The home computing world mourns the loss of trailblazer Sir Clive Sinclair, who died at the age of 81.
Her daughter Belinda Sinclair told the Guardian that the pocket calculator pioneer and mastermind behind Spectrum home computers died at his home in London on Thursday morning (September 16).
The entrepreneur’s company launched the ZX models in a decade when personal computer use began to explode in the UK, with Sinclair becoming the first company in the world to sell over a million computers, catapulting Sir Clive into a household name.
Ms Sinclair told the BBC her father had had cancer for over a decade and was still working on inventions until last week “because that was what he loved to do”.
“He was inventive and imaginative and for him it was exciting and an adventure, it was his passion,” she added.
Business mogul Lord Sugar, who launched his own computers in the 1980s under his Amstrad brand, paid tribute to his “good friend and competitor” on Twitter, writing: “What guy he started started electronics big audience in the UK with its amplifier kits then calculators, watch mini-TV and of course the Sinclair ZX. Not to mention his quirky electric car. RIP Friend. “
More tributes have poured in from famous names on the social media platform.
Broadcaster Professor Brian Cox said: “The ZX81 was my introduction to computing and I loved it! I started with a 1k version and ended up saving for a 16k RAM pack – thanks Clive!
Tesla CEO Elon Musk, responding to a tweeted article calling Sir Clive the father of the ZX Spectrum, wrote: “RIP, Sir Sinclair. I loved this computer.”
TV presenter James May, meanwhile, tweeted: “At least Clive Sinclair lived long enough to see he was right about a lot of things.”
A man of diverse interests, Sir Clive’s projects have also led him to explore new technologies in the world of television and the automobile.
One initiative was the Sinclair C5, an electric tricycle heralded as the future of environmentally friendly transportation, but which turned out to be a costly flop.
“It was the ideas, the challenge, that he found exciting,” Sinclair told The Guardian.
Sir Clive left school at the age of 17, becoming a technical journalist writing specialist textbooks.
At 22, he founded Sinclair Radionics, his first company, which made mail order radio kits, including the smallest transistor radio in the world.
It was with another company, Sinclair Research, that he found his success in home computing as he faced international competition.
The ZX81 computer launched in 1981 sold for half a million and was followed by more powerful models in the following years.
Director Edgar Wright also took the time to pay tribute to Sir Clive’s computer achievements.
“For someone whose first glimpses of a brave new world were the terrifying 3D Monster Maze graphics on the ZX81, I would like to salute technology pioneer Sir Clive Sinclair,” he wrote on Twitter.
Former Deputy Leader of the Labor Party, Tom Watson, tweeted: ‘This man has changed the course of my life.
“And no doubt, the digital age for us in the UK started with the Sinclair ZX80, when thousands of kids learned to code using 1k of RAM. For us, the Spectrum was like a Rolls Royce with 48k. . “
Sir Clive was made a knight on the Queen’s birthday in 1983.
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