I routinely tell people that my family used to own an Apple II computer, but technically we didn’t. We actually owned a Franklin Ace 1000, which was 100% compatible with the Apple II. In fact it was so compatible that Apple soon sued Franklin soon after it was released for copying their ROMs.
In this picture which was taken at my parents’ computer store (Yukon Software) back in 1985, you can see the Franklin Ace 1000 playing Little Computer People. The computer in the background is I think our PC Jr. The printer in between the two computers was an Epson FX-80.
Oh, and those boxes of Bonus blank diskettes? I still have one. I still have that monitor, too.
Our Franklin Ace 1000 — the actual one in that picture — is long gone. When I began building up my own little retro computer empire a few years ago, I bought another off of eBay. They’re not super rare (there’s one new in the box on eBay right now for $300… plus shipping) but I think I paid around $100 for mine (again, plus shipping). I haven’t had a place to set it up yet so it’s been sitting out in the garage since I bought it.
Also out in my garage is my golf cart. I bought a golf cart several years ago because… well, I wanted a golf cart. I drive it around from time to time.
The problem with the golf cart is the roof. The roof is plastic and at just the right height where (a) it’s convenient to occasionally stack things on top of it, but (b) it’s difficult to see if anything is stacked up on top of it.
Stop me if you see where this is going.
I took the golf cart out for a spin the other day. I don’t remember stacking the Franklin Ace 1000 on top of the golf cart recently, but apparently I did. Despite the wind and bumps in the road, it appears the computer hung on for dear life for quite some time; until I hit the brakes, in fact. When I did, the entire thing flew off the roof and smashed into the pavement right in front of my eyes.
The back of the case broke; the front merely suffered road rash. The keys you see are the ones I was able to find and snap back on. The rest were either broken, or disappeared.
After pulling the few parts that weren’t smashed or destroyed from the fall, I begrudgingly and unceremoniously dumped the Franklin into the garbage.
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