The Acorn 6502 Microcomputer Kit Timeline and People

More pictures

Timeline & people





Emulator Overview
Using the Monitor
Emulator Menus

Here’s a summary of the history of the Acorn Microcomputer, and the people involved. For much more detail and background, see the Interview with the Designer and Steve Furber recalls...


Summer 1977 Sophie Wilson designs a cow feeder, based on the 6502 microprocessor, for a firm in Harrogate.
Late 1977/early 1978 Hermann Hauser approaches Wilson through the Cambridge University Processor Group (CUPG), for help on low power technology for an ‘electronic notebook’. At the same time, Wilson is refining the design of her own microcomputer.
Early summer 1978 Hauser challenges Wilson to build her new design during the summer holidays.
Summer 1978 Prototype built by Wilson on Veroboard, using white ceramic 6502 part. The prototype had the LEDs and keyboard, but no cassette interface.
August 1978 The first (256-byte) PROM blown – the computer works.
November 1978 Hauser sets up a new company, Acorn Computers Limited, to sell the new computer.
April 1979 First kit shipped.
c. 1982 Last System 5 shipped.

The People

Stephen Furber Designed (with Sophie Wilson) the top board (cassette interface).
Hermann Hauser General coordination, encouragement, backing (“lunch at The Copper Kettle or an evening snack from the Greek take-away in Rose Crescent”), etc.
Nick Toop Designed the PROM blower (used for the first monitor), which ran on the Science of Cambridge MK14.
Christopher Brian Turner Drew up the schematics (see initials CBT). Wrote the Technical manual (probably).
Sophie Wilson Designed and built the prototype. Wrote the monitor program. Designed and laid out the bottom (Microcomputer) board. Designed (with Stephen Furber) the top board. Wrote the User’s manual.


  1. The top board was laid out by an external company.
  2. The kits were put together by all the above, with help from Hermann’s fiancée.
  3. Chris Curry joined Acorn later.