Charles Ingerham Peddle (1937)

Charles Ingerham Peddle (also known as Chuck) was born in 1937 is an American electrical engineer mostly known for his achievements in designing the 6502 microprocessor. Born in Bangor, Maine USA his first experience was in a radio station while he was still studying at high school and in 1955 he joined the Marine Corps. He attended the University of Maine and after he started working with General Electric, later he went to work with Motorola and was involved in the 6800 microprocessor design. Since Motorola processor was one of its kind, prices for this processor was in the region of $200. Peddle considered the price too high which eventually left the company to join MOS Technology as a Microprocessor Development Engineer and started working on The new 6502 MPU, which at the time nobody knew that it was going to be the most successful CPU of the decade. One of the people that saw the potential of this CPU was Jack Tramiel, which at that time was Commodore’s President. Commodore was MOS top client as they use to regularly purchasing large number of dedicated calculator chips.

The Commodore PET

Despite Commodore’s struggle to stay in the market, Commodore managed to buy MOS Technology. Peddle saw this as an opportunity to design a personal computer at the same time that Wozniak and Jobs where designing the Apple II for the public. Peddle was so concerned about his technology being used properly that he got together with Bill Gates to buy Apple INC which coincidentally came for sale at the time, but Jobs and Wozniac where asking $150,000 for the company, and Peddle and Gates managed to get only 2/3 of the asking price so they abandoned this idea and Peddle stayed with Commodore which eventually designed the Commodore PET (Personal Electronic Transactor). It was launched the same year that Apple launched the Apple II in 1977. As a machine everything was integrated the monitor the cassette and the keyboard. The first drawback was the keyboard, the look and feel were more like a calculator then a normal keyboard, and it was later modified for a full real keyboard. Within a short time, more than thousand orders were secured and the first generation of microcomputers designed specifically for use in the home was born. Peddle’s second ambition was to form his own computer company along with Chris Fish, one of the financial brains behind Commodore, and Victor United a subsidiary of the giant Walter Kidde Corporation. They started a new company, and named it Sirius System Technology. The company was mainly focused on 16 bit computers. Their first computer was Sirius S1 in Europe and in the US Victor 9000, which was launched a few weeks before Intel launched their PC and was also based on the INTEL 8088 MPU. The Sirius S1 or Victor 9000 with its detachable keyboard, High resolution Graphics and anti-glare screen was the first personal computer to set standards for office microcomputers. Users found the vastly enhanced speeds and addressing capabilities of the 16-bit microprocessor, along with good software produced for PC Compatible machines were tremendously beneficial.

After Sirius in 1985, Chuck went to work for Tandon building PC Compatible machines, but in 1991 due to company bankruptcy he went to work for Celetron. Chuck Peddle had gone a long way and managed to achieve his ambitions. He managed to set new standards to follow and manage to bring computing power within reach to all. He was always ahead of others and always showed great talent in his work. Today he is considered one of the pioneers in setting standards and changing our lives.