Jack Tramiel (left), the founder of Commodore International – the company that brought you the Commodore 64 – has passed away at age 83.
Born in Poland in 1928, Tramiel and his family were sent to Auschwitz during the Second World War. After they were rescued in April of 1945, Tramiel emigrated to America and joined the army, where he learned to repair office equipment.
In the early 1950s, Tramiel opened a typewriter repair shop in the Bronx, called Commodore Portable Typewriter. The business soon expanded to include the manufacture and sale of typewriters from Czechoslovakia, which Tramiel had manufactured in Canada to get around US trade restrictions. The business was renamed to Commodore Business Machines.
The focus on typewriters sooned turned to calculators, and then onto Commodore’s most successful product, computers. Commodore’s computer line started in 1977 with the Commodore PET, followed by the VIC-20 and the world famous Commodore 64.
Tramiel resigned from Commodore in 1984, but his retirement was short lived as he set up the company Tramiel Technology, which purchased the consumer division of Atari Corporation from Warner Bros. He turned control over the company to his son Sam in the late 1980s, but retook the reigns after the younger Tramiel suffered a heart attack in 1995, until the company’s merger with JT Storage.
He is survived by his wife Helen and three sons, Samuel, Leonard and Garry.