Early Gateway Laptop

Date: c. 1989

 

Description: The logo and company name on this small, early laptop computer is well-known to virtually anyone living in Sioux City today.  They belong to Gateway 2000, Inc., one of the biggest names in business in Sioux City around the turn of the 21st century. Gateway 2000 began in 1985 at a cattle farm owned by the family of Ted Waitt. Waitt wanted to take the values he had seen on the farm and apply them to the world of high technology. He partnered with his friend Mike Hammond and eventually his younger brother Norm to offer customers an alternative to the inadequate PC market of the day. They began selling hardware and software to computer companies but by 1987 the company was manufacturing custom-order computers. They moved out of their Sioux City location to North Sioux City, South Dakota to expand their warehouse and manufacturing center.  With the addition of a friendly, efficient customer support line, the stage was set to make a multi-billion dollar multinational corporation.

 

Yet throughout its life Gateway 2000 always maintained its Midwestern flair. Every shipping box and even its corporate office building was decorated with the famous black and white cow spots, paying homage to the Waitt family’s cattle ranch. Besides developing an efficient, low-cost business model Waitt focused on giving customers and employees the best service the business could provide. Gateway 2000 sold directly to consumers without going through distributors, and maintained those relationships with their buyers. And all 10,000 of its employees had direct stake in the company.

 

Oversaturation in the computer market in the early 2000s spelled the beginning of the end for Gateway. The Waitt family and the company headquarters moved to San Diego, California to take advantage of shipping, but overspending and lack of investment brought the company down. It was eventually sold to Acer in 2007. This laptop was one of the company’s first laptops, before it even started working with Windows. It featured a monochrome screen and was little more than a word processor. It also featured a 3 ½” floppy drive and a slide-out handle on the end of the keyboard.

 

Donor: Eric Turner

 

On display