Thorn EMI Liberator

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The Thorn EMI Liberator was a portable text processor produced in 1985 for the UK Civil Service. It can claim to be the first mass-produced British laptop.

The Liberator started in 1983 when the UK Government's Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency required a portable device to allow civil servants to produce and edit documents without the need for dedicated typists. Dragon Data were contacted to develop the product but went into administration shortly after. Thorn EMI took over the project in 1984. Production ended in September 1986.

The Liberator had a Zilog Z80 processor and an LCD display with 480x128 pixels (equivalent to 80x16 characters). It came with 40KB internal RAM as standard, with an optional 24KB available as an option. The RAM was battery-backed to enable non-volatile storage. An expansion port allowed a further 24KB of RAM to be added.

The system ran CP/M from ROM with custom word processing software.

Kindly donated by Charlie Robson.



Manufacturer: Thorn EMI
Date: 1985

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This exhibit has a reference ID of CH32895. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.


Thorn EMI Liberator

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