The Special Collections Research Center includes the History of Computing and Simulation as one of its key collecting areas. We recently received a small collection, the Lawrence Auld Collection of Kaypro Computer Materials, 1978-1992, that documents the Kaypro home computer. The company began as “Non-Linear Systems,” a maker of electronic test equipment, and was founded by Andrew Kay in 1952. Non-linear systems designed a personal computer, the KayComp, in 1981. One year later, the Kaypro Corporation was established, with the Kaypro II as its first computer. During the 1980s, Kaypros were in competition with IBM PCs and Apple II computers. Fun trivia fact: Arthur C. Clarke used the Kaypro II (64 Kilobytes of RAM!) to write his 1982 novel 2010: Odyssey Two.
The bumper sticker shown above, “Have you kugged your Kaypro today?,” is a play on the “Kaypro Users Group” (KUG). This collection includes various materials that document the use of Kaypros and the discussions about them which were raised by the user community. Included are issues of ProFiles: The Magazine for Kaypro Users, and another popular magazine that catered to Kaypro users, Micro Cornucopia. Micro Cornucopia’s initial focus was on so-called “Big Board” computers, but the publication soon expanded its interests to include other board-level computers and Kaypros, becoming a more general magazine for hobbyists and enthusiasts. Perhaps most interesting in the collection are Kaypro newsletters and bulletins from the 1980s as well as various user’s guides and user discussions. Although the collection has not yet received full archival processing, a preliminary inventory is available. The collection is open to researchers here at the Special Collections Research Center.