When Tandy introduced the TRS-80, the computer we know now as the "Model 1" or Model I" was simply called the TRS-80. No "Model" designation was necessary. The early releases were as follows:

  1. TRS-80, August 1977
  2. TRS-80 Model II, October 1979 (expensive model for business market)
  3. TRS-80 Model III, July 1980 (home computer successor to original TRS-80
  4. TRS-80 Model 4, April 1983 (successor to the Model III)

One assumes the original computer was given and marketed with a distinguishing name once the Model II began to be marketed. Was it:

  1. TRS-80 Model I (Roman numeral to match the Model II)
  2. TRS-80 Model 1 (Arabic for simplicity, and make the Model II name seem "classy")
  3. Tandy never actually gave the original an official, distinguishing name.

I have searched, and have not been able to find an authoritative answer. Some sites use Arabic, some Roman numerals. If there was a distinguishing name given, would someone please post a picture of the box with that name, or perhaps an official Tandy advertisement using that name? (Without a picture, it didn't happen! 😉) A link would be useful as well.

  • 2
    Like the old fake headline "World War I ended" It wasn't I until there was a II. – manassehkatz Feb 23 '18 at 21:08

I've gathered some pictures. Here is an early USA advert.

USA introductory ad for TRS-80

Note that it is never referred to as a "Model 1" or "Model I". It's just a "TRS-80".

Here is a later USA ad, after the Model II was released. USA TRS-80 ad after Model II released

Note that the price has gone down, but there is no indication that they have extended the name for the original model. The new Model II is specifically called out though. (The "Level I" refers to the low-end BASIC sold with the cheapest system.)

Here is a later ad from the UK. It also came after the Model II was released. enter image description here

Both the Model I and Model II names are specifically called out, in addition to the two Model I systems for Level I BASIC and Level II BASIC.

Tentatively these ads indicate that the original machine was publicly referred to as the "Model I" in the UK. The catalog Raffzahn mentions is for the USA (I looked it up), so at least in brochures, Tandy would refer to the "Model I" after the Model II came out. The middle image suggests Tandy did not feel it necessary to use the Model I designater in USA ads.


I did browse some of my racks and found that thruout all Tandy Computer Catalogues, starting with RCS-3 in 1979 the original TRS-80 was called TRS-80 Model I (Roman Numeral). But in original Tandy manuals and documentations I did find many spellings as TRS-80 Model 1. So it seams as if they did keep the Model I seplling thruout all advertisement, but not over all.

Similar BTW for the early distinction between Level 1/2 and I/II BASIC.

  • I've been researching too. So far, it seems that in Britain the "Model I" designation was used. In the USA, though, I have found no evidence that "Model I" or "Model 1" was ever an official descriptor. Nor have I seen any images of the computer itself where the front plate or keyboard used anything other than "TRS-80". I've gathered some images, will post in a while. Would you and @wizzwizz4 like to meet in chat? – RichF Feb 23 '18 at 22:08

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