Altair 8800b computer system, 1977-1982

Made:
1977-1982 in United States

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Altair 8800b Working System, made by Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS), United States, 1977-1982.

The Altair was widely acknowledged as the first home computer kit. It was developed by Ed Roberts, an American electronics enthusiast who had founded a company called Model Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS), originally to sell calculator kits. He was able to source Intel 8080 microchips to power the computer kits for just $75, when the standard retail price was $350, meaning that the kit could be sold for less that $400. Roberts expected to sell a few hundred build-it-yourself kits to dedicated hobbyists, but thousands of kits were bought in the first month. The front switch Altair system was never sold in the UK - this computer was imported from the US by the Head of Technology at a Secondary school in Kent in the late 1970s.

On display

Science Museum: Information Age Gallery: Web

If you are visiting to see this object, please contact us in advance to make sure that it will be on display.

Details

Category:
Computing & Data Processing
Object Number:
2014-41
type:
personal computer
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • computer
credit:
Donated by Leigh Academy Trust
status:
Permanent collection

Cite this page

Rights

We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.


Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero


Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence

Using our data

Download

Download catalogue entry as json

Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.