogs in blue)
  1. AIM-65 (single board)
  2. AIM-65 (factory case)
  3. AIM-65 (Jon Titus)
  4. ALICE micro-ordinateur
  5. Altair 680
  6. Altair 8800
  7. Altair 8800A
  8. Altair 8800b
  9. Altair 8800b Turnkey (see Pertec below)
  10. Altair 8800b (see Pertec below)
  11. Altair 8800b w/ Hardisk Controller & Datakeeper
  12. Altos ACS-8000
  13. American Basic Science Club Analog Computer
  14. AMF Educational Computer
  15. Apple II Plus
  16. ASCI SystemX
  17. ASR 33 Teletype
  18. Automatic Teaching Computer Kit
  19. Beckman ElectroComp Electric Heating Computer
  20. Beckman ElectroComp Energy Savings Computer
  21. Beckman Solid State Fuel Cost Computer
  22. Brainiac K-30
  23. Calif. Computer Systems 2200
  24. CES Ed-Lab 650
  25. Commodore 8032
  26. Commodore 64
  27. Commodore PET 2001
  28. Commodore Super Pet
  29. Compucolor II
  30. Compukit 1
  31. Compukit 1 Deluxe Model
  32. Compukit 2
  33. Compukit UK101
  34. Comspace CT-650
  35. Cosmac Elf (RCA1802)
  36. Cosmac Microtutor
  37. Cosmac Netronics ELF II
  38. Cosmac VIP
  39. Cromemco System I
  40. Cromemco System III
  41. Cromemco Z-2D
  42. Datapoint 2200
  43. Digi-Comp I (flat box)
  44. Digi-Comp I (square box)
  45. Digital Computer Lab
  46. Donner 3500
  47. Durango F-85
  48. Dynabyte
  49. E & L Inst MMD-1
  50. E & L Inst MMD-2
  51. Eagle II
  52. Electric Tabulating Machine (one original counter, 1889)
  53. Electronic Associates TR-10
  54. Electronic Associates TR-10 Model II
  55. Electronic Associates TR-20
  56. Electronic Associates TR-48
  57. Electronic Associates Model 180
  58. Electronic Associates Model 380 Hybrid
  59. Geniac
  60. Google Glass (definitely not vintage)
  61. Heath EC-1 (factory assembled by Heath)
  62. Heathkit EC-1 (kit)
  63. Heathkit ET 3100 trainer
  64. Heathkit H8
  65. Heathkit H9 Video Terminal
  66. Hickok Logic Teaching Sys.
  67. Hickok Servo Teaching Sys.
  68. HP 2115A
  69. HP 85
  70. HP 5036A
  71. HP 9825A
  72. HP 9825B
  73. HP 9830A
  74. Iasis 7301
  75. I-COR MAC-1
  76. ICS Microcomputer Training System
  77. IMSAI 108 (prototype)
  78. IMSAI 8048 Control Computer
  79. IMSAI 8048 (The Dollhouse Computer)
  80. IMSAI 8080
  81. IMSAI PCS-40
  82. IMSAI PCS-80
  83. IMSAI VDP-80
  84. Informer
  85. Intel Intellec MDS
  86. Intel MDS-800
  87. Intel Prompt 48
  88. Intel SBC 80/10
  89. Intel SDK-85
  90. Intel SDK-85 (unassembled)
  91. Intel SDK-86
  92. Intertec Superbrain
  93. ITT MP-EX
  94. JR-01 Computer
  95. KIM-1
  96. LAN-DEC
  97. LAN-DEC 20
  98. LAN-ALOG
  99. Lehrcomputer (Germany)
  100. Lawrence Livermore Lab
  101. Lear Siegler ADM3A
  102. Logikit LK255 (Feedback)
  103. Logix SF-5000 Electronic Computer
  104. MAC-1 Mini Analog Computer
  105. MAC Tutor (Bell Laboratories)
  106. MEK6800D2
  107. Micro 68
  108. Microtan 65
  109. Midwest Scientific Instruments 6800
  110. Minivac 601
  111. Minivac 6010
  112. Mini-Scamp Microcomputer
  113. Nascom I
  114. Nascom II
  115. National Radio Institute 832
  116. NEC TK-80
  117. NorthStar Horizon
  118. Olivetti Programma 101
  119. Olivetti Programma 203
  120. Olivetti Programma 602
  121. Open University PT501
  122. Ordinateur d'Apprentissage JR-01
  123. Osborne 1
  124. OSI 300
  125. OSI 600 (SuperBoard II)
  126. OSI C2-OEM-4
  127. OSI Challenger-1P
  128. Pastoriza Personal Analogue Computer
  129. Pertec MITS 300/25 (Altair desk business system)
  130. Pertec MITS 300/55 (Altair Turnkey business system)
  131. PolyMorphic Systems 8810
  132. PolyMorphic Poly-88
  133. Protech-83
  134. Range Keeper Mk.6 Mechanical Analog Computer, 1926
  135. Range Keeper Mk.7 Mechanical Analog Computer, 1935?
  136. Sargent-Welch Scientific Company Cat. No.7528 Analog Computer
  137. Science of Cambridge MK-14 (Sinclair)
  138. SD Systems Z80 starter kit
  139. Sharp MZ-40K
  140. Sharp MZ-80k
  141. Siemens ECB-85
  142. Signetics Instructor 50
  143. Sinclair ZX-81
  144. Smoke Signal Broadcasting
  145. Sol-20
  146. Spark16
  147. Sphere 1
  148. Sphere/SWTPC Computer System
  149. SWTP CMOS Microlab
  150. SWTP CT-82 Terminal
  151. SWTPC 6800
  152. SWTPC 6800 (w/ Smoke Signal Broadcasting drive)
  153. SWTPC CT-64 Video Terminal, SS-50
  154. SWTPC TV Typewriter II CT-1024
  155. Synertek VIM-1
  156. Synertek SYM-1
  157. Systron-Donner 3500
  158. Tei MCS-112
  159. Tektronix 4006-1
  160. Telefunken RAT 700
  161. TI LCM-1001 (Microprogrammer)
  162. TI LCM-1001 (Microprogrammer)
  163. TI Silent 700 Terminal
  164. TI TM 990/189
  165. Vector 1
  166. Vector 3
  167. Vidac 336
  168. Wang 2200
  169. Welch Scientific Company Cat. No.7528 Analog Computer
  170. Xerox 820 Mark I
  1. Chameleon Plus
  2. Commodore SX64
  3. Epson HX-20
  4. Kaypro I
  5. Kaypro II
  6. Kaypro 2x
  7. Kaypro 16
  8. Osborne 1
  9. Panasonic Senior Partner
  10. Visual Commuter
  1. Babbage's Calculating Engine (1834)
  2. Electric Tabulating Machine (1889, Herman Hollerith's personal copy)
  3. The Hollerith Electric Tabulating System (1890)
  4. Counting a Nation by Electricity (1891)
  5. Calculating Machines (1947)
  6. Moore School Lectures Vol. II (1947)
  7. Mathematical Theory of Communication (1948)
  8. Communication Theory of Secrecy Systems (1949)
  9. The "Moore's Law" article (Electronics, 1965)
  10. Printout from Babbage's Difference Engine #2 (London Science Museum, 2004)