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
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?
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
Amber screen 7" Monitor
External port for Winchester hard drive
Operating system CP/M 3
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
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|
|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.|
||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
||This is a screen shot of the Wren
Executive Desktop this gives you access to:
Management ( Diary )
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