Priming the Pump:
How TRS-80 Enthusiasts Helped Spark the PC Revolution
...full of memorable details and names... For those of us
who got hooked on the
software thing at an impressionable age, this is exciting stuff. And Theresa
is a fine writer. The story moves along briskly ...there's an innocence
and earnestness and honesty in the book that makes you willing to let them
tell their story in their way. ”
Michael Swaine, Dr. Dobbs Journal, August 2007
As one of the co-creators, I know the history of the TRS-80. This is
the most accurate history of this "Industry Creating Machine" out there.
Even knowing the history, it was enjoyable to fill in the holes related to
some of the other players. ...A fun read for those that lived the revolution
and those who want to know why we have personal computers today. ”
Don French, co-creator of the TRS-80 (from a review at amazon.com)
Put briefly, David & Theresa Welsh's book is exactly how I remember the glory days of 8-bit microcomputers. For those who weren't there, these "Wonder Years" of personal computing were a hobbyist renaissance of Edisonian proportions, full of wonder and small-community values, laced with inventiveness and packed with more than a bit of 60's idealism. ”
By D. Hodgson
Whether you were involved with the TRS-80 at the time or you are just
curious about what it was really like back then, Priming the Pump
tells a very good story. In my opinion, it fills an important gap in
the story of early microcomputers and is a must-have book...
Matthew Reed, creator of www.trs-80.org
(click here to read the
I want to thank David and (Theresa) for writing the
book "Priming the Pump." I finished it a few days ago and the story has been
bobbing around my head ... Why did I read "Priming the Pump" if I have no true
experience with the computer that it is about? I was very curious about the
story of the little man (and woman!). The history of computers is a hobby of
mine, but it is littered with many books that cover the same people
and the same stories... I found myself cheering you both on... The book was
great, and I have already recommended it to others.
I just finished reading your book, "Priming the Pump", and I want
you to know that I enjoyed it thoroughly. It brought back many memories
of my teenage years programming my TRS-80 Model 1 computer...
Thank you very much for a most memorable book.
This is a very, very rare book. There are not big ideas about how to get rich fast. Nothing about how to implement a winning strategy. In other words, NO BS! This is real. The real story of one of the big early entries in the PC market. The real story of running a business in an emergent market. The real story of what it is to be a person, with a family, running a business. This story is very real, honest, and transparent. ”
By Clyde A. Warden Jr.
This is a very interesting book for those who want to know the real
story of Tandy and their very cool computers! ”
Patrick E. Harvey (from a review at amazon.com)
The book fills in so many of the gaps of the history of the machine
for me. I lived it but did not know all the things going on at the time. ”
Scott Adams, creator of the Adventure games
Scott Adams website
I learned things about the TRS80 that I had never guessed... ”
DigiBarn Computer Museum
Thank you both so much for taking the time to record your experiences in
those early days. It was an absolutely fascinating read that I will have
pride of place on my bookshelf. It has brought back some wonderful memories
and you have presented a story from a viewpoint that I never knew about. ”
I just finished reading Priming the Pump and absolutely loved it.
What a great glimpse back in time... I
just wanted to say thank you for writing such a nice book.
"Priming the Pump" is an extraordinarily well-written book that I totally immersed myself into. It told the good and the bad, the dreams made and the dreams broken. I identified with this book so much! It's a REAL telling of actually what happened and what the time was REALLY like back then in the early development of the microcomputer. It is as much a great telling of history by two people who lived it as it is a drama of life's dreams, made and lost. I loved this book. .
Mike Shuck (from and email to the authors)
It covers a part of computer history that has gone
almost totally unreported for all these years. "Priming the Pump" is
both a history and a memoir, in that it is written by people who were
directly involved in many of the events about which they are writing. ”
Oh, the memories. This is a book that you can judge by its cover; doesn't it remind you of something you'd see in the hobby book section of a Radio Shack circa 1980, sandwiched in between the SAMS photofacts books and ham radio antenna guides?
"Priming The Pump" picks up where John Markoff's "What The Dormouse Said" leaves off - and if you enjoy this type of history, these two books are ones you should read
D. Hodgson (from amazon.com review)
The writing is clean and easy, and I tore through the book with no problem. There are wonderful photographs and reproductions of old TRS-80 ads. The story is really about not only the TRS-80, but the early microcomputer movement, and how it was overtaken by the PC revolution. It's also a personal story of a self-taught programmer and husband-wife entrepreneur team. I am so glad this book was written, because this is an important and entertaining story.
Daniel Read (from amazon.com review)
Having worked for Radio Shack Repair from the late 70s through the 80s and buying my 1st computer (a model III), the book brought back a lot of good memories.
LarryC (from amazon.com review)
if you are curious about what it was like to develop software for the TRS-80 this book contains a lot of gems.
T. Ryan Arnold(from amazon.com review)
I found the author's struggles and successes in the software industry very interesting. Having only worked at large commercial software companies, the story about the operation of a small "mom and pop" software company was most insightful to me.
A nostalgic and enjoyable read.
Marc Niegowski(from amazon.com review)
I thoroughly enjoyed your book. A small group of us here in England were getting introduced to Tandy, and 80 Micro was available to order (2 months late) from a major newsagent so that kept us in touch. Your book took me back to the 70s/80s and it was good to sense the feelings of software developers who were laying the foundations for what became the PC generation.
I always regretted selling my Model 1 (to buy a Model 3) but managed to buy one on eBay recently, so my days of nostalgia are complete, running the software that I did 30 years ago.
David Law, Salisbury England. (from and email to the authors)