Posts tagged with “lower case”

The Radio Shack Lower Case Kit

The inability to display lower case characters was a well known deficiency of the TRS‑80 Model I. There were a number of third-party modifications created to address that limitation, the most popular of which was the Electric Pencil lowercase modification. But the Radio Shack Lower Case Kit (catalog number 26-1104) was Radio Shack’s official solution for adding lower case to the Model I.

The Electric Pencil Lower Case Modification

The best known limitation of the TRS‑80 Model I was its inability to display lower case characters. Although the lower case characters were present in the character set, the Model I lacked the extra memory chip needed to store the bit corresponding to lower case.

The significance of this limitation has been exaggerated over time (it’s worth noting that the contemporary Apple II also lacked lower case), but it created a real problem for word processors.

The Patch

The Patch was a unique all-hardware approach to implementing lower case on a TRS‑80 Model I. It was sold by CECDAT Inc. for a price starting at $69.97.

The normal approach to adding lower case involved a hardware modification plus a software driver. Radio Shack never added a lower case driver to the Model I ROM, so the separate driver was required to enable generation of lower case characters.


After upgrading their TRS‑80 Model I to Level II BASIC, many people missed the “shorthand dialect” of Level I BASIC. TSHORT was a very popular keyboard macro utility for Level II BASIC that added a similar kind of shorthand for BASIC commands. It was written by Ron Wirth and released in 1979 by Web Associates for $9.95. (The name Web Associates was not a reference to the World Wide Web, which it predated by ten years.