De Grafe Silver UC/F

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This is a very rare computer, there appears to be only one complete example, and our machine here, which is far from complete, is missing the monitor, graphics tablet and keyboard.

These French made PCs date back to 1985 and were used in video and graphic animation production. The taller tower features a granite base, intended to keep the slim PC from toppling over. On the sides of these units are magnetically sealed expansion houses where the computers can interchange hardware with ease. Dimensions of larger computer: 11 x 57 x 50 cm. Smaller computer: 11 x 57 x 25 cm. 

The Cotte Brothers in France around 1980 formed the Multisoft company to distribute the DAI Imagination machine in France, which attracted companies involved in graphics art. It had far greater capabilities than the Apple II, and the French government thought there was an opportunity for a home grown industry that could take on the big USA companies who dominated the Cinema special effects industry.

In 1985, with a subsidy of 3 million Francs from the government, the Cotte brothers took the DAI motherboard as a basis for the De Grafe Silver and the company was registered in March of that year.

Between 1985 and 1988, 250 machines were produced in the Alcatel factory in Saintes, part of the De Grafe team moved to the USA to develop a version for that market.

Specifically designed for the creation of video graphics, it ran on a Z80 processor, and had memory cartridges that held the operating system and graphics fonts.

It had 256K of RAM for video and 32KB of working memory, extra memory could be installed via cartridges. When the machine is turned on, it scans the carts and builds a menu on screen. The keyboard is only used to name files, most of the work is done on the Graphics pad by selecting the icons on screen ,the red icons are programs, the blue are actual commands.

The inputs/outputs can connect to VCR, televisions and video cameras, there are 7 processors to divide up the tasks of creating special effects.

The computer would produce film titles, subtitles, cross video, graphics and animation, examples of what the machine could produce may be seen here on Youtube.

Dimensions: 23cm (w) x 57cm (d) x 50cm (h).
Weight: 30Kg (approx).

Manufacturer: De Grafe
Date: 1985

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This exhibit has a reference ID of CH32482. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.


De Grafe Silver UC/F

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