The First Sphere Computer

First Sphere Computer Ad, Radio Electronics July 1975

Sphere was the first company to advertise a Motorola 6800 based computer. A small ad appeared in the June 1975 issue of Radio Electronics. Another small ad was in the September issue and the full page ads were in the November 1975 issue.

Wayne Green visited Sphere in August of 1975 and wrote about it in Byte and 73 Magazine. Sphere delivered the first systems at the end of October 1975. They had difficulties delivering complete and working systems. SWTPC  had more resources and a computer that worked when assembled.  Sphere sold about 1300 systems before closing.

Here is the story of the first Sphere customer.

I saw the original ad for the Sphere in radio electronics. After borrowing some funds from my sisters and brothers I ordered the kit. It did not come for many long months later. I found out later I was the very first order the company received.

When the kit came I assembled it and powered it up. No joy it was DOA. I had a friend who was a EE and worked at the radar station in Antigua where I currently was. We spent some time with an oscilloscope and probes and eventually found 2 dead chips. These got replaced and joy oh joy it booted up!

I went on to design and build a b&w graphics card for the system. I then wrote a Tank War game and designed 2 sets of controllers for it. It was an arcade style game for 2 people to driver their tanks around and shoot at each other. Each controller had to levers that moved forward and back and a fire button on the top of one of the levers. I submitted this with a home movie of the game in action to Sphere and won their first (and only) annual "What do I use my Sphere computer for" contest.

I had my sphere for many years and finally sold it working to a collector in Longwood Florida. I don't remember his name and have no idea what ever happened to it. Mine was some what unique as I mounted the chassis and cards to the top of the CRT unit so I can easily get into it and change things.

M. Scott Adams (Not Dilbert, Adventure!)