12.3.2017 Personal Computer Museum hosts special guest
By Michael-Allan Marion, Brantford Expositor Personal Computer Museum curator Syd Bolton was beside himself with anticipation as he talked to visitors about the impending arrival of a special guest.
Dan Dorsey, son of iconic but little known computer wizard Steve Dorsey, was coming Saturday around noon to view a model of the MICOM video word processor in preparation of a video he planned to shoot about his inventor father, who will soon turn 80 years old.
Stephen Bernard Dorsey of Montreal was the founder in the 1970s f two companies, AES Data Inc. and Micom Company which developed world’s first video word processor, which represented the evolution of the typewriter into the personal computer, Bolton told visitors who waited with snacks prepared for those who were gathering.
Dorsey started with AES, then left the company he founded in 1975 to start Micom, Bolton explained. Then he sold MICOM in 1981 after the company had reached $200 million in sales.
“He went on to start other companies whenever he came up with ideas. His latest venture was BabyTEL. You can call him a serial entrepreneur,” said Bolton.
“But little is known about him today, and his computers have been destroyed over time. Dan has to come to this museum to find enough models to do the video.”
Just then, Dan Dorsey arrived and shook hands with several visitors before being ushered upstairs to view a complete model of the MICOM.
“It’s hard to find one of these. It’s a part of Canadian history that is nowhere to be found,” Dorsey said as he beheld his father’s invention and began taking photos with his I-phone.
Bolton showed him a series of MICOM sales brochures.
“Everybody knows about Silicon Valley. Canada has a rich history with MICOM, AES, Blackberry and other companies, but that is not well known,” Dorsey said as he perused the brochures.
“My Dad is turning 80 and I’m trying to chronicle his career.”
The son made a reference to a book called Knights of New Technology: The Inside Story About Canada’s Computer Elite. His father has a chapter on MICOM.
“Micom and AES competed against Xerox, IBM and Wang. They’re the largest technology companies in the world, yet Canadian companies can stand against them,” said Dorsey.
“People who worked at Micom started Hummingbird and Eicon (both in 1984). The history is rich.”
After taking more photos and perusing other MICOM artifacts, Dorsey circulated with visitors and continued his monologue about the Canadian computer and Microsoft technology industry.
“You’ve got good stuff here,” he told Bolton.
“It’s amazing to see it.”