Program 101 (in the acronym P101) is an electronic table calculator developed by the Italian firm Olivetti in 1965. It is widely considered the first personal computer produced in the world.
It was designed by the engineer Pier Giorgio Perotto, in honor of the nickname Perottina, together with Giovanni De Sandre and Gastone Garziera.
The designer Mario Bellini gave it a decidedly modern and elegant look for the time.
It was born to respond to a recurring need in the technical-scientific field: the need was created for an intermediate machine between the electromechanical desk calculator and the large electronic processor (mainframe) managed by specialized technicians and shared among all users.

Insights - Fun facts

Before the introduction of Program 101, those who had to elaborate numerical series had few alternatives available: they could use an electromechanical desk calculator, which however was limited to the four basic arithmetic operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, the latter not always present), or had to resort to an expensive computer relegated to the computer center, managed by specialized technicians, which could only be accessed by placing the patient on a waiting list. Between the two categories of products there was a strong difference in performance, in terms of use and costs (the most advanced mechanical calculators cost less than one million lire, while the rental of large computers exceeded 20-30 million per year ). There was therefore room for a machine positioned at an intermediate level.
Presented for the first time at the New York fair in 1965, the P101 immediately achieved good sales success due to its relatively low cost and ease of programming. 44,000 were produced and sold worldwide in just a few years, 90% of which in the United States, a culturally more open market for a revolutionary product.
With its innovative conception and futuristic design for the time, the P101 can be considered the first personal computer in history worldwide. Although it was an avant-garde product, the P101 project in Italy did not have the desired result. On the contrary, the Olivetti Programma 101 patent was violated by the American Hewlett-Packard with the HP9100 model. In 1967 the same Hewlett-Packard agreed to pay Olivetti royalties for a total of $ 900,000. Beginning in 1967, new machines began to enter the market capable of competing with the P101.
Thus the opportunity to conquer a leadership position on the world market of micro-informatics and to anticipate by a good decade the success that first MITS and then Apple, Commodore, Tandy and other small American companies will obtain after 1975 with the first personal computers.
It seems that of the 44,000 sold Program 101, there are currently only a few still in operation.

Technical Data Sheet

Name of the asset: Programma 101
Category: Personal Computer
Designer: Pier Giorgio Perotto
Manufacturer: Olivetti
Country of production: Italy
Year of production: 1965
Dimensions: 275×465×601 mm


– P. G. Perotto – Programma 101 (Sperling e Kupfer, 1995)