A Short History of the ThinkPad Laptop

History of the ThinkPad laptop begins in the year of 1992, starting with a range of computers that were sold and manufactured by IBM. The roots of the name come from a 1920s slogan from IBM. The slogan 'THINK!' was brought about by Thomas Watson and was included on many brown leatherette pocket-sized notebooks that were given to customers and employees.

The name ThinkPad was suggested by Denny Wainwright, an IBM employee working for the company at the time. Whilst the name faced difficulties with the naming committee it stuck as a brand name after the press showed appreciation for it. The naming procedure for IBM computers was numerical.

ThinkPads were released during October of 1992 with three models being presented, starting with the 700, 700C and 700T. The 700C used Windows 3.1 as its operating system and contained a 120MB hard drive, 25MHz processor and a small and revolutionary 10.4 inch TFT full color display. Weighing 2.9kg or 6.5lb in weight it measured just 56mm by 300mm by 210mm and originally cost $4,350.

The prototype ThinkPad different significantly from the commercial version with it's tablet style design without a keyboard. The commercial ThinkPad had a pointing stick or TrackPoint device in bright red, enabling the laptop to be used without the use of a mouse.

A repair mission to the Hubble Telescope during December 1993 included NASA tests run on a ThinkPad 750. Making its way aboard the Endeavour space shuttle it determined whether radiation contained in space could cause anomalies in the ThinkPad or other unanticipated problems. The Space Station as of 2010 still holds many computers by ThinkPad for use.

During the history of the ThinkPad laptop the design has been praised for unique and quirky designs. A butterfly design keyboard that folded out can still be seen displayed on the ThinkPad 701 at the Modern Art Museum in New York.


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