The IBM (I've Been Mulling) PC

Al Hartman alhartman at
Sun May 10 13:34:11 CDT 2009

In the beginning, there were several early PC Clones and work-alikes.

A friend of mine had the Columbia MPC. By the time we were done with it, it had a Vide0-7 VGA card (that had a Micro-channel interface if you flipped the board the other way.), a Lightning 286 upgrade card, a Trackstar 128 Apple II on a board. I was really sorry when he trashed it. That was a nice, reliable machine.

Zebra Systems had several like the Eagle PC seen over Stewart's shoulder in the Wall Street Journal video, which was a turbo XT clone. We also had a Televideo box which was an MS-DOS Compatible box that used an intelligent terminal rather than a keyboard and MGA/CGA display.

I ran Wordstar, dBase II, and Fancy Font on that machine to do our ads. It replaced our IMSAI 8080 (with a Z-80 card) as our main system for order processing (using dBase II).

I worked for a time for a company that sold American XT clones from a guys house. They were exact clones of the 5150 and 5160 in that you could burn a set of IBM Bios ROMs and the machine would be 100% compatible with a PC/XT and have BASIC in ROM if you put those chips in too.

My first PC was an XT clone with Phoenix BIOS that had turbo mode and a V-20 chip which made it much faster than a stock PC. It had two 13mb Seagate drives and I ran my BBS off it until I sold it in favor of a 286 clone I built from parts. It had a neat flip-top case (like a car hood). I still have the keyboard from it, because it was a great keyboard and I continued to use it on the 286.

I had a rear panel reset and turbo switch in a bracket as the case didn't have up-front lights or buttons.

I miss those days.

Phila, PA
(Formerly of Brooklyn, NY)

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