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)

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)

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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)

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)

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

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)

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

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

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

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)

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)

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

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

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)

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)

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)

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

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)

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)

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

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)

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

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)

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

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)

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

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)

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

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 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)

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)