Jack Tramiel

Jack Tramiel

Jack Tramiel was born Idek Trzmiel in Poland on the 13th December 1928.

After immigrating to the United States, he started a portable typewriter company. They later made calculators, and when the designer told Tramiel that calculators were a dead end, and computers were the future - Jack Tramiel told him to build one and prove the point. Chuck Peddle, the designer, presented the Commodore PET.

Commodore was formed and later released the VIC-20, and then the Commodore 64, which was the best-selling home micro computer of all time, selling between 11 and 19 million units.

The name Commodore was chosen as Tramiel wanted a military name, but Admiral and General were already taken.

It was during this time that Tramiel famously said "We need to build computers for the masses, not the classes."

After a furious board meeting on the 13th January 1984 Tramiel left Commodore just a few days after the unveiling of the new range of 264 machines, only one of which would reach market in its original form, the Commodore 116.

After leaving Commodore Tramiel formed a new company called Tramel Technology Ltd, spelling his name differently, so it would be pronounced properly.

Shortly after, TTL purchased the consumer division of Atari Inc from Warner, and changed the name TTL to Atari Corporation, which went on to produce the Atari ST range of computers, a reworked model of the Atari 2600, a newer technology console, the Atari 7800 was released also.

Stepping away from Atari in the late 1980s, the day to day running of the company was handed over to his son Sam, he returned in 1995, while Sam recovered from a heart attack, which was during the difficult period of the Atari Jaguar.

Tramiel sold atari to the disk drive manufacturer Jugi Tandon Storage in a reverse merger and joined the JTS board.

In 1993 he co founded the American Holocaust Museum, he himself had survived a ghetto and two different concentration camps in WWII, before being liberated by the 84th infantry division.

He retired in 1996, living the final years of his life in Monte Sereno, California before passing away in 2012 aged 83.

Historical Timeline for Jack Tramiel :

Date Event
13 Dec 1928 Jack Tramiel is born
1954 Jack Tramiel starts Commodore
23 Jul 1965 Commodore Business Machines floats on the Montreal Stock Exchange
May 1986 Atari releases the 7800 console




Photograph of Jack Tramiel Click for a larger version

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