Sinclair Research Ltd. is a manufacturer and developer of British consumer grade home electronics. Sinclair Research was founded by Sir Clive Sinclair in 1973 in Cambridge, England. Originally the company was incorporated as Westminster Mail Order Ltd. before under going a series of renames, some of which included: Sinclair Instruments Ltd, Science of Cambridge Ltd, Sinclair Computers Ltd, and then finally Sinclair Research Ltd.
Sinclair Research produced many lines of home micro-computers throughout the 1980s to wider success. The first home micro developed and produced by the company was the ZX 80 which was priced at 99.95 GBP. At the time of its release it was the cheapest home micro on the market leading to it being the first choice for many in the quickly developing markets of the 80s micro computers. Just two years after the success of the ZX 80 Sinclair Research released the ZX Spectrum which quickly became the UK's best selling home micro, beating out similar competition from its competitors Commodore International and Amstrad.
Founding and early years
On July 25 1962, Clive Sinclair founded his first company, Sinclair Radionics Ltd. The company developed various components and Hi-Fi products as well as: radios, electronic calculators, and various pieces of other scientific equipment. As the company began to fail the founder, Clive Sinclair, purchased another company by the name of Ablesdeal Ltd. with the intent to change it's name to Westminster Mail Order Ltd. in order to continue his commercial pursuits in the wake of the failure of Sinclair Radionics.
Due to the over sight of the National Enterprise Board, whose job it was to oversee the management of the equity of various UK based manufacturing companies, Sinclair convinced Chris Curry, the future founder of Acorn Computers Ltd, to leave Sinclair Radionics in order to help get the now renamed Sinclair Instruments off of the ground.
The earliest product produced by the new Sinclair Instruments company was a watch-like wrist calculator named the Sinclair Wrist Calculator. This product launched in February of 1977. Originally it was only available through a mail-order kit that consumers were to assemble for the price of 11 GBP. Despite the difficulty associated with assembling the shipped kits the company went on to sell 10,000 kits. However, the kits that were sold paled in comparison to the ones that were shipped but didn't sale and as such the product was labeled as an "utter dud".
Development of the ZX80
Despite early failures in the company's history it pushed on and in July of 1977, Sinclair Instruments was renamed to Science of Cambridge Ltd. Around this time and engineer by the name of Ian Williamson delivered to Chris Curry a prototype microcomputer based on the SC/MP microprocessor found within one of the calculators they had produced earlier. Curry, being impressed by this, encouraged Clive Sinclair to adopt and develop it as a new product. After months of development Science of Cambridge launched its MK14 microcomputer in kit form in July of 1978.
A little less than a year later, in 1979, Sinclair's chief engineer, Jim Westwood, designed a new microcomputer based on the Zilog Z80 microprocessor. This was then released by Sinclair instruments as the ZX 80 in February of the following year.