1978 Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 1

John F Russo posing with his brother Bill’s 1978 TRS 80 Model 1

John visited Kennett Classic to donate this nicely preserved Tandy Radio Shack TRS 80 Model 1 from 1978. His brother Bill was the original owner. The computer was purchased originally with Level 1 BASIC and was later upgraded to Level II BASIC. This was common back then, upgrades involved taking the computer into the local Radio Shack for service as there was no downloading of operating system patches like we have today. In this case an in-house technician would take the computer into the back room, open the bottom of the keyboard system unit to expose the motherboard. The technician would carefully remove the the Level 1 ROM chip from the motherboard and replace with a Level II ROM. Radio Shack provided a cassette tape with a program that could be used to update any Level 1 programs to the new Level II BASIC.

Close-up of the keyboard / system unit. The TRS 80 Model 1 had a Z80 processor.
The display shows the output of a diagnostic loaded from cassette.

In John’s words, the significance of the TRS 80 to his brother Bill and him:

“..Bill purchased this computer in 1978 as an undergraduate engineering student at Temple University. Programming in BASIC and Assembly languages on the TRS_80 as well as learning about its hardware infrastructure was a key tool in his education and early career.  Spurred on by this interest Bill moved on to bigger and better machines and a career in semiconductor design.
Bill sent almost his entire career in the semiconductor industry focusing on Computer Aided Design tools and methodologies used to build the next generation of computer hardware. He worked for several chip-design companies, including as a co-founder of Focus Semiconductor (later acquired by American Microsystems Inc (AMI)).
His later career included Director positions at some of the leading software vendors for semiconductor design. He was also an adjunct professor at several colleges where he passed his interest in computer science to his students.
Throughout the years, he held on to the TRS-80 as a memory of where it all started.

The original Model 1’s used cassette tapes for program storage.
This image shows the output of a LIST command after successful loading of a program from cassette. This computer proved to be fully functional. It’s now on display at Kennett Classic. thanks, John.