Get your own faithfully re-created Apple-1 Operation Manual


Did you know you can purchase a perfect recreation of the Apple-1 Operation Manual, along with a custom-made case to display it in?
Apple fans can buy a perfect re-creation of the Apple-1 Operation Manual, along with a custom case to display it in.
Photo: Armin Hierstetter

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In 1976, the Apple-1 became the future Cupertino tech giant’s first product. Fewer than 70 of the devices remain today, only six of them believed to be in working order. And even the original Apple-1 Operation Manual is incredibly collectible. But now you can get a faithful re-creation of the manual — the product of hundreds of hours of work — for your very own.

You can find basic copies of the original on cheap printer paper, but Armin Hierstetter, a German entrepreneur and retro computer enthusiast, took it upon himself to do it better.

Re-creating the Apple-1 Operation Manual

Behold the set of Apple-1 Operation manuals, including a cassette card.
Behold the set, which includes the Apple-1’s Operation Manual, Preliminary Basic User’s Manual, Cassette Interface Manual and a re-creation of the very first full-page ad for the computer.
Photo: Armin Hierstetter

To re-create the Apple-1 Operation Manual, Hierstetter tried to enhance the scans available online and had them printed professionally. Although the results proved better than the cheap laser printer copies, Hierstetter found using scans presented quality limitations.

“And then I did what a man has to do,” he told Cult of Mac. “In some incredibly painstaking weeks of work, I totally re-created the ‘Apple-1 Operation Manual’ (including schematics!) and the ‘Preliminary Basic User Manual’ from scratch.”

To fully understand this, he added, you have to recognize it as a proper typesetting job using Adobe InDesign. The result is “super ‘true’ to the original,” he said.

Video shows the tedious work

A great deal of the work came in adjusting the kerning, or the spacing between characters, on overlays to match that of the original typewriter the text came from.

You can watch a video, below, showing the labor through time-lapse animation. The video even includes dramatic music by — who else — Hierstetter.

In the video, the text is slowly revealed, a line at a time, describing the work. Then the time-lapse shows the vast number of tedious adjustments made, along with tantalizing glimpses of layouts.

“I must be mad!” reads a line at the bottom of the video’s title page.

How is it so ‘true’ to the original Apple-1 Operation Manual?

So, what did Hierstetter mean when he said his re-creation is super-true to the original?

Here’s how he describes it:

  1. “I researched the typefaces that had been used in the original (including one that resembles the IBM ‘Electric’ Typewriter that had been used for the main copy of one of the manuals – that was incredibly hard to find).”
  2. “Every single character has been manually placed, so its position on the page resembles its original location down to the fraction of an inch.”

You can read more about the project Apple-1 Manual Remastered, where Hierstetter tells the whole story in depth.

How to get your own copy of re-created Apple-1 manuals

For more information on the manuals, you can go to Apple-1 Manual Remastered. The site features a shop where you can not only purchase different versions of the manuals but also replicas of the Apple-1 mainboard and an acrylic case in which to display it.

P.S.: Are you a content creator and want to feature the Apple-1 manuals on your blog or vlog? Get in touch with Armin Hierstetter and order a review copy. Send your mail to (don’t forget to include a link to your work).


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