The ZTS Collection

When you were seventeen and you bought your first car (a brown Mini in my case) it probably cost a few hundred quid and was basically all you could afford. All the really classic cars were way out of of your league, trouble is that 5, 10, 20 years down the line all those classics cost even more now than they did then! Thankfully, the same is NOT true of computers.

When I got my first home computer (a ZX Spectrum) it cost my parents about £175, but at the time the machine to have would have been the new Apple Macintosh, but at $2,500 it was a little more than my folks would spend on a twelve year old for Christmas. Today you can pick them for next to nothing. What this means is that a collection of some of the most influential computers ever built is achievable even on a modest budget.

Ladies and gentlemen, we give you…

The Ziontech Collection of Significance.

aka… the shelves with all the old stuff.

Sinclair ZX Spectrum

Name: ZX Spectrum 48k
Manufacturer: Sinclair Research Ltd
Date of Manufacture: 1982
Original Price: £175

I will kick of the collection with my own addition. This is my first ever computer, given to me for Christmas in 1982. The Spectrum or Speccie, as it came to be known, was the third really successful machine from Sinclair, the others being the ZX80 and ZX81.

The Spectrum was among the first mainstream home computers in the UK, similar in significance to the Commodore 64 in the USA. The introduction of the ZX Spectrum led to a boom in companies producing software and hardware for the machine, the effects of which are still seen today; some credit it as the machine which launched the UK IT industry. Licensing deals and clones followed, and earned Clive Sinclair a knighthood for “services to British industry”.

As you can see the example we have is a little “beat up” but it’s to be expected considering its age and history, and yes, the Pentium badge was a later addition. I spent many a happy hour playing games such as Manic Miner, Ant Attack and Jet Set Willy on this very machine… Oh, and yes, it still works!

Sinclair ZX81

Name: ZX81
Manufacturer: Sinclair Research Ltd
Date of Manufacture: 1981
Original Price: £69.99

The iconic classic that really put Sinclair on the home computing map. The machine’s distinctive appearance was the work of industrial designer Rick Dickinson. Video output was to a television set, and saving and loading programs was via an ordinary home audio tape recorder to audio cassette. It uses a membrane keyboard which really could be a pain.

This example is in excellent condition with original box, the infamous 16k Ram Pack and (as you can see in the picture) the quite brilliant, yet bizarre, spark printer.

Apple Macintosh

Name: Macintosh (M0001)
Manufacturer: Apple Computer, Inc.
Date of Manufacture: Sep 1984
Original Price: $2,495

What can you say about this amazing machine? This is one of the only computers that survives even until today. The “Mac” has gone through many changes over the years but this is the first of them. It was the first commercially successful personal computer to feature a mouse and a graphical user interface.

The Macintosh project started in the late 1970s with Jef Raskin, an Apple employee, who envisioned an easy-to-use, low-cost computer for the average consumer. He wanted to name the computer after his favourite type of apple, the McIntosh. The design caught the attention of Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple. Realizing that the Macintosh was more marketable than the Apple Lisa, he began to focus his attention on the project.

The Macintosh was introduced by the now famous $1.5 million Ridley Scott television commercial, “1984″. The commercial aired during the third quarter of Super Bowl on 22 January 1984 and is now considered a “watershed event” and a “masterpiece.”

This example is one of the last of the original M0001 models. The serial number indicates it was manufactured in California in the first week of September 1984. Only a few days later, on the 10th September this model was superseded by the Macintosh 128k and Macintosh 512k.

Apple eMate 300

Name: eMate 300
Manufacturer: Apple Computer, Inc.
Date of Manufacture: 1997
Original Price: $800

The eMate 300 was a PDA (of sorts) manufactured and sold by Apple Computer to the education market as a low-cost laptop running the Newton operating system. It had a backlit greyscale screen, a stylus pen and a full size keyboard.

The green-coloured translucent design by Jonathan Ive (designer of the ipod, iphone, iMac, Macbook etc) eventually influenced the first “clamshell” iBook series of laptops.

This example is in mint condition and comes in its original packaging “as new”.



Apple Newton MessagePad

Name: Newton MessagePad H1000
Manufacturer: Apple Computer, Inc.
Date of Manufacture: 1993
Original Price: $699.99

The MessagePad was the first series of PDA devices developed by Apple for the Newton platform in 1993. Some electronic engineering and the manufacture of Apple’s MessagePad devices was done in Japan by the Sharp Corporation. The devices were based on the ARM 610 RISC processor and all featured handwriting recognition software and were developed and marketed by Apple. The devices ran the Newton OS.

