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twiggy-title4_nsPhoto credits are still being added, but this photograph
of the computer is by Jonathan Zufi of Apple Shrine

The first Mac (Macintosh 128k) computer was originally planned to be released with a Twiggy floppy disk drive, similar to the one used in the Apple Lisa 1 computer, which was announced in January 1983. The Mac 128k was released January 24, 1984.

Both Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs had a vision to maximize the amount of their own company’s intellectual property in the new machine, and Jobs was adamant right to the end that the Macintosh should use Steve Wozniac’s design of a floppy drive, rather than one from a third party.

High error rates with the Twiggy disk drive though forced Apple to switch over to the 400k Sony 3.5″ disk drive in the last two or three months before the Macintosh’s scheduled release on January 24th 1984. Rod Holt recently told Daniel Kottke the major problem was the motor alignment which caused such a high error rate.

To date, only bits and pieces of the original “Twiggy Drive” Macintosh have ever surfaced… a motherboard here, a plastic case there, but never complete machines. This is one of only two known to exist!

Steve Jobs pointedly tried to destroy all the prototypes. Seven or eight were known to have possibly survived despite his efforts in those early days, but now, thirty years later, it is very likely only two remain.

The computers and keyboards are authentic and original, dated 1982-83. The computers and their keyboards were acquired together and complete, and have not been pieced together from miscellaneous parts.

In the early 1980’s, before Apple contracted out the manufacturing of their hardware into Asia, Apple had a corporate division and a factory that built their mass-storage devices. They had developed a proprietary disk drive, code-named “Twiggy”, that could read & write onto a 5-1⁄4″ floppy disk with dual & opposing read/write heads.

By the time the Lisa was ready to ship in the summer of 1983 however, it was clear that the Twiggy was buggy.

Because the Lisa also came with a 5 MB Hard Disk drive, this was not a complete disaster. But the Mac had no hard disk drive, so it faced a crisis.

“The Macintosh team was beginning to panic,” said Andy Hertzfeld. “We were using a single Twiggy drive, and we didn’t have a hard disk drive to fall back on.”

jobs12The team discussed the problem at the January 1983 retreat, and Debi Coleman gave Jobs data about the Twiggy failure rate. A few days later, Jobs drove to Apple’s factory in San Jose to see the Twiggy drive being made. More than half were being rejected. He erupted.

With his face flushed, he began shouting and sputtering, threatening to fire everyone who worked there. Bob Belleville, the head of the Mac engineering team, gently guided him to the parking lot where they could take a walk and discuss some alternatives.

One possibility that Belleville had been exploring, against Job’s wishes, was to use a new 3-1⁄2″ disk drive that Sony had developed.

To read the entertaining story about how the Macintosh team secretly worked on the 3.5″ Sony Disk Drive for the original Mac behind Steve Jobs’ back, please click here!

You may have noticed a mysterious white “Mr. Macintosh” icon on the Motherboard, ROM Expansion Card, and Power Supply board. Who is Mr. Macintosh? Please click here to find out!

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This black and white photograph of the Mac Design Team was taken by Norman Seiff for Rolling Stone, in the lobby of Bandley 3. Andy Hertzfeld says they were told to look serious for this outtake, but they ended up using a happier one in the article. From left to right, it’s George Crow, Joanna Hoffman, Burrell Smith, Andy Hertzfeld, Bill Atkinson and Jerry Mannock.

 

macteam
The full original Macintosh team group photograph taken in 1984.
Photo credits still being added, but main photograph of the Twiggy Macintosh on this website, and the photograph of Steve Jobs above are by Jonathan Zufi, who will be releasing a book soon. His website is  Shrine of Apple.

revAug03, 2013

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Jobs meant to have the Mac prototypes destroyed

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In 1983, faced with more than half the Twiggy drives made failing, Jobs threatened to fire everyone at Apple’s factory in San Jose.

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