2012 was a good year for the GreenMouse Vintage Museum. Many unique items were discovered sometimes in heaps of e-waste and because of their historical value were not discarded, but rather placed in the museum. In early December, a Compaq Portable computer (286 model) in perfect condition found its way through our museum doors. It was an early Christmas gift and a very exciting day. The Compaq Portable computer was quickly added to several other “luggable” computers (Osborne and Kaypro II) that live in the GreenMouse Museum.
According to Wikipedia, “The Compaq Portable was the first product in the Compaq portable series to be commercially available under the Compaq Computer Corporation brand . It was the first IBM PC compatible portable computer. Compaq derived their company name from the phrase “Compatibility and Quality”. Announced in November 1982 and first shipped in January 1983 at a price of US$3,590, this “luggable” suitcase-sized computer was an early all-in-one computers, becoming available two years after the CP/M-based Osborne 1 and Kaypro II, in the same year as the MS-DOS-based (but not entirely IBM PC compatible) Dynalogic Hyperion and a year before the Commodore SX-64. Its design was influenced by that of the Xerox NoteTaker, a prototype computer developed at Xerox PARC in 1976.
The 28 lb (12.5 kg) of computer that made up the Compaq Portable folded up into a luggable case the size of a portable sewing machine. Compaq sold 53,000 units in the first year and set revenue records for American businesses in its first three years of operation.
The Compaq Portable had basically the same hardware as an IBM PC, transplanted into a luggable case, with Compaq’s custom BIOS instead of IBM’s. Compaq did not offer cassette-only models, 64k or less of memory, or single-sided floppy drives as IBM did on the PC. All Portables had 128k and one or two double-sided floppies. The machine used a unique hybrid of the IBM MDA and CGA which supported the latter’s graphics modes, but contained both cards’ text fonts in ROM. When using the internal monochrome monitor, the 9×14 font was used and the 8×8 one when an external monitor was used (the user switched between internal and external monitors by pressing Ctrl+Alt->). With a larger external monitor, this graphics hardware was also used in the original Compaq Deskpro desktop computer. Thus the user got the advantages of both IBM video standards (graphics capabilities plus high-resolution text.”
Please stop by GreenMouse Recycling and visit our growing collection of vintage electronics.