Apple II

Name: Apple ][ Europlus
Manufacturer: Apple Computer Co.
Date of Manufacture: 1978
Original Price: $1,200

The Apple II was one of the first highly successful mass produced computers. The Apple II became one of the most recognizable and successful computers during the 1980s. It was aggressively marketed through volume discounts and manufacturing arrangements to educational institutions which resulted in it being the first computer in widespread use in American secondary schools.

The Apple II Europlus, included the Applesoft BASIC programming language in ROM. This Microsoft-authored dialect of BASIC, which was previously available only as an upgrade, supported floating-point arithmetic, and became the standard BASIC dialect on the Apple II series.

When we got this one I couldn't help but do a little nostalgic "Peek'n & Poke'n" but the site of a computer from 1978 hooked up to a 1080p 42" widescreen was a little weird!

Atari Portfolio

Name: Portfolio
Manufacturer: Atari Corporation
Date of Manufacture: 1989
Original Price: $399.95

The Atari Portfolio – the world’s first handheld/palmtop/pocket “PC” and importantly is an MS-DOS compatible computer. The Portfolio is almost the exact same size as a VHS VCR tape.

The Portfolio doesn’t really run MS-DOS, it runs DIP-DOS. It was designed by Distributed Information Processing (DIP) from Guildford, UK – this is their version of an MS-DOS 2.11 compatible operating system. This meant that writing/running fairly standard applications on a portfolio was a reality, giving it a edge on any other handheld of its day.

There is no internal floppy or hard drive for data storage, all data is stored in the internal RAM memory. There is a slot on the left side for an optional memory card.

In Terminator 2: Judgement Day the young John Conner uses a Portfolio to hack an ATM machine and to bypass the security at Cyberdyne Systems, so it must be good, right?

Apple PowerBook

Name: PowerBook 170
Manufacturer: Apple Computer, Inc.
Date of Manufacture: 1991
Original Price: $4,600

In 1991 apple released the PowerBook 100 series of portable computers. At the bottom of the range was the 100, a Sony designed miniaturisation of the earlier Macintosh Portable. The 140 and 170 models were produced entirely by Apple and with the 25MHz Motorola 68030 CPU, 4 MB RAM, 80 MB Hard Drive and 640 X 480 Active Matrix screen, the 170 reflected cutting edge portable computing.

The PowerBook was also the first machine to push the Keyboard back allowing for space to rest your palms whilst typing. This gave it what we now consider to be the archetypal “laptop” design, still seen today.

As the first really useful portable Macintosh computers, the PowerBooks were a great success for Apple, selling over 100,000 in the first three months alone, and sales in excess of $1 billion in the first year.

Interestingly the PowerBook 100 was the most compact Apple for the next 10 years until the Titanium PowerBook of 2001.

Atari VCS (Heavy Sixer)

Name: CX2600
Manufacturer: Atari Inc.
Date of Manufacture: 1977
Original Price: $199.95

Not considered an actual computer per se, but the Atari VCS is the first successful microprocessor-based hardware gaming system, with interchangeable cartridges containing the game code. The success of the early Pong games created a demand for more and better video games to be played at home.

This is the original 1977 Atari Video Computer System, and this particular design was only produced for one year. Because it features six chrome-like switches and has heavy internal RF Shielding, some collectors refer to this as a “Heavy Sixer”. At first glance it looks just like the CX2600 that follows in 1978, but it is noticably heavier when compared, and has some extra plastic molding around the back and sides of the unit. These units were manufactured in Sunnyvale, California, and there is a tag on the underside from the manufacturing plant to indicate this. There is also a serial number on the unit itself with a matching serial number sticker on the box. The later model was manufactured in Hong Kong.

Atari Lynx

Name: Lynx II
Manufacturer: Atari Corporation.
Date of Manufacture: 1991
Original Price: $99

The Atari Lynx was the world’s first colour handheld portable video game system. Released in 1989, the Lynx offered multi-player functionality, 3D graphic capabilities, reversible controls, and a back lit colour LCD screen. The Lynx features a strong library of games and technical abilities beyond that of its contemporaries. Unfortunately, the Lynx was ultimately unsuccessful due to Atari’s inability to persuade developers to write enough high profile games for the system.

