In April 1977, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak rented a booth at the formative industry conference for the personal computer, the First West Coast Computer Faire in San Francisco. They were there to launch Apple’s first breakthrough machine, the Apple II.
What few people know today is that only a few rows away at the same show, two women from Southern California were busy launching an innovative machine of their own. Lore Harp and Carole Ely of Westlake Village brought along the Vector 1, a PC designed by Lore’s husband, Bob Harp. The computer derived its moniker from the name of their young company, Vector Graphic, Inc.
At a time when Vector and Apple were both tiny firms looking to gain a footing in an entirely new market, it was not instantly obvious which company would become more successful—for example, Byte magazine’s report on the conference mentioned Vector but spilled no ink on Apple, which would eventually become the most valuable company on the planet.
For its part, Vector Graphic went on to become one of the best known PC makers of the late 1970s. Like Apple, it was one of the first computer companies to go public, and like Apple, it set its products apart from the crowd with its attention to industrial design.