Wren Executive Computer


 

I got this computer early in 2001 and it appears to be in as new condition, it is complete with its original carrying bag, modem lead and serial printer cable. Unfortunately there was no boot disk for it so even though it powers up OK there is no way of telling if it all works. This may be classed as a portable but you wouldn't want to carry it very far as it is bulky and heavy, as you can see by the dimensions below. It was manufactured by Thorn EMI around about 1984.

To transport this you slide the top section (monitor & disk drives) forwards over the keyboard and clip a thick cover on the front. The power cable fits inside the front cover, and it also stands up on its front cover, the handle is a full width bar attached to the back.

I just checked on the layout of the ports on the back and found that the printer port was a 15 pin D type which I thought was odd, so I checked the cable and the cable is a 15 pin D type to a 36 pin centronics which is unusual so does anybody know if this is serial or parallel or something that is specific to this computer?

Update

In October 2002 Pete Richards from Leeds sent me a copy of the boot disk and the sofware suite so it is now up and running, although it might take a bit to understand how some of it works. Screen shots at the bottom.

Processor Zilog Z80

Twin 5.25" single head floppy disk drives

Internal modem

Amber screen 7" Monitor

External port for Winchester hard drive

Operating system CP/M 3

Dimensions

16.5" (42cm) wide

19" (48cm) deep

9.5" (24cm) Wide

Weight 15Kg approx.

Powered up waiting for an operating system disk

Here is a small extract that I have taken from a reply e-mail that I received from Alisdair MacRae Birch about what he can remember of the Wren Executive Computer.

"I was one of the main developers of the Wren Computer along with three other guys from Transam computers. I have lost touch with all those guys now, but hopefully they are all doing well.

The machine itself was way ahead of it's time. It was the first portable machine, with built in high capacity disc drives, an onboard 9600 Baud modem and had a desktop interface, along with a whole heap of other features. It was probably one of the first computers in the world to have a desktop interface with folders that you clicked on and you could control the cursor using joystick input - the so called Wren Desktop!

We originally got the idea from some colleagues in Xerox, the same place that Apple got their ideas, and long before Microsoft! It was billed as the communication machine and all users got subscriptions to BT Gold, One-2-One and the Prestel service. We even set-up a BBS where of users could download programs and get their electronic mail. All of this long before the internet! "

Alisdair MacRae Birch
Jazz Guitarist
http://www.alisdair.com


Side view open ready for use.

Side view closed ready to have front cover fitted.
Front cover fitted ready to be put in the carrying bag
View of the rear ports from left to right
BT approved modem connection
Left/Right paddle controls 6 pin din
RS 232 25 pin D type
Winchester drive 26 pin ribbon type
Printer 15 pin D type
Reset button
Colour monitor 7 pin din
 
I have been able to take these screen shots thanks to the help of Pete Richards from Leeds sending me copies of the boot disk and the software suite that came with the Wren originaly, 10 x 5.25" floppies.


Wren Menu

This is a screen shot of the Wren menu which is on the start up disk and gives you access to the

Wren Executive Desktop
Perfect Writer
Perfect Calc
Perfect Filer
Communications
Also disk copy and format facilities


Wren Desktop

This is a screen shot of the Wren Executive Desktop this gives you access to:

Time Management ( Diary )
Addresses
Deskfile
Filling
Calculator
Typewriter
Project planner
Utility - Backup

 

Home

Please E-mail Me if you have any further information or if you know of somebody that has got one with the boot disk and
maybe some of the original software that was supplied with it new.

 

Last Updated 18th October 2002