Cybertronics flyers from 1976

Way back in 1974, as a 22-year-old in Louisville, I started a small electronics business called Cybertronic Systems to help fund my growing microprocessor addiction and begin my escape from the employment treadmill that was already looming as a dangerous life habit. Within about a year, I was doing enough sales out of my apartment to quit my job as a field engineer, and for the next five years I kept morphing the business in the attempt to keep up with fast-changing technology. Trying to be all things to all people is not a good business model, especially with bad work habits, so it was pretty rough going at times… and eventually I changed to full-time freelance writing.

Somewhere in the middle of all that, I moved the operation to the local industrial park and took on people, and here are a few relics from that epoch. I time-stamp this post to match the one flyer that carries a specific date, but the items on this page span a year or so. (Please note: the address and phone number here is no longer current!)

Q — What is Cybertronics?

A1 — Cybertronics is an Electronic Parts House, operating at Retail, Wholesale, and Mail Order levels. By stocking in depth IC’s, Sockets, Discrete Components, Breadboarding & Test Hardware, and a wide variety of support hardware and accessories, we are providing the Louisville area and a national mail-order clientele with the State-of-the-Art in components.

A2 — Cybertronics is a Computer Store, featuring Zonic Labs, IMSAI, and various other Microprocessor Systems, in assembled or kit form. With over six man-years of collective experience in the design and application of microprocessors, we are equipped to assist with a system from specification to software. In stock are CPU’s, Peripherals, and considerable support hardware. Come see our demo system!

A3 — Cybertronics is an Engineering Firm, serving the industry with Custom Design, PC Artwork & Boards, and Process & Industrial Control Systems. Let us quote on your next engineering project.

A4 — Cybertronics is a retail Electronic Equipment Store, with a continually changing inventory of surplus and used computer equipment, test equipment, and other one-of-a-kind items. We recently established a Consignment System, and are actively soliciting consignment merchandise of all types congruent with our business. Need to recover your investment in a dust-gathering piece of equipment, or to reclaim some floor or drawer space? Bring it by, and we’ll put it on display. The flea market lasts all year long at Cybertronics!

And another:

Cybertronics is back in operation as a Full-Service Parts House! A few months ago, we tried limiting our scope to wholesale and mail-order, allowing a local retailer to handle our walk-in business. Sales declined and, coupled with the lack of a new catalog, led to a loss of business that rapidly became disturbing. We have seen the light. Low prices may again be had in Louisville. We have added to our staff a capable engineer named Jim Helton who will be dedicated to the Parts Business, making possible substantially faster service, new products, new literature, and more technical information: he and I take this opportunity to welcome you back. We are open 9 to 5, or later by appointment, Monday through Friday. Come visit us in our new location in the Bluegrass Industrial Park – see map on reverse. Thank you for your patience – I look forward to seeing you!

We will be publishing a long-awaited new catalog soon, containing many new products and items of interest, and updating our hopelessly out of date October, 1975 edition. Since its dissemination last Winter, we have become distributors for C&K Switches and significantly expanded our parts resources. The most notable changes, however,
have manifested themselves in the area of microprocessors, which in the last year have become a major force in the industry. Cybertronics is the only Louisville-area dealer for IMSAI and the other computer-related product lines shown on the reverse. After preparing the copy for this ad, we were awarded a dealership for Southwest Technical Products, adding to our line the TV Typewriter, a 40 column matrix printer, another cassette interface, and the SWTPC 680 computer. Through combination of all this with the parts business and a rapidly growing engineering business, we are finally in a position to call ourselves a Full-Service Computer Store and Systems House.

One of the running jokes back then was the need to seem bigger than we really were when talking to some companies… so tricks like dragging a finger over the electric typewriter keyboard to sound like a computer printing were not uncommon. I also created the “Cybertronics Team” from found artwork, consisting of Cy (the marketing guy), Bert (hard-nosed business guy), Ron (brilliant weirdo in the back room), and Nick (visionary). I don’t think it fooled anybody when they would be put on hold for one of the other guys, but it was fun.

I’ll add more to this page as things from this epoch appear. Also, this will get its own page, but for now… here is the front cover of my 1975 catalog (which is where I should have left it… the new, too-complex one done a year or so later was a bad mistake). Here’s the text of that first page, including the epic second sentence that one of my customers actually diagrammed and sent back (with the note, “By God, it works!”):

Well, so you’re on the Cybertronics Mailing List! If you are not already aware of the significant advantages thus afforded you over others in your field who do not yet have access to the veritable plethora of Integrated Circuit – related resources represented by the firm whose proud name graces this letterhead, then your imminent perusal of the treasures contained herein is about to astonish you to a degree that would boggle the collective imagination of the thriving and rapidly burgeoning industry of which you are a part, an industry so universally characterized by change-engendered surprises that the conscientious engineer must, in order to insulate himself from the psychological melee that would certainly result from the necessarily hurried ingestion of frivolously contrived literature conceived by countless advertising departments hawking the plenteous and usually wonderful but occasionally dubious wares of their parent corporations, secure a solid working relationship with a purveyor of state-of-the-art systems and components who is fully capable of providing both fast response and the degree of operational convenience ascribed to that which our less sophisticated but market-wise counterparts of the commercial world so blithely call “one-stop-shopping”. It is to this ideal that we at Cybertronics have addressed our efforts, and we offer to the industry as the partial fruition thereof the contents of this catalogue, to be followed in the approaching months by an ever-expanding repertoire of products designed or chosen to fill the needs of the electronic engineer.

In addition to our broad-spectrum coverage of ICs and related devices, we have chosen as our focal point the microprocessors, endowed as they are with endless magical qualities and enabling the imaginative designer to perform miracles with a small handful of logic. As the result of an almost explosive surge of interest in this area, we have established a special mailing list to aid in the dissemination of information in this field which has, of late, been the scene of both technical and price changes of a frequency very nearly approaching the clock rates of the devices in question. One of our microprocessor systems (a homemade multiprocessor – 6502 and 8008) is currently being set up to generate mailings covering changes and additions to the computer-oriented portions of this catalogue. Please let us know if your obsession lies in this area, as does mine.

In conclusion, we present the remaining 23 pages of this work. Those of you with whom we have already dealt, we sincerely thank – because of you we are still here. To you with whom this catalogue is our first communication, we issue forth with a hearty “Hello! ”

Steven K. Roberts
President, Cybertronics

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