“Hmmmph – kids today! Why, when I was your age and we wanted a computer, we had to build it ourself. None of them fancy fruit stores to take your money. You had to order the computer from a catalog, then get out the ole’ soldering iron and put it together step by step and piece by piece. Back in my day, we had only 4 thousand BYTES of memory, got our apps from cassette tapes, and thought we were hot stuff! Kids don’t know how good they got it now.”
True enough. In the 1970s, during the first flush of the personal computer revolution, the first computer hobbyists DID build the computer from a kit. In fact, not just the computer, but the keyboard and screen, storage on audio tapes (or floppy discs for the really well-heeled) and even a printer we all available as kits – it it still cost you hundreds if not thousands of 1970s dollars. Zoom in to look at the meagre specs.
Southwest Technical Products of San Antonio Texas did very well by these computer kits (and other audio and electronics kits) for years, until prebuilt Apples , Commodores, and IBM PCs flooded the market. As with most computers from the 1970s, SWTPC microcomputers are highly collectible today.