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2017/12/1 Computer processor, monitor and keyboard, plastic / glass / metal, made by TeleVideo, Sunnyvale, California, United States of America, 1983-1990. Click to enlarge.

TeleVideo TS-1605 computer and keyboard

Made c 1983

This computer was designed and manufactured by TeleVideo in Sunnyvale California, USA in the early 1980s. The design of this computer demonstrates a superior understanding of user (people) needs when compared to other office machines of the same period. The low profile keyboard with large palm rest to reduce user fatigue is particularly prescient of later laptop keyboard designs by Apple. The adjustable monitor with a green phosphor CRT for reduced eye strain are further evidence of ergonomic co...


Object No.


Object Statement

Computer processor, monitor and keyboard, plastic / glass / metal, made by TeleVideo, Sunnyvale, California, United States of America, 1983-1990

Physical Description

A computer processor, monitor and keyboard. The processor and monitor are part of a single integrated unit, while the keyboard is separate. The exterior of the processor is made of white plastic, and the front of the monitor and the keyboard are grey plastic. The processor part stands upright, and has a black panel on the front containing two 5 ¼ inch floppy drives, one above the other. The back of the processor has a dark grey panel with various inputs, outputs, dials and switches. The front of the monitor has a black label with the brand name ?TeleVideo' and a logo in the bottom left corner, and a second sticker on the back. The keyboard has a QUERTY layout, with numeric keypad and 10 user-definable function keys. The keyboard has a black label with ?Tele-PC' in the top right corner. The keyboard is connected to the computer by a black coiled telephone-style cord.


There are four stickers or labels on different parts of the computer system. On the front of the monitor is a sticker with the writing ?TeleVideo? and the TeleVideo logo. On the back of the monitor is a second sticker with the logo and the writing ?TeleVideo / Televideo® Systems Inc / 1170 Morse Avenue / Sunnyvale, California 94082?. On the side of the monitor is a third sticker with the TeleVideo logo, and on the keyboard is a sticker with the writing ?Tele-PC?. On the back of the processor are three badges, two of which read ?Case and monitor assembled in Korea / Electronics and final assembly made in USA?. The other badge reads ?This equipment complies with the requirements in Part 15 of FCC Rules for a Class A computing decide. Operation of this equipment in a residential area may cause unacceptable interference to radio and TV reception requiring the operator to take whatever steps are necessary to correct the interference?. Various other inputs, outputs, switches and dials on the back of the processor are also labelled.



c 1983


This computer was designed and manufactured by TeleVideo in Sunnyvale California, USA. The case and monitor were assembled in Korea, with electronics and final assembly made in the USA.

US Company TeleVideo was founded by Dr. K. Philip Hwang in 1975, and had its headquarters in Sunnyvale, California. The company specialised in the development and manufacturing of computer terminals. They pioneered the introduction of ?smart' terminals, containing Intel microprocessors, at a time when ?dumb' terminals were the industry standard. They later went on to develop a second market in video display products. In 2006 the company filed for Bankruptcy.
TeleVideo made several similar models this design, including the TS-800 series (TS 800, TS_802, TS-803) and the TS-1600 series (TS-1603, TS-1605).

TS-803 (which succeeded the earlier TS-802), the TS-1603, and the TS-1605. These computers had a 16-bit single-board microcomputer utilising Intel's 8088 microprocessor. They were based on the traditional Z80 CP/M system (which was later displaced by IBM's MS-DOS). The computers had a system memory of 128 kilobytes (with the option to upgrade to 256 KB), and a typical hard drive size of a few megabytes.

The computer featured a unique ergonomic design, with adjustable monitor and keyboard allowing the user to move these to the most comfortable position, low profile keyboard with large palm rest to reduce user fatigue even with extended use, and a green phosphor CRT monitor for reduced eye strain. The design with the combined processor and monitor was also unique and makes it aesthetically a very interesting piece.





This computer was owned by Harrie Bruce Murrell (known to his friends as Bruce), who owned a Real Estate agency in St Leonards. The computer was purchased by the business, Harrie Murrell Pty Limited, sometime between 1983 and 1990 (most likely in the late 1980s). Bruce was a director of the company and the only director who had an interest in applying a computer to the business.

This machine was used in the office to communicate with a computer at the Estate Agents' Cooperative (EAC). This allowed the user to access property listings lodged by other agents with the cooperative, and to lodge their own listings. It also allowed agents to split commissions if they made a joint sale. The computer was also used by the owner's step-grandson who was to communicate with the central computer at the University of New South Wales (at which he was then a student).

The computer was used from the late 1980s or early 1990s, before the internet was commonly available. It is believed that the computer used fax-like audio coupling down the telephone landline to communicate with other computers. The owner states that it acted as a ?dumb terminal', however research into the TeleVideo company and this computer reveals that it was actually a pioneer in the development of ?smart' terminals.

When the real estate business was sold about 20 years ago, the new owner had no interest in the machine as it was well and truly obsolete. As a result, Bruce effectively took ownership of it from Harrie Murrell Pty Limited at zero cost. After the computer was no longer being used, it was stored in the owner's loft, where it remained until it was donated to the Museum in 2017.

A TS-800 or TS-1600 series computer, like this one, was used in the library in the cult movie ?Pretty in Pink'.


Credit Line

Gift of Harrie Bruce Murrell, 2017

Acquisition Date

22 March 2017

Cite this Object


TeleVideo TS-1605 computer and keyboard 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 31 March 2020, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=TeleVideo TS-1605 computer and keyboard |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=31 March 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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