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2011/30/1 Portable computer and accessories, TRS-80 model 100, plastic / electronic components, made by Tandy Corporation, Japan, 1983. Click to enlarge.

Portable computer, TRS-80 model 100

Designed
The TRS 80 model 100 was sold through the Tandy chain of stores in Australia. Designed by the Kyocera Corporation of Japan, the original incarnation, the Kyotronic 85, released only in Japan, was a slow seller. The rights were sold to Tandy, who remarketed it as the TRS 80 100, and the unit went on to be a very popular model - it being an affordable, highly portable computer.

The computer was given the branding TRS 80 100 due to the success of previous models of personal computers sold by Tandy. The TRS 80s, first sold in 1977, were affordable desk-top computers, and contemporaries of the Commodore PET and the Apple II. Superseding models of the TRS 80 - the Model II, III, 4, Model 16, and 16B did not exhibit innovation in computer architecture, or interface standards. The TRS 80 100, however, entered the TRS 80 brand onto the emerging popularity of the portable computer.

This particular object was used by the donor to compile research data for his Masters of history degree. It is also thought to be the first portable computer to have been taken into the State Library of New South Wales in Sydney to conduct research.

Damian McDonald
Curator
April 2011

Summary

Object No.

2011/30/1

Object Statement

Portable computer and accessories, TRS-80 model 100, plastic / electronic components, made by Tandy Corporation, Japan, 1983

Physical Description

Portable computer and accessories, TRS-80 model 100, plastic / electronic components, made by Tandy Corporation, Japan, 1983

The unit comprises a light tan moulded plastic shell on the top face, and black moulded plastic on the bottom/base. The top face features a QWERTY keyboard of black plastic keys, and an eight line, forty character LCD screen. The right side of the unit features the power switch and power adaptor input, and the back-lighting control for the LCD screen. The rear of the unit features the cassette drive input, and headphones output; as well as the DB-25 RS-232 port, and the printer connector. The bottom of the unit has the battery recess, the information label, and the memory power on/off switch.

Also included are various accessories. These include cables, manuals, a floppy disk, a cover, a carry bag and print outs.

Production

Notes

The TRS-80 System 100 was designed by Kyocera Corporation, Japan. The Tandy Corporation in the United States of America purchased the license and adapted the design for sale in their Radio Shack stores in America and Tandy Stores in Australia. It was manufactured in Japan.

History

Notes

This portable computer was used by the donor to compile and store research data he was conducting for his Masters degree in history. The donor was researching maps and census data from the Eastern Sydney suburbs of Sydney from the mid nineteenth to the mid twentieth centuries. The title of the thesis is 'Development of Coogee and other Sydney Seaside Resorts up to 1920', and was completed at the University of New South Wales; the research was started in 1986. Specifically, the donor accessed and copied data from Sand's Sydney directories from 1840 to 1858, identifying hotels boarding houses, refreshment houses and amusement parks in the Eastern suburbs of Sydney. The donor also recorded, verbatim, as he was an adept touch-typer, information from the 'Sydney Morning Herald' on tram statistics in holiday periods to ascertain the number of visitors to the seaside suburbs of Sydney.

Much of this research was carried out at the State Library of NSW, and Alan Davies, curator of photography at State Library believes it was the first personal computer used at the library. Mr Davies and the donor are working on a project together that will enable the dating of photographs taken of Sydney's Eastern suburbs in the nineteenth and up to the mid twentieth centuries. The donor used the TRS 80 100 to record Randwick Council minutes from 1858 to 1930. The donor notes that this was a slightly easier task when he got to the minutes taken after 1914, as they were hence forth typed rather than handwritten! The donor began looking at the minutes to acertain a date when bathing machines - change-rooms that would actually roll all the way down the beach to the water for modesty's sake - were first used on Coogee beach. He discovered though that by listing minute items of various events in the council area, he would then be able to date photographs of the area; such as modifications to buildings - where council minutes list a building modification, such as say columns were added to a building, a photograph of the building where columns are visible could then be dated to after the date of the particular council minutes that mention the columns.

The thesis is available at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney.

The donor also wrote an article for the journal 'Locality' about the significance of the use of the computer as a tool in history research. Something that may be taken for granted now, but in the mid 1980s was quite revolutionary.

The computer was superseded, and retired by the donor, who in 2011 offered it to the Powerhouse Museum for its collection.

Source

Credit Line

Gift of Lawrence Dunne, 2011

Acquisition Date

30 May 2011

Cite this Object

Harvard

Portable computer, TRS-80 model 100 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 16 April 2021, <https://ma.as/415508>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/415508 |title=Portable computer, TRS-80 model 100 |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=16 April 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}