The Jim Austin Computer Collection

3 Important Mice!

A4000 mouse number 2 Xerox Star two button ball mouse Hawely-mouse
The 2nd Acorn Archimedes mouse The only known mechanical 2 button Xerox Star Mouse The prototype of the worlds first mass produced commercial mouse


The collection has - we think three of the rarest mice in the world. There is the notable Acorn Archimedes A400 mouse which happens to be from number 2 machines sold - interesting but as a mouse quit common. The other two are clearly immensely important.

The first of these in the one on the right in the pictures above. We think its the prototype of the very first commercial ball/mechanical mouse that was mass produced. This mouse became available for sale as an individual mouse in Hawley company - the mouse house in mid 1982. The mouse we have is the prototype of that mouse made for the very first production prototype SUN Microsystems Sun 1 machine or as we have it the Cadlinc machine. Its is definitely a prototype of the commercial mouse sold by Hawley. Hawley made the first widely produced non-commercial mouse for the Xerox Alto machine in 1975. As it was only given away the machine does not gain the recognition of a commercial - for sale system - and also the mouse was not available without the machine. Until 1981 Hawley could not sell the mouse as it was licence to Xerox exclusively. However in 1982 the then manager of the SUN build in Cadlinc negotiated with Xerox to get the licence back to Hawley as they wanted to use it on the new Sun machine. Hawley then made the prototype mouse we have for Cadlinc and went off and formed the mouse house to sell the mouse commercially.

The Hawley mouse was first used on the Xerox Alto, it was a three button mouse. Xerox then introduced the Xerox Star in 1981 and, according to most articles dropped the mechanical ball mouse in favour of there own optical mouse. The reports mostly state that the Xerox Star (8010) machine was introduced with the two button optical mouse. The Star is recognised as the first mss produced commercial machine to have a mouse. This is what I thought too, until the mouse in the middle above turned up on ebay. Its a 2 button ball/mechanical mouse with the Xerox label. So how do we know its a Xerox Star mouse - we looked in the bitsavers( collection of documents on the machine - in the "8000 SERIES DISPLAY/KEYBOARD SERVICE MANUAL NOVEMBER, 1984 600P84229 " there is the mouse. As shown below.

Xerox-star-manual close-up  
Page 3-15 of the Star maintenance manual. Our mouse. Note the wires shown on the left hand picture are on ther everse side of the pcb  

This is very clearly the same mouse. Its seems it was only produced for a short time before being replaced by the optical mouse. It may be other only remaining original star mouse in existence - thus the oldest known commercial mouse.