Alto Personal Computer

A Computer of Note

The Alto was the first networked personal computer. It was invented at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) by the team of Ed McCreight, Chuck Thacker, Butler Lampson, Bob Sproull and Dave Boggs to explore office automation. Altos were the first production computers to have a bit-mapped display, windows and a mouse. Ethernet technology, also invented at PARC, was first used to connect Altos.

Though Xerox was unable to market the Alto -- they cost $32,000 in 1979 -- the computer impressed many others who did push the technologies. For example, Apple Computer co-founder Steve Jobs was so impressed when he saw the Alto, he created the revolutionary Apple Macintosh in its image.