I've just finished reading Charles Petzold's book, Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software. In it Charles explains building relays into gates, gates into logic components, and logic components into computing machines.
He talks about the book TTL Data Book for Design Engineers which first came out in 1973. (I'm assuming people had lists of TTL gate chips prior to this). This talks a lot about the Texas Instruments 7400 series of logic gate chips.
Could there have been a homebrew computing club in 1971? Could people have wired together logic gates to build a CPU prior to the 8008 coming out?
(I'm assuming this is people outside the Intel design office who are prototyping the next CPU).
My question is: Were people building CPUs out of TTL logic prior to the 4004, 8080 and the 6800?
Edit: Assumption: By "people" I mean any hobbyist or engineer who is not explicitly prototyping the next CPU to be manufactured by Intel or Motorola.