The first computer in history, a Micral N, will be auctioned on June 11th at the Chateau d’Artigny, near Tours. Designed in 1972, this microcomputer is “one of the last five known copies of this historic computer in the world,” said to the press the auctioneer Aymeric Rouillac.
“The Micral gave ideas to Americans. In 1975, the IBM 5100 is beyond the scope of business and arrives in homes. In 1977 released the first computer designed by Steve Jobs, the Apple II. The Micral N is the origin of this new conception of IT “, said the auctioneer.
“This computer is exceptional because it is the first to use a microprocessor. He had the memory and the capacity of computers of the time who, themselves, the size of a room (office, note) or, at best, an entire section of wall “, told the press Roma Maireau, one of the students in master of art history at the University François Rabelais who has done research on the device.
The father of microcomputers
The creator of a French Micral is now 72 years old, François Gernelle. In 1972 the company R2E he is an employee receives an order from INRA providing the budget needed to manufacture the device. In June 1973 the American magazine Byte invented the word “microcomputer” to baptize the famous Micral over 90 000 copies have been produced in different versions.
“The 260 million computers were sold worldwide in 2016, all derived from the model of personal computers developed by R2E for Micral N” , argued Mr. Rouillac, regretting that French companies did not then grant more trust in this French invention.
What a price for this computer “history” ? “The first Apple selling price is between 300,000 and 600,000 dollars, but Apple has not Micral awareness” , acknowledged the auctioneer. Hence, in agreement with the owner, “a starting price of 20 000 EUR. And it is expected of surprises because it is indeed a piece of history “ , Mr Rouillac estimated.
Weighing 8.2 kg to 13 cm high, 43 cm long and 44 cm deep, the Micral N. had neither keyboard nor display but a teletype and a tape recorder had only 51 instructions and was equipped with an Intel 8008 8-bit processor with a frequency of 0.2 to 0.8 megahertz (MHz).
Current Intel processors used in most consumer computers operate on a frequency of between 1.5 and 4 gigahertz (GHz).