Digital Equipment Corporation was founded in 1957 and was based in Maynard, Massachusetts. The company became defunct in 1998 and was acquired by Compaq, who then merged with Hewlett-Packard in May 2002.
The first free-standing CRT computer terminal by DEC was the VT05 which was launched in 1970 - this is not a computer, but merely a text terminal with enough ROM to connect it to a server computer which actually ran the programs.
It looked incredibly futuristic at the time, and, no doubt, featured in one or two sci-fi movies. Personally, I find the 1970s and 1980s technology much more appealing to the eye than from the 90s onwards when everything, in general, started to look rather bland and uninspiring.
The VT05 featured no fancy editing functions (bold, underline, reverse scrolling etc.) that we take for granted in word processors today, so it wouldn't have been easy to use. The 5x7 dot matrix display was only in upper case using with 20 rows by 72 columns. Lower case could be added using coding, but was rarely used.
The unit could also be used as a NTSC video monitor for cameras and recorders and included video input.
The VT05 was replaced with the VT50 in July 1974. However, little over a year later this was superceded by the VT52. The VT50 displayed just 12 rows of text (80 columns) with double-spacing and was still in uppercase only. It used the same cabinet as the VT52 (below).
The much improved VT52 must have been a dream come true for 70s typists! It featured the luxury of lowercase text, bi-directional scrolling and WYSIWYG editing. The display featured 24 rows by 80 columns with support for all 95 ASCII characters and an additional 32 graphics characters and an expanded control character system.
Further models included the VT55, VT61 and VT62. This advert for the VT55 Graphics Terminal featured in Computerworld on October 29th 1975. $2495 was considered a low price for such technology in the mid 1970s, but this price is more than you would pay for a decent almost 40 years later!
The DEC VT100 was the first mass-produced terminal to feature graphic renditions - blinking, bolding, underlining and invert video where the background and text colours are inverted. The user could choose from an 80 or 132 column display (luxury in the late 70s). In 1983, the VT100 was replaced by the superior VT200 series.
The VT220 was part of the 200 series and produced between 1983 and 1987. Improvements over the VT100 included a much quicker microprocessor, a more modern, detachable keyboard and a less bulky monitor. Other models in the series were the VT240 and 241.
Between 1987-1990 DEC produced the VT330, VT340, VT340+, VT420
In 1990 the VT500 series was introduced which included the VT510, VT520 and VT525