This example is actually a second generation Lynx, released in 1991. The new system (referred to within Atari Corp. as the “Lynx II”) featured rubber hand grips and a clearer back lit color screen with a power save option (which turned off the LCD panel’s back lighting). It also replaced the monaural headphone jack of the original Lynx with one wired for stereo. The new packaging made the Lynx available without any accessories, dropping the price to $99. Although sales improved, Nintendo still dominated the handheld market. By ’94 Atari had all but given up on everything bar their Jaguar console and in 1996 eventually shut up shop for good. This makes the Lynx both Atari’s first and last handheld console.

Apple iMac (Bondi Blue)

Name: iMac G3
Manufacturer: Apple Computer, Inc.
Date of Manufacture: 1998
Original Price: $1299

The original iMac was an all-in-one shipped in an entirely new “Bondi Blue” translucent plastic case.  It ran the G3 PowerPC 750 processor at 233Mhz and had 4Gb hard drive.  It had a tray loading CD-ROM, a USB keyboard and a USB mouse.  It had a maximum RAM of 256Mb and an ATI Rage IIc graphics card.  The built-in monitor was a 15-inch shadow mask CRT with a 13.8” viewable area.

This example is an original Rev-A version in perfect working order.

Sharp PC-1360

Name: PC-1360
Manufacturer: Sharp Corporation.
Date of Manufacture: 1987
Original Price: $250

The Sharp PC-1350 is a small pocket computer manufactured by Sharp.  it can also be considered as an electronic calculator

The PC-1350 was introduced in 1984 and was used by engineers, and favored by programmers for its decent programming and graphical capabilities. It was superseded in 1987 by the PC-1360, which featured one additional RAM expansion port, improved BASIC, Floppy disk capability and a faster CPU.
It was the top model of the (very small, only two models) 13XX series. It has a LCD display with four lines, also the SC61860 CPU, two RAM extension slot which work with the cynox RAM cards, a 15 pin serial interface and also a powerful version BASIC.

With up to 64k of RAM these 1360′s were impressive little machines I used to use mine for practicing BASIC programing. This particular model is re-branded by Infologic on behalf of a medical company as you can see in the picture.  In 1987 these computers caused a few problems during exams as most teachers thought they were just scientific calculators… hehe!

Apple Powerbook Duo

Name: Powerbook Duo 280c
Manufacturer: Apple Computer, Inc.
Date of Manufacture: 1994
Original Price: $4750

The PowerBook Duo was a line of small subnotebooks manufactured and sold by Apple Computer from 1992 until 1997 as a more compact companion to the PowerBook line. Improving upon the PowerBook 100′s portability (its immediate predecessor and Apple’s third smallest laptop), the Duo came in seven different models. They were the Duo 210, 230, 250, 270c, 280, 280c, and 2300c, with the 210 and 230 being the earliest, and 2300c being the final incarnation before the entire line was dropped in early 1997.

Weighing in at a mere 4.1 pounds and slightly smaller at 10.9 × 8.5 in (280 × 220 mm) than a sheet of paper, only 1.4″ thick, it was the lightest and smallest of all of Apple’s PowerBooks and MacBooks. Only the MacBook Air weighs less, though wider and deeper, but considerably thinner making it the second smallest subnotebook overall. In fact the Duo has the most in common with the MacBook Air which only includes one USB 2.0 port, one video port (requiring an adapter) and one speaker port, but no ability for expansion.

One of the most stylish and iconic of the laptops available at the time, the Duo was widely used in advertising, film and television.

  • Sandra Bullock uses it prominently in the movie “The Net” (1995).
  • The character of Kate Libby (Angelina Jolie) uses a “fly” 280c in the film Hackers (1995).
  • In the critically-acclaimed TV sitcom NewsRadio, Dave Nelson used a PowerBook Duo almost exclusively for the first four seasons.
  • In the early seasons of the popular TV sitcom Friends Chandler Bing is clearly seen to be using a Macintosh PowerBook Duo.
  • A complete PowerBook Duo system, including Dock, is featured prominently throughout season six of Seinfeld.


Name: Oric-1
Manufacturer: Tangerine Computer Systems
Date of Manufacture: 1982
Original Price: £129

This British computer was one of the most popular computers in Europe in the beginning of the 80′s. It was a small computer, which was a competitor of the Sinclair Spectrum. I always wanted one of these as really liked the name for some reason!

This 48k example is in pretty good condition for the year.

Oric Atmos

Name: Oric-1
Manufacturer: Tangerine Computer Systems
Date of Manufacture: 1982
Original Price: £129

This British computer was one of the most popular computers in Europe in the beginning of the 80′s. It was a small computer, which was a competitor of the Sinclair Spectrum. I always wanted one of these as really liked the name for some reason!

This 48k example is in pretty good condition for the year.