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Gallery: Classic Computer Manuals from Apple and IBM

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Old 11-14-2008
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Gallery: Classic Computer Manuals from Apple and IBM
: Photo: Dan WintersThe following manuals show some of the computers that paved the way for that ThinkPad or MacBook you're likely viewing this on now.
When Apple marketing chief Joanna Hoffman wrote the Macintosh Business plan — think of it as a manual for operating a company — in 1981 but she couldnít create a document pretty enough for Steve Jobs. [NOTE: We have no idea what she was using to make the documents... we just know that Steve didnít like anything she was making.] Hoffman, however, knew where to find desktop publishing muscle that could: Xerox PARC. Working nights at a friends' office on a Xerox Alto, Hoffman created this Macintosh Business Plan on the sly — constantly afraid someone at Xerox would discover her work in progress. They did not, allowing the Mac to go on to become the first wildly successful personal computer with a mouse and graphical user interface, while the Xerox Alto — which featured both but never was introduced to consumers — was destined to become a historical footnote. This manual comes from Bruce Damer's private collection.
Listen: Photographer Dan Winters and writer Mathew Honan discuss the Macintosh business plan.



Manual courtesy of Bruce Damer and photographed at Digital Space.
: Photo: Dan Winters: Photo: Dan Winters: Photo: Dan Winters Apple's first user manual was largely the creation of Ronald Wayne, Apple's third founder, recruited from Atari by Steve Jobs for a 10 percent stake in the new company. Wayne not only wrote the entire 10-page booklet, he also drew the intricate cover logo depicting Isaac Newton beneath an apple tree. Together, Wayne, Jobs, and Steve Wozniak built the first 50 Apple 1 computers in a Los Altos garage, selling them to a local retailer called the Byte Shop. Concerned over legal issues with Hewlett-Packard (Woz's employer), however, Wayne later relinquished his stake in the company for $800.
Listen: Photographer Dan Winters and writer Mathew Honan discuss the Apple-1 manual.



: Photo: Dan WintersThis 1978 manual was largely adapted from the Woz Wonderbook — the first unofficial manual for the Apple II, written by Steve Wozniak himself. The Red Book described how to set up and operate the computer, some information on BASIC programming, and even a handful of games — Pong, Mastermind, and Dragon Maze — from the earliest days of computer gaming.
Manual courtesy of Bruce Damer and photographed at Digital Space.
: Photo: Dan Winters: Photo: Dan Winters The 1401 was a 1959 decimal computer. It was often used to input and format data for larger IBM machines, working in conjunction with the 1402 punch card system and 1403 printer, described on these pages. However in recent years, the machine may be better known for inspiring Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson's work, IBM 1401, A Userís Manual. Here's the real thing.
Manual courtesy of and photographed at the Computer History Museum.
: Photo: Dan Winters: Photo: Dan Winters

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