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X > XEROX  > 860   


This was not a really a computer but rather a wordprocessing system.

The full-text monitor could display 70 lines of 102 characters. The text could be black on a white background, or the inverse.

The Xerox 860 was equipped with one of the first WYSIWYG word processors: BravoX (later called "Xerox Document System Editor") which was originally developed for the 1972 Xerox Alto and became the predecessor of virtually all modern word processors

Two 8" disks (600 kb) stored the files. Each disk catalog could store up to 560 files.

The system was sold with a Diablo printer, which was bidirectional and could print 40 characters per second. Up to three Xerox 860 could share one Diablo printer. The printer spooler could store up to 20 documents waiting to be printed.

The Xerox 860 could also be used to write and send electronic mails or work with data-bases through an Ethernet network.

There was another version called 'Supertext' which was the same system but with a smaller screen (24 x 102 characters).

These kind of systems were very expensive!


Dave Bowles adds:
The 860 really was a computer! Its innards had all the bits defined as needed to be a computer, and with the correct floppy disk set, was capable of executing programs written in BASIC. I used one of these in the Navy in the early 80s.

John Mulvihill's opinion:
I sold these systems in the late 80s, just as they were being made obsolete by laser printers and PCs.
The 860 was the top-end word processor in the industry, displayed with pride at the head offices of all the big corporations. Secretaries who knew the 860 were the elite and were highly paid and respected. (Yes, they were called secretaries then.)
Xerox invented or developed most of the technology that, in the hands of others, put it out of business. This includes the laser printer, the graphical user interface, and the mouse!
Sadly, the copiers-heads who ran the company never understood the microcomputer revolution.
For a present-day counterpart, see Motorola's sad decline under the direction of the founder's son.

Bill Jones's memories:
I learned to use the Xerox 860 while I sold at Xerox. What a computer! I could even do spread-sheets done on the earlier 16-8 and 820II systems on the 860.
Everyone liked the full page screen, the black on white display and the CAT. Yes the fore-runner of the mouse. The Capacitance Activated Template, that moved the cursor around the screen. Laptops today use this technology.
We replaced a lot of AES systems with the Xerox 860. They were very productive.

A number of us at Xerox got the machine to use at home. We ran VisiCalc on the CPM o/s. I couldn't beleive it when I created an automatic spreadsheet that would do our monthly expenses. We printed out the result on a 5 part form. Lining it up so the Diablo would print correctly in the fields took some time. We use this for a couple of years.

David Lowy supported the installation of these into networks:
YES, Ethernet as early as 1983. This would use the Xerox Network Systems (XNS) protocol and connect to Xerox file servers, printer servers, mail servers and even communications servers.

Please consider donating your old computer / videogame system to or one of our partners.


I worked for a company producing EIS for large construction projects from 1980 to 1983. I printed copies on a Xerox 9400 $ but the originals were produced on Xerox 860s (there was a pool of three machines) connected to large daisywheel printers in sound enclosures. At one point they investigated switching to a Xerox 9700 (high speed laser printer .. 120 letter pages/minute) for output.

Friday 26th March 2021
Steven (USA)

LoL, here in Brasil, "Bravox" is the name of a company that produces loudspeakers. It was founded by immigrants from Germany in 1953.

Monday 2nd December 2019

Hi all, I remember my mother, Chasity, worked for Xerox in my early years but I don''t recall exactly what she did. I was born in 81 and I believe we were living in either texas or florida at the time but if any of you remember that name, (Chas) please $ me a line.

Saturday 4th January 2014
Danielle Nichole (Dallas Texas)


NAME  860
YEAR  March 1980
CONTROLLERS  AZERTY/QWERTY full-stroke keyboard, 48 keys, 20 function keys
SCORE  128 kb
TEXT MODES  102 x 70 (A4 monitor)
COLORS  black and white
BUILT IN MEDIA  2 x 600 KB 8'' double sided disk-drives (some systems were sold with single sided drives)
GUN  Printer
PRICE  16115 (France, 82)

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