A parallel Worlds

Sunday December 19 2010 / Science & Technology

$210,000 for a 35 year old computer with a less-than-mind-blowing 8K bytes of RAM memory (not even enough for a one page Word document file) seems a bit steep. Especially as, while it was advertised in its day as being only “personal computer” on the market with a fully assembled motherboard, that did mean that the user still had to purchase separately a keyboard, power supply, case and display.

And believe it or not, this was consider a turnkey computer in its day as the only other options available for home computing at the time were to completely assemble everything from scratch, including the motherboard.

The computer sold at auction wasn't just any number cruncher however, this was one of the original Apple 1 personal computers, hand built in 1976 by Apple founders by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, and it was designed, manufactured and sold from the garage of Steve Jobs's parents.

The $210,000 computer came complete with its original packaging and a letter answering technical questions about the computer, which was signed by Apple co-founder and current Chief Executive, Steve Jobs.

The packaging comes with a return label showing Steve Jobs’ parents address, whose garage was the first Apple Computer Inc. registered headquarters and the invoice shows ‘Steven’ as the salesman.

It originally sold for $666.66 (excluding keyboard, power supply and screen)

                 Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs in the garage of Job's parents

Present at the auction was none other than Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computer. “Today my heart went out as I got to see things auctioned off like the Turing documents and the Enigma machine and the Apple I,” Woz told journalists right after the auction. “It really was an important step – I didn’t feel that way when I designed it. … I’m very delighted for the gentleman who purchased it.” The Turing documents he speaks of are writings by British mathematician Alan Turing, and the Enigma is a historic German code-making machine.

It is believed that 30-50 of the original Apple 1 computers may still exist today.

So now you have another excuse not to throw out all of that rubbish under the stairs and remember, if you receive a new Macbook, iPhone or iPad this Christmas, don't through away the old one!

Suggested by
Maximilian Büsser