Modems: 60 years of hooking up

A visual guide to the history of the modem, from the 1950s to today.

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Early Home PC Modems 

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Modems for the early personal computers of the late 1970s and early 1980s were a mix of direct-connect (where the user plugged the phone line directly into the modem) and acoustic models. Some were "smart," copying the Hayes command set; others were dumb clones of the Bell 103A standard and required manual dialing. Here we see (clockwise from upper left) the Apple Modem 300, the Commodore Vicmodem, and the Atari 830. The highest modem speed of the time was 1200 bps.

Photos: Apple, Old-computers.com, Atari

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