Click Here to visit our Sponsor
The History of Computing The Magazine Have Fun there ! Buy goodies to support us
  Mistake ? You have mr info ? Click here !Add Info     Search     Click here use the advanced search engine
Browse console museumBrowse pong museum


Ready prompt T-shirts!

see details
ZX81 T-shirts!

see details
ZX Spectrum T-shirts!

see details
Spiral program T-shirts!

see details
Atari joystick T-shirts!

see details
Arcade cherry T-shirts!

see details
Battle Zone T-shirts!

see details
Vectrex ship T-shirts!

see details
Moon Lander T-shirts!

see details
Atari ST bombs T-shirts!

see details
Competition Pro Joystick T-shirts!

see details
C64 maze generator T-shirts!

see details
Elite spaceship t-shirt T-shirts!

see details
Pak Pak Monster T-shirts!

see details
BASIC code T-shirts!

see details
Vector ship T-shirts!

see details
Breakout T-shirts!

see details
Pixel adventure T-shirts!

see details

O > ONTEL > OP-1


This mini forum is intended to provide a simple means of discussion about the Ontel OP-1 computer. If you want to share your own experience or memories, or add relevant information about this system: post a message!

  Click Here to add a message in the forum


Monday 12th July 2021
Guy Spriet (Rye, New-York )

TRUE,,, Yes, ONTEL was a wonderful partner. I had to design a full computer system named GS132 for a French based company specialized in the Graphic industry (1976) and the team at Ontel had the most intelligent terminal one can dream of. It helped to decentralize the intelligence at the operator level, thus making the software design much easier at the CPU level. I have worked in cooperation with many OEM manufacturers and I can tell, Ontel''s team was exceptional. Only good memories.

Friday 7th June 2019
James Intriglia (Tampa, FL / USA))

Fresh out of Electronic Engineering Technology college, I was hired by Bill Ohm and employed as an Instructor by Ontel when it was Owned by Caesars World (1980-1981?).

For a period of time, I authored a customer newsletter for Ontel using an OP-1 computer that supported our customer education team and our clients. I taught Ontel customers how to use the OP/1 and it''s software applications to manage various aspects of their business.

The OP-1''s in our office space were supported by CDC Hawk and Phoenix hard disk drives, the size of a washing machine.

The CDC Hawk had an amazing 20MB storage capacity, while the more state-of-the art Phoenix drive had a massive 40MB storage capacity, with removable hard disk packs.

Little did I know that the technology I was working with would born an entire new industry led by Bill Gates and Steve Wozniak.

Great to have the privilege of working with people and technology that pre-dated Microsoft and the IBM personal computer!

Monday 4th June 2018
Gregory Nutt (Costa Rica)

My first job was programming Ontel terminal applications for the Illinois Law Enforcement commissions in 1979. With HP mainframes. Great memories.

Wednesday 29th November 2017
Tom Lawrence (Ohio, USA)

I was an end user of Ontel computers. As an electronic technician who learned how to program applications on Ontel computers, I can say I really loved these systems - solid and pretty reliable We primarily used the dual 8" floppy drives and CDC Hawk drives. I have actually thought about looking for one as a personal museum piece.

We also used to use the CDC 9448 CMD (Pheonix Drives) disk drives. We thought the 96 MBytes would be all that anyone would ever need for storage. LOL! I can remember when the disk head access on those drives was so aggressive during certain extensive data searches that the drive actually walked its way across the floor and without crashing the drive heads.

Wednesday 28th June 2017
Phil Fedele (Somerset NJ / USA)
Philips Lighting

From my 2013 posting, forgot to mention the operations support of the OP-1 systems included troubleshooting$fixing$replacing parts:
Picture-tubes, fly-back transformers, capacitors, resisters, keys, keyboards, circuit board sockets, I/O ports... pretty much anything and everything on the OP-1 !!

