We hate 2020!

Just when we thought 2020 couldn't get any worse! We were about to re-open after many months of being closed but then disaster struck when a mains water pipe burst and flooded much of the ground floor of the museum.
Sadly re-opening has now been postponed. Read More >>>

Please Donate Via Just GivingNo visitors, no workshops, no events, no school visits... no income. We know that things are tough for everyone right now, but if you can afford to help us through these tough times please donate what you can.

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Jerry Lawson

Jerry Lawson




Jerry Lawson was one of the few African American engineers in the gaming industry in the 1970s. He is recognised as a pioneer of the commercial videogame cartridge.

Following a childhood spent tinkering with electronics, Lawson joined Fairchild Semiconductor in 1970, later becoming Chief Hardware Engineer and director of engineering and marketing for Fairchild's video game division. He led development of the Channel F games console, which was the first to use games cartridges. Fairchild called the cartridges 'videocarts'. Prior to the Channel F, games had been hardwired into console hardware. Lawson was quick to realise that games cartridges would generate additional revenue for the companies producing them and they went on to become the industry standard.
While at Fairchild, Lawson and his colleague Ron Jones were the sole black members of the Homebrew Computer Club, a group of early computing enthusiasts, many of whom went on to great things. The group included Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. It is possible that Lawson interviewed Wozniak for a position at Fairchild but didn't hire him.
After leaving Fairchild in 1980, Lawson founded Videosoft, making software for Atari. He was honoured in 2011 by the US Videogame Developers Association as an industry pioneer in developing the videogame cartridge concept. He died one month later, aged 70.




Photograph of Jerry Lawson Click for a larger version

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