Fortunes, Follies And Far-Out Ideas. A Look Back At The Personal Computer Era.

Cartographer(s): Bob Reynolds, Jim Bartimo
Date: ca. 1987
Place: San Jose
Dimensions: 35.5 x 58 cm (14 x 23 in)
Condition Rating: VG+

Out of stock

A period-specific broadside that maps the incredible journey of personal computing.


The Long and Winding Road to the Digital Age.

In this wonderfully 80s-looking timeline, we follow the development of personal computing over its formative decade, from 1977 to 1987. Along the way, we are introduced to the highs and lows of this decisive and emerging technology and some dead ends, like Apple’s powerful but costly LISA computer. 

The poster was published in 1987 by the San Jose Mercury News after being compiled by computing editor Jim Bartimo and put together visually by in-house graphic designer Bob Reynolds. While the composition is overtly historical and informative, the content is also humorous and includes many unknown or unexpected elements. It follows a chronological order, with each year clearly marked in light blue and subdivided into the relevant months. As one progresses down the bars, from one event to the next, a silver thread delineates the dawn of a new age.

Illustrations associating the events with a cultural framework are interspersed among the listed occurrences. Among the immediately recognizable images, we find the face of Spock and the logo of AT&T. The events listed range from the introduction of specific models and products to the public listing of computer companies like Apple Mackintosh in December of 1980. 

While the individual events are too numerous to list here – and also because part of the fun of this “map” is to explore the progress oneself – we wish to draw out a few examples from both the beginning and the end of the period in question. Among the earliest events listed in 1977, we find the opening of the first Computer Shack store in Morristown, New Jersey, and Commodore’s launch of their PET (personal electronic transactor). At the other end of the scale, we find the unveiling of the iconic Mackintosh II personal computer in March of 1987 and the equally decisive introduction of IBM’s PS/2 system the following month.

This chronological map of the early development of personal computing is a rare and period-specific visualization of a decade that came to define an era.


Bob Reynolds

Bob Reynolds was a graphic designer working for the San Jose Mercury News in the late 1980s.

Jim Bartimo

Jim Bartimo was the computing editor of the San Jose Mercury News and the author of the 1987 book: Managing Your Money with “Managing Your Money.”

Condition Description

Very good. Laminated.