It doesn’t seem nearly thirty years ago when Kevin and I started our individual businesses only to merge them a few years later to create Ainsworth Maguire PR. Co-incidentally, we both located in what was for 1985 a modern concept of a business centre. Without knowing, we both also purchased our first PCs which happened to be the same. IBM was too expensive. However, Ferranti, a UK company better known for defence electronics than for mass production, had just started to produce what was amongst the first true IBM compatible desk top computers. And here is one of our first computers.
We gave this away many years ago so never expected to see it again. However, before it meets its final resting place, we thought it nostalgic enough to take a picture. We are hoping, cleaned up, it might find a home in a museum of IT somewhere.
As well as being cheaper than a genuine IBM PC, it had a better base specification – sporting two 360k 5¼ disk drives, 256K memory, a 16 bit microprocessor and capable of colour display. It also came with a complete suite of software – including word processing, spreadsheets and database. Hooked up to both a daisy wheel printer and high speed dot matrix, we were able to produce both letter quality documents and near letter quality mass mailers in quick time.
It seems incredible now that we could run our public relations business so well on what seems such low specifications by today’s standard. Though it is built like a tank, which you soon realise when you try to lift it up!
Given how well Ferranti made these computers and for a time they were so ahead of any competition, the company could have been where Dell is today, but it wasn’t to be.