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Smaller is Better

A miniskirt on the cover of Life Magazine

In the era of miniskirts—the smallest practical skirts—minicomputers were the smallest practical computers.

Smaller is Better

Minicomputers were small and cheap enough to be used by one person, or dedicated to one task. That opened a world of new uses. They could do accounting for small businesses, control manufacturing, or collect scientific data.

At one point, more than 100 companies made minis. Most failed to survive the intense competition, but a few lasted until personal computers made minis obsolete.

PDP-8 family advertisement

A later model in the PDP-8 family of minicomputers is under the heel of a miniskirted young woman.

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What is a Minicomputer?

A minicomputer is a simple, fast, inexpensive computer that is easily connected to other equipment and responds quickly to outside signals.

At first called “real-time control computers,” they were later dubbed “minicomputers” as they started to be used for a wider variety of applications beyond real-time control.

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