The year was 1977. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak had barely moved out of the Jobs’ family garage to the company’s first official corporate address, 20863 Stevens Creek Blvd., (Building 3, Suite C) in Cupertino, Calif.
The pair had successfully begun shipping their first computer, a naked circuit board called Apple I. It had neither a keyboard nor a screen, and functioned more as part of a kit that computer hobbyists could build into something more useful, if they knew what they were doing.
Two early Apple employees, Bob Martinengo and Mark Johnson, spoke to Business Insider about what it was like working with the two Steves back in the days when nobody knew what Apple was. They passed on to us this collection of images from Apple’s early days. We’ve combined it with some other early Apple images from Business Insider’s archives.
The images are remarkable because they show life at Apple before the period when everyone realised the company was going to change the world. For them, it was just a paycheck. And, of course, carrying and using a camera in the 1970s took a lot more effort than it does today. They weren’t used daily, the way phone cameras are now — so early Apple images are relatively rare.
This image (below) shows Chrisann Brennan, Robert Martinengo and Mark Johnson standing in front of what appears to be a pile of boxes containing the Apple II.
“It was obviously a heck of a lot of fun,” Martinengo says. (He now works at AMAC Accessibility, a company that makes products and services for disabled students.)
Brennan, 22 at the time, later became Jobs’ girlfriend, a relationship he trashed when she became pregnant. Jobs disavowed the child, Lisa, despite naming the Apple Lisa machine (in development in 1978) after her. Jobs only admitted Lisa was his daughter when she reached her teens.
Johnson, like Martinengo, was employed to assemble the Apple II.
This 1978 image shows more of the Apple II team, including Steve Jobs:
From left to right: Elmer Baum, Mike Markkula, Gary Martin, Andre Dubois, Steve Jobs, Sue Cabannis, Mike Scott, and Don Bruener. Standing in the rear is Mark Johnson.
Note that in this photo, Jobs appears to be arguing with Mike Scott, the first president of the company, who had been brought in to keep a leash on Jobs. This was a typical event, Johnson says.
Elmer Baum was an engineer. “He was a senior, responsible person they brought,” Johnson says. “He worked in production and engineering. He was a little bit grumpy, ‘you kids get off my lawn!’ kind of guy.”
Mike Markulla was the venture capitalist who provided Apple’s first proper funding and installed real management. He used to drive a Corvette Stingray. (Johnson, who was a teenager at the time, said he did get a ride in it once.)
Andre Dubois is believed to have been Apple’s first European sales manager. Sue Cabannis was the office manager. Gary Martin worked in accounting. Don Bruener was an engineer.
The Apple II was the machine that really put Apple on the map: An integrated home computer with a keyboard and screen, that anybody could use.
Here’s another shot of the crew on the Apple II team, with the product in the background on a set of racks:
Left to right: Elmer Baum, Mark Johnson, Don Bruener, and Daniel Kottke. Kottke, another engineer, has since become something of an archivist of early Apple memorabilia.
This floor plan (below) of the Stevens Creek office, drawn by Johnson, shows just how small the company was at the time.
It was “A rather small office space,” Johnson says. “This one office included the lobby and office space without a dividing wall. When you turn to the right, you enter the manufacturing area. Incidentally, Apple occupied the adjacent office space to the right of suite C. A smaller office space where Bill Fernandez designed circuit board layouts.” Here’s a copy of Apple’s first-ever letterhead, as saved by Johnson:
Note that in the Stevens Creek office, Jobs and Wozniak worked right next to each other. That would change when Apple — now with about 30 employees — moved to its second, slightly larger office on Bandley Drive, also in Cupertino. There, Jobs and Woz sat as far apart as possible:
“In the short time I was there it went from a goofy startup to a full-blown production line,” Johnson says. It went from being a place that was a lot of fun to being more of a “workaday” corporate experience, he remembers.
“My only insider credit was that my mum had this relationship with Steve, Steve liked my mum. This was before the summer I started working at Apple. He had an interview on TV in Oakland, and I got drafted to drive him in my VW bug. Steve, even at that point, he was a handful, an intense person.”
When the Apple II launched in the summer of 1977, it had colour graphics. So Jobs changed the company’s logo to an Apple silhouette filled with a rainbow.
Johnson says, “Steve Jobs commissioned a local shop to create an embroidered patch to commemorate the new corporate logo. These patches were handed to each of the employees by Steve. I have asked around via Facebook to the other early Apple employees and no one can remember them. If there is another patch that survived, I’d like to know. This might be quite a unique artifact of early Apple days.”
People’s memories have faded over time, of course. If you think we got any details wrong please email [email protected]
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