vintage, nostalgia and memories


December 18, 2016

40 Funny Vintage Computer Ads From the 1970s and '80s

Still remember the good ol’ days with joysticks and bulky monitors? 1TB hard disks may now be a common sight, but did you know that people used to be excited over ads promoting 10MB hard disks? Modems were the size of radios, the Macintosh computer looked like a typewriter, and laptops reminded us of toolboxes.


We may have outlived 3.5-inch floppy disk slots, and today 10 MB is the limit for an email attachment. It took us (a mere) few decades for us to come this far. In comparison, we can now carry 64 GB (that’s 64,000 MB) of information in a drive that is the size of our thumb!

1. The Hard Disk You’ve Been Waiting For. Definitely one hard disk we won’t be waiting for in 2016, but still, this ad must be pretty impressive back then.



2. 80 Mbytes For Under $12K / 300 Mbytes For Under $20K. Talk about cut-throat prices; luckily our hard disks don’t cost as much today.



3. Seagate ST4096. But Seagate, it’s a different story today – The capacity is no longer high. The price probably is.



4. $3,459 For 10 Megabytes Hard Disk. Hmm, you can get a Mac for that price.



5. 10 Megabyte Hard Disk System: $3,695. No matter what we’re comparing, you’re definitely losing out in today’s tech market.



6. Low-cost Hard Disk Computers Are Here. Ah, those were the days when floppy disks were the ‘in’ thing.



7. Lotus Magellan 2.0. Yes, Lotus, we get your message. We still love your ‘Search’ function.



8. Shugart Disk Drive. So that’s what a digital safe looks like. They are humongous!



9. Can Your Processor Pass This Screen Test? It’s a black and white print but I’m pretty sure that’s green text on a black background.



10. Computer Operation in Real-Time. The definition of "real-time" has definitely been redefined. At that time.



11. Sexy Penril Modem. This is probably the reason why they stopped using "sexy" and "modem" in the same line anymore.



12. 1976 Apple 1 Ad. If the price doesn’t scare you away, just look at Apple’s less-than-fruity logo tucked at the bottom of the ad.



13. Apple Makes Great Carrots. Here’s an early Apple ad with the kind of advertising tone they have today. At least they are carrying a more updated company logo in this one.



14. Two Bytes Are Better Than One. However, I’m not so sure what you can do with two bytes.



15. The New 16K RAM Card That Turns Your Computer into A Working Giant. It does require your computer to be a bulky giant. Just look at the size of that thing.



16. 2 Cents A Byte! Sink your teeth into a helping of RAM without burning a hole in your wallet.



17. ExtenSys 64K for $1495. Complete with Write Protection!



18. 1-2-3 Advertisement from Byte. Works at the speed of a… superbike?



19. Borge Specifies Verbatim. In the ad, Borge prefers recording his concert music with Verbatim. He’d love what today’s computers can do for music.



20. Sony 3.5" Floppy Disk. "… all the way to two megabytes". You know how lucky you are that we have gone beyond the floppy disk era.



21. Logitech HiREZ Mouse. The ad aside, we probably have not even seen this Logitech mouse before!



22. First Microsoft Mouse. Microsoft sets the standard with this gem that will be the blueprint of future mice.



23. Computers: ZX80. A personal computer for just under $200? Sounds like a great deal! Except, it kinda’ looks like the lovechild of a calculator and an intercom.



24. Apple IIc. It might be a far cry from Apple’s super thin Macbook Air today, but back in those days, this nifty computer was the breakthrough.



25. 1979 Apple II “Adam”. A cheeky jab at a good use for the forbidden fruit. Well, we can do better than Adam, can’t we?


26. The Imagination Machine. Hmm, there’s color, sound and the price is coming out pretty decent.



27. Apple II and III. Apple has a way with getting celebrities and famous personalities to help with their ads, even when they lived more than two centuries ago.



28. The Small Computer That Won’t Fence You In. If you want a powerful processor, go with Sol. At least I think that’s what they are trying to say.



29. Commodore VIC-20. The computer is shrinking! And so are the prices. And it’s about time.



30. Osborne Computer. Ironically, if you still carry that Osborne model, you’d get the same reaction, but for different reasons today.



31. IBM 5510 Computing System. Yep, extraodinary. In size, and in price.



32. TRS-80 Model 100 Video. Do you believe that this was what a portable computer look like? Imagine lugging that TV around.



33. Putting Color to Work in Computers. This is probably equivalent to us getting retina display today.



34. What Kind of Man Owns His Own Computer? These days we have a higher chance of owning a computer than a kite.



35. Commodore 64. They asked a very good question. In fact, it’s still relevant today.



36. What The Heck is Electronic Mail? E-mails may require no introduction today, but back then, Honeywell actually had to promote the use of e-mail with this quirky ad.



37. 1984 Newsweek Macintosh Introduction. Ahh, cut and paste. One of the best functions ever introduced.



38. How to Turn A Sea of Data into Data You Can See. Now, isn’t the sea of data, easier to see? Pun fully intended!



39. How to Send Mail At 670 Million mph. Tons of letters to send? Save your time and money on stamps, and let Apple be your messenger.



40. Keystick: Keyboard Joystick. If you put up this ad today, people would probably think that it’s a fake toy you’re trying to sell! Pity they no longer use this cute keystick.



(via Hongkiat)

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