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Collection Guide
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Guide to the Radio Shack collection
X4114.2007  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
The Radio Shack collection contains materials related to Tandy Corporation/Radio Shack’s microcomputer, the TRS-80. The Manuals series consists of manuals published by Tandy and others concerned with the TRS-80 and also programs authored by Radio Shack and other companies. The Software series consists largely of hand labeled disks containing utilities, operating system tools, games, and write up language programs. The Periodicals series consists of print periodicals about the TRS-80 and its programs published by Tandy and other companies.
Background
Radio Shack’s TRS-80 microcomputer was released in 1977 and was among the first mass produced microcomputers available on the retail market. The system derived its name from both its manufacturer (Tandy Radio Shack or TRS) and the microprocessor on which it ran (the Zilog Z80). The TRS-80 was among the highest selling all-in-one microcomputers from 1978 to 1982. The history of the TRS-80 begins with Don French, a computer hobbyist and executive for what was then called Tandy Radio Shack (TRS), a Fort Worth, Texas based company with around 3,500 retail stores across the U.S. that dealt primarily in radio and electronics equipment. In 1976, he began urging the company’s president, Lew Kornfield, to consider developing a computer kit to be sold at TRS stores. Kornfield and other executives were skeptical of the idea, largely due to French’s initial projections that the cost to the consumer would greatly outweigh any other TRS product: $199 for the computer kit vs. the $30 median cost for all other TRS products. However, early 1976 saw the flagging popularity of the CB radio, a product that was key to the success of TRS. With an exigent need for a new product to keep profit margins high and growth steady, French’s plan to go ahead with the development of a computer kit was approved.
Extent
34.59 Linear feet 24 record cartons, 4 software boxes, and 1 manuscript box
Restrictions
The Computer History Museum (CHM) can only claim physical ownership of the collection. Copyright restrictions may apply and users are responsible for satisfying any claims of the copyright holder. Requests for copying and permission to publish, quote, or reproduce any portion of the Computer History Museum’s collection must be obtained jointly from both the copyright holder (if applicable) and the Computer History Museum as owner of the material.
Availability
The collection is open for research.