EPSON has been around for longer than you'd think, with a history going right back to 1942. However the EPSON we're interested in
here began life in 1975 to produce the next generation of printers based on their first offering back in 1968, the EP-101. EPSON literally translates to
'Son of EP' or 'Son of Electronic Printer'. Everyone knows about the MX80 printer which was launched in 1980 and became the defacto standard for dot matrix
printers. Surprisingly for a printer manufacturer it turned out they were pretty good at computing devices too, and in 1982 launched the world's first
handheld computer, the HX20.
It didn't have a big screen, just 4 lines by 20 chars, but it was the size of an A4 notebook and weighed just under 1.5kg, powered by
rechargeable batteries. There was even a printer built in to the case and an optional micro cassette drive. Amazing for something that had been designed in
1980. An optional barcode wand meant it became popular in libraries and shops, I remember two of my favourite record shops both used HX20s this way.
This was followed by the PX-8 'Geneva' in 1984, a similarly sized machine but with an excellent full width tilting display that
rotated upwards from the case, protecting it whilst travelling. Because it ran CP/M and took ROM cartridges for software, various companies produced Portable
versions of their popular programs, mine has a Wordstar 3.0 ROM because a CP/M machine isn't complete until it's running Wordstar.
Next machine was the HX-40 in 1985 which is basically a cut down PX-8, this machine was also known as the PX-4. It had a 40x8 screen
that was essentially a 'window' onto a virtual screen sized at 80x25 or 40x50 chrs. I haven't found one of those yet.
Latest arrival is an exciting one for me since I've been after one since the late 90s. It's the standard-but-also-fairly-unique QX10 from 1983 :D
QX10 with some manuals. Donated by Stephen Ancell, cheers! HX20 in carry case, working.
HX20 with manuals and tapes, donated by Kieran Matthew, cheers! PX-8 with switchable RAM disk, working and in good condition. CP/M on a portable? Don't mind if I do :) P40-S printer for PX-8 and HX-20. HX20 and PX8 together.