Housewives were expected to learn hexadecimal..

Most people are familiar with the early history of computers and how they evolved from huge tape spinning machines to the small compact computers of today.  One of the earliest personal computers was the Honeywell 316 which was marketed as a Kitchen Computer.

That was one of the first attempts at putting computers in the hands of the general public; till then it was looked upon as something which only mathematicians and engineers could use.

The Kitchen Computer showed up in the 1969 Neiman Marcus Xmas Catalog. The advertisement promised this to be a great gadget for housewives to store and retrieve recipes. No more having to look up recipe books and try to remember ingredients for apple pie.

All you needed was to pay $10,000 and have space in the kitchen to put this machine which weighed a 100 pounds. Apart from that, a teletype keyboard and a paper tape reader. And in order to use this, a housewife had to learn hexadecimal coding so that she could interact with the computer.

The Honeywell 316 got a lot of publicity and it was a huge success. It sold exactly zero units!















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