Happy 35th anniversary to the TRS-80

Harry McCracken:

Gadget-retailing giant Radio Shack unveiled the TRS-80 Model I at a press conference at New York’s Warwick Hotel 35 years ago today, on August 3, 1977. (The company didn’t call it the Model I at the time: Like Apple’s Apple I, it only became the I after a II was introduced.)

Lots of great info about the TRS-80’s place in personal computer history. How it got started, how Radio Shack configured it, and its enduring legacy.

Harry’s valentine to the TRS-80 strikes a chord with me. I’m a few years younger than he is; I was 7 when the TRS-80 went on sale. The man I knew through our local Big Brother program introduced me to his a year or two later, and when I asked whether it could play games, he told me, “Sure, if you write them.”

So I learned how. (Boy, I wish I’d maintained that ability to program.) I’ve loved computers ever since.

So yeah, for many of us of a certain age, the TRS-80 will always occupy a spot in our hearts. And as Harry says, please don’t call it a Trash-80.



  • Yeah, that takes me back…

    My first computer programming class was on the TRS 80, they had a number of Mk-I and Mk-III’s.

    I fondly remember getting so fast programming, that I could program a game when the teacher left the room, play a couple rounds on it, then delete it when I heard the teacher opening the door again.

    I even had a TRS-80 – model 100, I discovered the “mosquito tone” way before it became popular. I used to have it (the Mod 100) run through ultrasonic frequencies during tests in high school and note which kids flinched when I hit what frequencies.

    I can still fondly remember the first time I brought it into my algebra class,

    Teacher: “what the hell is that?” Me: “it’s my calculating device! You said we could bring one.” Teacher: “get that thing out of here.”

    Good times… Good times…

  • jerryfrommontana

    First computer I ever played with was a TRS-80 model 1, at radio shack. Then my middle school had 3 model 3’s I used to play with.

  • My poorly-chosen computer science major actually taught me to avoid personal computers when they first appeared, but I have to be grateful that my first print production employer had a TRS-80 Model III on which I could log in to my school’s mainframe and get my programming homework done. All through a Hayes Smartmodem.