Fleet of 4.77MHz LCD laptops with 8088 CPUs still alive after 30 years


Reader “Holrum” says he has “a couple dozen Toshiba T1000 laptops from the mid 1980’s still fully functional (including floppy drives).”

The T1000 was introduced in 1987, but that’s long enough that we’ll forgive Holrum the slight lapse, not least because the machine was one of the very first computers to use a clamshell form factor.

While the T1000 was ahead on that front, it also offered a rather archaic LCD display as illustrated above (here for readers on mobile devices and in this manual that Toshiba thoughtfully keeps on the web.

The machine ran MS-DOS 2.11 on a ROM, an oddity at the time when booting from removable media was commonplace. Toshiba seems to have figured out that carrying around an OS disks was not going to be a hit with mobile users, so made the extra investment. The computer came with a colossal 512KB of RAM (enough for anyone!) and a single 3.5-inch floppy drive.

Holrum says the T1000s are taken offline every few years for just the few minutes required to replace the NiCad batteries and give them a clean, before they are returned to duty as process monitoring terminals.

That’s not the only oldie Holrum has running: he says he mailed us on a 2005 Mac Mini G4 Power PC machine and typed on an original IBM PC/AT keyboard with an AT to USB adapter. “The keyboard is borrowed from my still working IBM PC/AT purchased the week before they were released to the public (it has a low three digit serial number).”

Source: Fleet of 4.77MHz LCD laptops with 8088 CPUs still alive after 30 years • The Register