40 Vintage Computer Ads of Yesteryears

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!

We’ve unearthed some retro computer ads to give you a firsthand look into what made the tech headlines before the age of keynote presentations, ultrabooks and tablets. You’ll never look at your gadgets the same way again.

The Hard Disk You’ve Been Waiting For. Definitely one hard disk we won’t be waiting for in 2012, but still, this ad must be pretty impressive back then. (Image Source: boingboing)

The Hard Disk You've Been Waiting For

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. (Image Source: Coyote Blog)

80 Mbytes for under $12K / 300 Mbytes for under $20K

Seagate ST4096. But Seagate, it’s a different story today – The capacity is no longer high. The price probably is. (Image Source: Aresluna)

Seagate ST4096

$3,459 For 10 Megabytes Hard Disk. Hmm, you can get a Mac for that price. (Image Source: Vintage Computing)

$3,459 for 10 Megabytes Hard Disk

10 Megabyte Hard Disk System: $3,695. No matter what we’re comparing, you’re definitely losing out in today’s tech market. (Image Source: VC&G)

10 Megabyte Hard Disk System: $3,695

Low-cost Hard Disk Computers Are Here. Ah, those were the days when floppy disks were the ‘in’ thing. (Image Source: Nova Scotia)

Low-cost Hard Disk Computers Are Here

Lotus Magellan 2.0. Yes, Lotus, we get your message. We still love your ‘Search’ function. (Image Source: adFlip)

Lotus Magellan 2.0

Shugart Disk Drive. So that’s what a digital safe looks like. They are humongous! (Image Source: Old Computer Ads)

Shugart Disk Drive

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. (Image Source: Grikdog’s Blog)

Can Your Processor Pass This Screen Test

Computer Operation in Real-Time. The definition of "real-time" has definitely been redefined. At that time. (Image Source: Modern Mechanix)

Computer Operation in Real-Time . . . (Mar, 1956)

Sexy Penril Modem. This is probably the reason why they stopped using "sexy" and "modem" in the same line anymore. (Image Source: Bionic Works)

Sexy Penril Modem

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. (Image Source: Mac Mothership)

1976 Apple 1 Ad

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. (Image Source: Aresluna)

Apple Makes Great Carrots

Two Bytes Are Better Than One. However, I’m not so sure what you can do with two bytes. (Image Source: Modern Mechanix)

Two Bytes Are Better Than One

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. (Image Source: hardwareBG)

The New 16K RAM Card That Turns Your Computer into A Working Giant

2 Cents A Byte! Sink your teeth into a helping of RAM without burning a hole in your wallet. (Image Source: izismile)

2 Cents A Byte!

ExtenSys 64K for $1495. Complete with Write Protection! (Image Source: KrakLog)

ExtenSys 64K for $1495

1-2-3 Advertisement from Byte. Works at the speed of a… superbike? (Image Source: Aresluna)

1-2-3 Advertisement from Byte

Borge Specifies Verbatim. In the ad, Borge prefers recording his concert music with Verbatim. I think he’d love what today’s computers can do for music. (Image Source: VC&G)

Borge Specifies Verbatim

Sony 3.5" Floppy Disk. "… all the way to two megabytes". I hope you know how lucky you are that we have gone beyond the floppy disk era. (Image Source: VC&G)

Sony 3.5″ Floppy Disk

Logitech HiREZ Mouse. The ad aside, we probably have not even seen this Logitech mouse before! (Image Source: Aresluna)

Logitech HiREZ Mouse

First Microsoft Mouse. Microsoft sets the standard with this gem that will be the blueprint of future mice. (Image Source: VC&G)

First Microsoft Mouse

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.(Image Source: Planet Sinclair)

Computers: ZX80

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. (Image Source: Aresluna)

Apple IIc Advertisement from Personal Computing

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? (Image Source: Mac Mothership)

1979 Apple II

The Imagination Machine. Hmm, there’s color, sound and the price is coming out pretty decent. (Image Source: My Crazy Town)

The Imagination Machine

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. (Image Source: Aresluna)

Apple II and III advertisement from Personal Computing

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. (Image Source: ruanyifeng)

The Small Computer That Won't Fence You In

Commodore VIC-20. The computer is shrinking! And so are the prices. And it’s about time. (Image Source: Aresluna)

Commodore VIC-20 advertisement from Personal Computing

Osborne Computer. Ironically, if you still carry that Osborne model, you’d get the same reaction, but for different reasons today. (Image Source: Reg Hardware)

Osborne computer

IBM 5510 Computing System. Yep, extraodinary. In size, and in price. (Image Source: VC&G)

IBM 5510 Computing System

TRS-80 Model 100 Video. Do you believe that this was what a portable computer look like? Imagine lugging that TV around. (Image Source: VC&G)

TRS-80 Model 100 Video

Putting Color to Work in Computers. This is probably equivalent to us getting retina display today. (Image Source: Modern Mechanix)

Putting Color to Work in Computers (Sep, 1979)

What Kind of Man Owns His Own Computer? These days we have a higher chance of owning a computer than a kite. (Image Source: Modern Mechanix)

What kind of man owns his own computer? (May, 1980)

Commodore 64. They asked a very good question. In fact, it’s still relevant today. (Image Source: Aresluna)

Commodore 64 advertisement

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. (Image Source: MoPo)

What The Heck is Electronic Mail

1984 Newsweek Macintosh Introduction. Ahh, cut and paste. One of the best functions ever introduced.(Image Source: Mac Mothership)

1984 Newsweek Macintosh Introduction

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! (Image Source: Aresluna)

How to Turn A Sea of Data into Data You Can See

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. (Image Source: n4p0)

How to Send Mail At 670 Million mph

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. (Image Source: VC&G)

Keystick: Keyboard Joystick

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