Many are fascinated by the prices of their first Apple computers, but few are aware that the Kenbak-1 model was available much earlier than the Californian launch of their equipment. And that’s one of those machines that was recently auctioned.
Kenbak-1 is the first personal computer built by John Blankenbaker, which was introduced to the world in 1971, so much earlier than the Altair 8800 and five years before Apple I, albeit slightly after the Datapoint 2200. The machine was offered for $ 500, and the builder hoped that the school would be interested in introducing students to programming.
The device did not have a microprocessor at all and only had 256 bytes of RAM. Kembak-1 has not succeeded commercially, and the constructor now admits that the fault of failure is wrongly defining the target. In retrospect, he thinks it was a good idea to send his product to hobbyists instead of educational institutions.
Kembak-1 was created in a total of around 50 copies, which last year began appearing at auctions. One of them was recently sold for $ 31,000, while another one was auctioned in Germany last weekend.