Franklin Computer Corp. (Pennsauken, N.J.)

Franklin was considered the second largest manufacturer of Apple II clones behind Video Technology. By mid-1984, it had sold more than 100,000 Ace 100, Ace 1000, and Ace 1200 systems. A long legal battle with Apple Computer over the use of Apple system ROMs eventually forced the company to abandon the Apple line and turn to building specialized handheld computing devices. The company also briefly produced a line of unremarkable PC compatible systems.

An Ace 1000 Plus model used the same housing as the Ace 1200 to offer an internal floppy disk drive. Franklin sold the 1000 series with several different option and software bundles under different model names, but the base 1000 or 1000 Plus units were unchanged.

The Ace 1200 was a hybrid Apple-CP/M system aimed at a more professional user. It had a larger enclosure with room above the keyboard for up to two disk drives. The Ace 2200 was the last Apple II-compatible that Franklin produced.

The portable CX line could accommodate either a Z80 or Intel 8086 CPU in addition to its standard 6502 processor. Fully configured, a CX could run Apple DOS plus CP/M or MS-DOS software. The CX system had a short production run and is an unusual find today.

Franklin Ace 100 (March 1982, Apple II-class desktop)
Original Retail Price: $1,495 Base Configuration: 6502 CPU, Apple DOS-compatible, Apple-compatible expansion slots, integral keyboard/keypad, BASIC
Video: 24-line x 40-column text, 280 x 160 graphics, 15 colors
Size/Weight: 19 x 5.5 x 21.12 inches

Franklin Ace 1000 (June 1982, Apple II-class desktop)
Original Retail Price: $1,595
Base Configuration: 1.02MHz 6502 CPU, eight Apple-compatible slots, 64K RAM, integral keyboard/keypad, game port, BASIC manual
Video: 40-column text, 260 x 192 graphics
Size/Weight: 17.75 x 4.5 x 19.75 inches, 15 lbs.
Important Options: 5.25-inch floppy disk drive, 10MB hard disk drive, monochrome Video Monitor, AceWriter

Franklin Ace 1200 (Nov. 1982, Apple II-class desktop)
Original Retail Price: $1,995
Base Configuration: 1.02MHz 6502 and 6MHz Z80 CPUs; CP/M; three Apple-compatible slots; 128K RAM; 5.25-inch floppy disk drive; integral keyboard/keypad; serial, parallel, and game ports
Video: 80-column text, 280 x 192 graphics
Size/Weight: 17.75 x 8 x 19.75 inches, 22.25 lbs.
Important Options: second 5.25-inch floppy disk drive, external 10MB hard disk drive, monochrome Video Monitor

Franklin Ace 2200 (Apple II-class desktop)
Original Retail Price: $999
Base Configuration: 1.02MHz 65SC02 CPU, Franklin DOS 2, two Apple-compatible slots, 128K RAM, 24K ROM, two 5.25-inch floppy disk drives, composite video port, keyboard/keypad, serial and game ports, Franklin BASIC, owner’s manual
Video: 24-line x 80-column text
Size/Weight: 15.75 x 13.5 x 4 inches
Important Options: expansion chassis, monochrome monitor

Franklin CX Series (May 1984, Apple II-class transportable)
Original Retail Price: $1,395 to $2,295
Base Configuration: 1MHz 6502 CPU, Franklin DOS, 64K RAM (128K max), 5.25-inch floppy disk drive, integral 7-inch monochrome CRT, composite video port, keyboard/keypad, RS-232C and parallel ports, application suite
Video: 80-column text, 280 x 192 graphics
Size/Weight: 15.7 x 16.9 x 6.5 inches, 27 lbs.
Important Options: 5MHz 8086 or 6MHz Z80 coprocessor, CP/M or MS-DOS, second 5.25-inch floppy disk drive, modem, carrying case, technical reference manual

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4 comments

  1. Joe Morrin · · Reply

    I used to work here, Joseph Morrin, Assembly Supervisor. jjmorrin@aol.com worked with Art Boyd

  2. Bill Dilworth · · Reply

    I also worked at Franklin as a manufacturing engineer. I wrote process sheets and set up assembly lines when we had the return of hundreds of units because of defective drives. Franklin had just completed the construction of a major new automated assembly building when the Apple suit was settled. I was part of the big layoffs that began as a result of the the suit. I thought I would never find a job that I liked as much until six months later when I was hired by GE Astro Space (Re-Entry Systems) in Philadelphia. The layoff was actually a great carrier event for me. At GE I had a million plus budget and I designed, installed, and managed networks in four GE diverse complexes.

  3. Bill Dilworth · · Reply

    BTW: I still have my Franklin Ace 1200 system, software, kites, and mugs along with one of the secretary desks that they were offering in place of our last paychecks

    1. Joseph Morrin · · Reply

      I was the first manufacturing supervisor hired at Franklin Computer when then 1st opened, I believe my boss was Art Boyd. My name is Joseph Morrin and enjoyed working there, I was there for the ACE 1000 and 1200, I remember it being sold in Sears stores. I then worked for Ensoniq in Malvern, PA. Franklin was a great place to work.

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