Vintage Computing

… where vintage is defined as “older than me”, or at least “back when I was a kid.” ;-)
Pocket-sized replicas of 1950’s magnetic drum computers, and a mouse from 1968.


An FPGA-based LGP-30 Replica. The LGP-30 was a commercial computer, released in 1956. Due to its simple design and relatively low cost, it may be seen as the first “personal computer” – to be used by a single user as their “desk computer”. (It could sit by your desk, and was the size of a desk too.) Designed in the age of vacuum tubes, it needed only 113 tubes in total, of which only 24 were used in the CPU itself!


The LGP-30’s big brother. In 1960, Royal Precision proudly released the RPC-4000: Fully transistorized, which enables more complex CPU logic; more flexible, scalable peripherals, and – a slow, non-random-access magnetic drum! Which is why so few of us have heard of Royal Precision ever since…

Telefunken Rollkugel

The RKS 100-86 “Rollkugel-Steuerung” was the first ball-type mouse, designed by Telefunken in 1968. It was probably also the first mouse to be sold commercially, a few years ahead of the Xerox Alto. This page shows photos of my Rollkugel, gives details about the encoders and pinout, and describes an interface which connects the RKS 100-86 to a modern computer.