"A Christmas Carol" is first published, the NHL plays its first games, Apollo 17 splashes down, and the U.S. House impeaches President Bill Clinton, all on this day.
1974: The pioneering Altair 8800 microcomputer is first put on sale in the U.S. as a do-it-yourself computer kit, for $397. The demand for the machine, which used switches for input and flashing lights as a display, exceeded the manufacturer's wildest expectations and would blaze the trail for the first commercially successful personal computers, including the Commodore PET and Apple II.
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