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P > POLYMORPHIC  > System 8813   

System 8813

The Polymorphic System 8813 was the larger brother of the Poly 88.

William Davis reports :
This unit could connected to an add-on unit (MS 88) that consisted of two 8" Shugart DSDD disk drives. Near the end Polymorphic System also featured a 10 MB hard disk and a unit called the "Twin Systems" which allowed two simultaneous users on a shared bus.

I had all the above, buying the first of three 8813 in 1978 and continuing to use it until 1987 when I switched to a series of Kaypro machines. As a last attempt to stay alive Poly tried to market a CP/M based version. I also had one of these which was an unmitigated disaster.

The software sold by Polymorphic Systems consisted of a Word Processor (very much like the early WordStar), a data base program and their OS.

Kyle York reports us :
It doesn't use a specific operating system. It could add/extend, delete files but the filesystem was a linked-list. To recover disk space you had to run a utility. Best use was a business-basic package that was incredible.

Charles A Thompson reports:
with respect to memory, the Poly was capable of handling 64K -- of which about 8K was for the operating system roms. I have (still have!) several 8813s. One of them has a 48K memory board and an 8K memory board, which placed the upper end of memory at about 56K.

It took some time for the IBM PC-type of machine to catch up to the capabilities Poly already had when the PC was first introduced (such as subdirectories). Poly could have lengthy file names (up to 32 characters, as I recall, which included any subdirectory names), plus a two-character extension.

I still run several Poly programs, which I significantly wrote, such as General Ledger and Payroll (that is, I got some very crude programs, and rewrote them extensively).

In addition to their Word Master word processing program, PolyMorphic Systems also sold programs entitled Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, Inventory Control, Mailist, Plan (Polymorphic Language for ANalysis), Universal Plotter, and Loan and Investment Analysis. There were probably others -- those are just the ones I have in my collection. Poly also made available a Field Service manual, which contained a significant amount of technical data (I have one of these, also).

Most of the programs were dated 1978, and it's my understanding that these were spruced-up versions of programs originally written for internal purposes by Interactive Products Corporation (aka PolyMorphic Systems).

Nick Taylor reports:
I bought a used Poly 8813 from my friend Stuart Woods, who is now a famous writer, in about 1979. It came with an IBM Selectric typewriter that had been converted to a printer and sat atop a massive cabinet full of wires. Its WordMaster word processor was the best around at the time, but the only tech support came from other PolyMorphic users. One of these was Mark Sutherland, Atlanta's resident PolyMorphic genius, whom I bothered on an almost daily basis. I was still using the Poly when I moved to New York in 1984, and found a fanatic Poly user on Long Island whose name I don't recall, but who was kind enough to answer my usually dense questions. He was using Polys and WordMaster to produce newsletters including one for Poly users, and continued to do so into the late 1980s. I produced my first book, Bass Wars, on the Poly but the support problems became too much for me to overcome. I sold my Poly for parts to the fellow on Long Island and switched to PCs, but I remember it fondly, kind of like a difficult love relationship.

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Back in 1979/80 I wrote a surveyor''s package on one to do closures and property descriptions. Nice machine for the time.

Wednesday 17th September 2014
Chris Cordes ( USA)


Great website!

I was the Quality Control Computer Technician for Polymorphic Systems when they ‘folded’. I was responsible for troubleshooting and repairing all units when I worked there.

Poly was a good company with a great product at the time. We just had a lot of competition.


Friday 11th July 2014
Tom Towle (United States)

I currently have two of the Polymorphic System 8813 computers. One was purchased in 1978 at a cost of $5000.00 with only the operating system and Basic language. I developed my on systems for accounting and payroll which I used to process data for several companies. I later purchased a used system as a backup because of the lack of repair service (which I had to do mostly myself). Used both systems until about 1984 and retired them. Since I have not used either system for several years, I do not know if either would operate. I used a TI printer (160 cps) that cost 2000.00. The editor was far better than what was used in the DOS operating system.

Sunday 20th June 2010
Graham K. Mullins (US)


NAME  System 8813
TYPE  Professional Computer
YEAR  1977
KEYBOARD  Full-stroke keyboard
CPU  Intel 8080A
SPEED  2 MHz 8080A, running at 1.8432 MHz (so that it could be easily divided to produce standard baud rate clocks)
RAM  48.5 KB (512 bytes for CPU + 48KB for S100 bus)
ROM  3 KB (monitor)
TEXT MODES  64 characters x 16 lines
GRAPHIC MODES  128 x 48 using block-graphics
COLORS  Monochrome
SOUND  Unknown
SIZE / WEIGHT  About 6 kg (main unit)
I/O PORTS  S100 Bus
BUILT IN MEDIA  5.25'' disk-drives
OS  Polymorphic OS
POWER SUPPLY  Built-in power supply unit
PERIPHERALS  S100 bus cards
PRICE  Unknown

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