Teleram, Pioneer Of Portable Computers, Is Bankrupt
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) _ Teleram Communications Corp., which pioneered the portable computer in the mid-1970s, has gone bankrupt, outdone by bigger companies that followed its lead with cheaper and more powerful machines.
Teleram’s portable computers changed life for traveling news reporters. Instead of dictating stories over the telephone or using a telecopier, they could write stories on a standard keyboard and transmit them rapidly over telephone lines to computers in their home offices, where their words could be directly set in type.
But Teleram was squeezed between Tandy Corp.‘s Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 100 on the low end of the price scale and International Business Machines Corp.’s Personal Computer on the high end, says Charles Satuloff, the president and co-founder of the defunct company.
″We were caught in a mousetrap,″ Satuloff said.
Teleram’s assets will be liquidated to pay off creditors under a Chapter 7 proceeding that was approved by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Howard Schwartzberg in White Plains on Oct. 16, according to records on file in the court clerk’s office.
The White Plains-based company had listed assets of about $1.5 million and liabilities of about $1.5 million in a Chapter 11 filing for protection from creditors. The court granted that protection Sept. 3, but the judge decided to convert it to Chapter 7 to satisfy creditors’ claims.
Chapter 11 is intended to give a company breathing space to reorganize; Chapter 7 is outright dissolution.
Satuloff said he is trying to arrange the creation of a company to repair and provide replacement parts for Teleram equipment, possibly using former Teleram employees, but said plans are still indefinite.
Teleram’s first product, the P-1800, a word-processing terminal intended for newspapers, news services and magazines, was introduced in 1975. In 1980 it introduced the Portabubble, a more powerful terminal.
The company made a successful public stock offering in 1983, but that year marked the beginning of its downturn in business, Satuloff said.