Sir Clive Sinclair

1940 - Present

Sir Clive Sinclair is a British inventor and entrepreneur who produced some of the first affordable electronic pocket calculators and home computers in the 1970s and 80s. His designs took advantage of miniaturisation allowed by developments in micro-chip technology which allowed thousands of individual components to be packed into areas no more than a centimetre or two square. Sinclair produced the first electronic pocket calculator in 1972 and a programmable scientific calculator in 1976. The scientific calculator used an unusual notation for representing numbers (Reverse Polish Notation) but the product undercut his rivals by a lot and users put up with the unusual number format.

In 1978 Sinclair launched an affordable single-board micro computer kit, the Mk14 used widely by designers as intelligent controllers. His small ZX80 home computer was launched in 1980 and the ZX81 the next year. Both were available in kit form or ready-built for under £100. The ZX Spectrum followed soon after and was a big success. His ZX-series computers were the first small low-cost personal home computers and played a big part in accelerating the wide-spread use of computers by the general public. The electronic designs were sometimes unconventional but he brought electronics consumer products within the reach of millions and did a great deal to raise public perception of computing.

Produced the first marketed electronic pocket calculator and pioneered low cost home computers.