Correction to a looooooong ago post!
evan at snarc.net
Thu Nov 9 23:56:50 CST 2006
Thanks for your help, Wayne.
I've been seaching with the L-N "a la carte" service but it doesn't work
very well. Got many false results.
From: Wayne Smith [mailto:wayne.smith at charter.net]
Sent: Friday, November 10, 2006 12:46 AM
To: cctalk at classiccmp.org
Subject: RE: Correction to a looooooong ago post!
If you search Google groups you will see that the first appearance of the
term in a post ("lap-top") was in July 6, 1983 in a post by Dan Chernikoff,
referring to the TRS-80 model 100.
I think the precursor term was probably "lap computer." If you search that
on LEXIS/NEXIS the earliest hit is a July 4, 1983 InfoWorld article that
Copyright 1983 InfoWorld Media Group
July 4, 1983
SECTION: IN FOCUS; Pg. 23
LENGTH: 2638 words
HEADLINE: Is there a lap computer in your future?; The dream is a desirable
one, but there's still a lot of technology to develop.
BYLINE: By Paul Freiberger, and John Markoff, IW Staff
On the Pope's recent visit to Poland, American photojournalists covering his
tour had something extra in their camera bags.
Several of the photographers were carrying Radio Shack Model 100 portable
computers to stay in touch with editors back home.
In the past year, the personal computer has gone through another
transformation in size. Now the microcomputer has left the office behind and
First it was the desktop microcomputer, then the suitcase-size portable and
now the true portable, known variously as the briefcase-, lap- or
A good part of the notebook-size computer explosion is attributable to Radio
Shack's Model 100. Introduced several months ago, it is already a big hit
for the Fort Worth, Texas, electronics giant, and it has served notice to
other companies that a huge demand exists for reasonably priced lightweight
The Model 100 wasn't the first lapsize computer, however.
Hewlett-Packard introduced the HP-75 last year, and Epson has been selling
the HX-20 with a 4-line by 2-column display for almost two years.
To search Lexis while avoiding the tags, limit the search to the body of the
article by searching "Date<1985 and body(Laptop or lap-top)". Doing this
will get you to a late 1983 ComputerWorld article that begins:
November 30, 1983
SECTION: Pg. 59
LENGTH: 2498 words
HEADLINE: PORTABLE PRODUCTIVITY
BYLINE: By William Murto; Murto is vice-president of marketing, Compaq
Computer Corp., Houston.
Today's portables can be divided into several descriptive catagories:
the handheld units, the lap-top computers, the transportable units and the
integrated portables. These machines range in weight from several ounces
(the handheld units) to more than 30 pounds (the transportables).
The handheld units, just as their name implies, are typically not much
larger than a hand calculator and generally run on batteries. They are
limited in function and are normally little more than a combination of a
hand calculator and data entry terminal.
The lap-top computers fit smartly into most briefcases and are considerably
more powerful and capable than the handheld types. However, these versions
have limited display screens and limited memory. They are also limited by
the applications programs they can run.
> Date: Wed, 8 Nov 2006 02:31:27 -0500
> From: "Evan Koblentz" <evan at snarc.net>
> Subject: Correction to a looooooong ago post!
> To: "'General Discussion: On-Topic and Off-Topic Posts'"
> <cctalk at classiccmp.org>
> Message-ID: <000101c70307$e713d700$6401a8c0 at DESKTOP>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
> Way back in July 1999, someone wrote thus:
> >>> Byte Magazine first used the term "laptop" in reference to a
> >>> production
> computer, after viewing the Epson HX-20 at a trade show in November
> 1981. <<<
> The original post is here:
> .... but it's not true! Recently I looked through all the Byte issues
> from that time period and found the reference in question, which was
> in the Feb. 1982 issue. In the issue's main editorial, on page 14,
> Chris Morgan referred to "...an intriguing prototype of the Epson
> HX-20 personal computer...
> The beginning of a new trend to what I call 'briefcase'
> computers: battery-operated machines that combine portability with
> powerful computer features. It's the sort of design that will appeal
> to people on the move."
> Byte's earliest use of "laptop" that I could find wasn't until the
> Jan. 1984 issue, in an article called
> "Portables--1984 and Beyond" by Dave Winer. I contacted Dave and he
> said he heard the term from Ester Dyson, but Ester said she doesn't
> recall saying it. She did say that "luggable" was her term, referring
> to the suitcase-sized computers. Byte did write about "lap" computers
> a couple of times in 1983, but not "laptops" per se.
> I'm bringing this up now because I have seen a few recent web
> references which cite the 1999 post as fact.
> Can anyone show me (not just say they remember) a pre-Jan.
> 1984 reference to the word "laptop" in the context of portable
> I searched on Lexis-Nexus but the results were flawed.
> Apparently someone tagged all the pre-1984 references to "mobile" and
> "portable" computers with the word "laptop"
> which may be logical for most searchers but doesn't help me at all.
> - Evan
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