Thursday 18th June 2015
Khalid Khan, ONTEL Test Technician

from Test Technician KHALID KHAN, Ontel Corp, Woodbury: 1978-80. email: I was a night-shift technician hired by TOM CORNETTO, the supervisor. First day I met PAUL MATULONIS a lanky bearded guy who was a very intelligent decent human being, and a helpful friend. He trained me in the schematics and trouble-shooting of the 1164 pc board, and in the use of the WETTEST software routine to check it. Mostly it turned out that boards failed because of solder shorts at back on the reverse side. Soon, we all figured that out, and became PhDs on that, and could fix ANY board without looking at the schematics or hooking up the Oscilloscope. The test floor was very social and we made good friends as well as sometimes argued too. This was 1970s New York Saturday Night Fever disco era. There were some nice chicks at Ontel. At times we used to find excuses to stand near the pc-board repair girls and joke with them and get some double-meaning answers. A real fun girl was JENNIFER STONE who talked bawdy at times and provided fun. At other times management caught some girls and guys making out in car in the parking lot. Other girls JUANITA and JESSE. The wife of one of the executives was DEBBIE BORSCINO, who was a hottie everyone noted. Among my friends was BOB SHORT, a Karate black belt under Sensei Teriyuki Higa of Okinawa Kenpo Karate School in Hempstead. Bob looked exactly like actor/body builder William Smith. Another friend was STEVE RICARDI who also trained in Kenpo Karate under master Higa. You could get a job at Ontel Corp if you just knew how a 74F74 Flip-Flop chip worked. In Long Island snow fall, going back at night at end of 2nd Shift, in my Buick LeSabre, my car used to slide sideways on the road. Sometimes, I stopped somewhere to get a 50 cent slice of Pizza and a cup of hot chocolate. Much later, I met Bob Short again in Silicon Valley in California, one day when I was teaching Filipino stick-fighting Serrada Eskrima at Tony Janovich''s Danzen-Ryu School in Santa Clara in San Francisco south-bay Silicon Valley area, when master Bob Short walked in. I eventually ended up in Hollywood working as a on-set technician at low-budget films, and at glamor films. I met many famous stars, and was personal assistant to Russ Meyers'' heroine.

Sunday 29th March 2015
Alberto Frenicchi (Italia)

During the years ''78 to 80'' , I was working for the italian Company Olivetti and together with Liciano Mazzeo, I was in charge of the quality assurance of OEM products. From Ontel we have been buying a word processor versione of the OPPO.1, I travelled a lot at that times to Woodbury, almost every month, and I had the privilege to know David Ophir, Moshe Nadby, David Shiffer, Frank Kirby, Bruce Komusin and many other ingeneers which I don''t remember the name of.
Everybody have been very good cooperative people and I''ve spent an unforgettable time with them from both the view points: professional and friendly.
All my greetings to all the people that shares with me the memorie of the Company and of the people that worked in it.

Thursday 5th March 2015
Bill March (lancaster pa)

I was the Credit Manager at Ontel In my position I met with all the customers such as LATIN DATA ,AEG TELEFUNKEN , SACO,etc .I also remember BRIAN STEPHENS,JOHN EMMERICK,DOM BONNAMO,DAVE HANLON,and manny more nice persons. I was one a few that were transfered to Tewsbury MA when VISUAL took over .The day i arrived in MA. they were talking of going bankrupt .I stayed a year and watched the company be destroyed..

Friday 8th August 2014
Ken Simpson

Worked Ontel Customer Service from about 1978 to 1983. Worked as Customer Service Engineer then Customer Service Supervisor until Visual Technologies took them over and the big lay-off''s began. Imagine a desk top, stand alone, word processor basically a desk top computer back in the 70''s.

Wednesday 26th March 2014
John Kirby

My father was VP of Sale and Marketing during the 70s and sold this machine. He helped develop the Ontel Amigo and remembers when a young Bill Gates came to visit the plant and met with Ed Heinze.

Wednesday 26th March 2014
Jochen Emmes (Germany)
Historic Computer

I have a Telefunken version of this machine, very similar or even the same model like Andy Collins. Unfortunately the cable to connect the double 8 " disk drive is missing and even when I can get this fixed I will still miss a suitable disk (I''ve got several 8" floppy disks but not for the Telefunken 5200). When I powered up the system it came whith a black screen,
no reaction to any keypress - maybe this is normal with no floppy drive connected. At least the were no exploding capacitors nor the smell of something burning. If anyone has some hints for me (f.e. the wiring of the floppy cable) please email me at: jochen dot emmes at gmail dot com

Friday 28th February 2014
Ian Hayden (UK)

I serviced these things when I briefly worked at General Computer systems (UK) Ltd in the very early 80''s. GCS did sales and support for ONTEL. I remember they were quite heavy! and most of the ones we saw were used for early Word processing applications, always some nice secretaries around to chat up during a service visit. In those days we were always made a cup of coffee and looked after on our visits.

