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Torch Computers Ltd
I always thought that Torch were related somehow to Acorn because of the products they made, but no. Torch was founded by Martin Vlieland Body, Peter Harris and Russell Lyons who were all chartered accountants. Their sole connection to Acorn is that all 3 founders know Chris Curry and Hermann Hauser. I remember their first product well, it was called the Torch Communicator and was at its heart a BBC Model B and a Z80 2nd CPU in a heavy metal case which also contained a pair of 5.25" floppy drives and a Microvitec CUB monitor. See the advert for one in my Adverts section. The keyboard was spectacular and was the full width of the machine, also made of metal and liable to damage things if dropped on your foot. The Communicator was the first 'PC' to be allowed to connect to the BT network for Viewdata purposes as well as to run Torch's own software. I finally got to see one in 2022!
Their next offering was the same Z80 2nd processor and a heavy metal (see a theme building here?) case which just contained a pair of Mitsubishi floppy drives. The case had a 3 pin Bulgin-style outlet which allowed you to power your BBC Model B with its internal Z80 from the Torch disk unit. The standard BBC PSU and harness was removed and the Torch one fitted instead. The Beeb was now powered by the Torch unit and there was only a single power switch to worry about. The Beeb could now run a CP/M variant called CP/N which had a nicely designed menu interface as well as being able to run most CP/M apps and utilities once they'd been converted to CP/N format.
The 2nd additional processor was the Graduate. It was an external box that connected via the Tube interface and had an Intel 8088 CPU allowing it to run MSDOS 2. There were also expansion ISA slots to allow cards to be added.
The final BBC add-on, the Unicorn, can hardly be called an add-on since it contained TWO external processors - a faster Z80 and a 68000 which allowed the Unicorn to run Unix. It was powerful but it was expensive. I've never seen one so naturally I want one.
After that, Torch were firmly in Unix territory with the release of the Triple-X Workstation, a name which makes internet searches slightly worrying. See the dedicated page here for the writeup of my own Triple-X, kindly given to me by Kevan Heydon waaaay back in the day.
Triple-X Workstation with some every single manual and disk option available.
Torch Disk Pack, now working fully after restoration work by me.

All images and text © Adrian Graham 1999-2024 unless otherwise noted using words. Also on