By Mark Nobes, chief editor
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 However, little over a year later this was superceded by the VT52.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).
Between 1987-1990 DEC produced the VT330, VT340, VT340+, VT420
In 1990 the VT500 series was introduced which included the VT510, VT520 and VT525