Friday 24th January 2014
Craig Miller (NYC, USA)

This was my first computer. My father brought one home when I was about 10 years old. After playing the classic game "hunt the wampus" for a while, I taught myself BASIC and wrote some software to help me keep track of my paper route. This eventually led to a career in software engineering.

Thanks so much to Ontel!

Thursday 13rd June 2013
Mark Moore (High Wycombe, England)
Carlins Software Solutions Ltd

Interesting stuff, used to program one of these in OPL,was a builders billing system, didn''t realise it used Isam (I guess like C-Isam from Unix?).
In our spare time we used to write games in MS Basic lol
Great machine

Monday 4th March 2013
Dave Bossi (Barnegat Light, NJ)

SACBOL - Boy does this take me back! We used these to develop firmware for medical dispensing machines and I wrote an inventory management system in SACBOL. Great machines that did tend to get a bit warm if you have a lot of memory installed.

Thursday 21st February 2013
Bill Holmes (Alachua, Fl. USA)

I wa one of Phil Fedele''s users. I remember this system replacing our "old technology" of a Flexowriter using IBM punch cards and paper tape, the Paper Tape Reader, and a Magnetic Tape Base in 1978 to process our work to a main frame via a dial-up modem. Pretty high tech at the time. I agree with Phil, the OP-1 were work horses.

Wednesday 20th February 2013
Phil Fedele (Somerset NJ, USA)

I was hired by Westinghouse Lamps (soon to be Philips Lighting) in Bloomfield NJ back in Feb 1983 (I was 19 !). My job in the door was to be the sole repair / support person for a nationwide network of OP-1 / 64 terminals. We had a staff programmer who wrote the code and I burned the new programming options via an EEPROM programmer (and erased the chips too for new programs). We called them W.I.T. Westinghouse Intelligent Terminals and they connected to our IBM mainframe system via bi-sync protocol for batch entry. When our modems lines were down around the country, the field could still enter until the OP-1/64 buffer was full !
We ran them in our company for almost 10 years !
Great systems.

Tuesday 12th February 2013
Fred Kohler (South Africa)

I worked with Steve Millard. and was the design engineer. I modified the Op/70 and added a second PCB on pins mainly through the 8085 CPU and the extra board had 2 CPU''s 8085 and the then new 8088 with added memory so we had an extra 256K memory. Using a memory map logic the 8085 was able to get at the extra memory and of course the 8088 had direct access. The SACBOL was modified so part of it ran in the 8085 and part in the 8088. When the machine booted up it was the standert OP1/70.

Monday 11th February 2013
Andy Collins (United Kingdom)

I have the Telefunken version of these machine. Sadly mine isn''t working at the moment but I hope to get it going when I can.

It''s a weighty beast of a thing with a card cage with wire-wrap at the back. The cards seem to have specific slots that they work in as wiring at the back runs from certain pins on each card to connectors on the back.

Sunday 2nd December 2012
Steve Millard (South Africa)

An amazing machine ahead of its time. I defined and wrote the Sacbol (OPL) language, Sacmft, Isam as well as the CDC emulators. Nice to know that it was used world wide by companies like AEG ,Wallgreens, CDC and the like. We had major customers in South Africa running real time applications.

Saturday 29th September 2012
Daniel (Argentina)

I used to work with OP 1, programming sacbol software applications.
you remember sacbol. dont u?
Here in Argentina, it was the first version of screen PC available to the most of the middle companies range.
Just as I got my degree, I began to work with OP1 So I could leave my other love: burroughs L4000
Ohohoh I feel like I m getting old.

Wednesday 23rd May 2012
Ian McAlister (South Africa)

We used Ontels in the ''80s as a platform to run access control and Time and Attendace systems for large gold mines - up to 50,000 employees clocking in real time! The company was Saco Systems and was based in Johannesburg, South Africa. An amazing machine for its time!

Click here to go to the top of the page   
Contact us | members | about | donate old-systems | FAQ
OLD-COMPUTERS.COM is hosted by - NYI (New York Internet) -