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Apple-1, the mystery of the handwritten serial number solved after 45 years

About 45 years ago, Apple sold its first product: Apple-1the computer designed by Steve Wozniak with Steve Jobs. The beginning of an era. And also of a mystery: in those first 200 Apple-1s soldthere is a serial number handwritten, becoming today essential to recognize the very first models sold. But no one knows who wrote those figures. To this day: Handwriting analysis has revealed who has ‘signed’ those very first computers.

Apple’s serial number-1 mystery revealed after 45 years

On March 5, 1975, Steve Wozniak I participate in the first meeting ofHomebrew Computer Club in Gordon French’s garage in Menlo Park. Inspired by this club of computer enthusiasts, he decided to cblock a computer alone. That it was easier to use thanks to the use of a keyboard and that it could be connected to a screen. After submitting his work to the club, him and his friend Steve Jobs they began to share production schemes, trying to turn that passion into a job. A job that today has transformed Apple into the largest company ever, in economic terms.

After various agreements, second thoughts and vicissitudes, they come to sell for the first time “about fifty” computers to the Byte Shop in Mounatin View. In those first few months, about 200 computers hit the market. Of these, 82 still exist. And about 80, belonging to the first hundred sold, have a serial code written on the mainboard. A series of numbers “01-00##”.

apple 1 steve jobs e wozniak minAt a conference, Jobs shows a photo of him and Wozniak with Apple-1

Nobody really knows who wrote that numerical series. Steve Jobs would have denied having done so, Steve Wozniak he categorically excluded it. Daniel Kottkewho has assembled and tested some of the boards, claims it wasn’t him. Paul Terrell, the own of the Byte Shop who first believed in Apple, says he is not responsible. So who could it be? An enthusiast has found an answer.

Handwriting analysis

Achim Baqué created theApple-1 Registry, a database that lists every Apple-1 computer still in circulation in the world. A true enthusiast of this piece of computer history, he wanted to go to the bottom of this mystery.

apple-1 serial numbers mystery-minThe handwritten serial number on the Apple-1s

So he took two Apple-1’s ona property, taking them from Germany to Los Angeles. With a cargo of about a million dollars. And he showed the writing a PSA, a company specializing in handwriting authentication. But he usually works on the signatures in sports cards, not on the computers of almost half a century ago.

PSA analyzed several characteristics. The folding of the numbers, the precision of the stroke, the pressure of the pen, the size of the numbers. For three months, they analyzed these numerical series comparing them with different documents writings of Apple’s “founding fathers” and anyone who could have scored the mainboards.

Finally, he unveiled the mystery of the Apple-1: was Steve Jobs. The co-founder of Apple wanted to authenticate in this way the first cards of the first of many products that he would have launched on the market. Perhaps for a practical matter, which perhaps he simply forgot after a few months. Or maybe a part of Jobs hoped those Apple-1s would not just be computers, but gods pillars of consumer computing.

You can find here the certificate explaining that “Steve Jobs did not sign the circuits on the board, but the writing is marked by his hand”.

Walker Ronnie is a tech writer who keeps you informed on the latest developments in the world of technology. With a keen interest in all things tech-related, Walker shares insights and updates on new gadgets, innovative advancements, and digital trends. Stay connected with Walker to stay ahead in the ever-evolving world of technology.