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Keyboard Builders' Digest / Keyboard Spotting

IBM SCAMP

The classy IBM SCAMP was a prototype to showcase the APL programming language (1973).

KBD.news
Published December 2, 2021

In 1972, Paul Friedl and his colleagues at IBM Scientific Center in Palo Alto, California developed this classy luggable computer known as the SCAMP (Special Computer, APL Machine Portable) in six months.

The prototype used existing components - a cathode ray tube from Bell Brothers, Inc., for the display; a Norelco audiotape cassette recorder for secondary storage; a keyboard from IBM in Raleigh, North Carolina; memory cards from IBM Germany; and a PALM microprocessor board from IBM in Boca Raton, Florida. The APL language processor emulated one for the existing, much larger, IBM 1130 computer. (source)

According to the IBM SCAMP page at Smithsonian, this one served as a prototype for the IBM 5100 and was considered by some as the grandfather of the IBM PC 5150 (?!).

Well, I have an IBM 5155 but this one with its "chocolate brown frame and almond white cover" is much more mouthwatering than its contemporaries. Of course such an upper part, folding into the suitcase-like frame and popping up when in use, was no more possible with larger screens.

Published on Thu 2nd Dec 2021. Featured in KBD #55 (source).


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