|Birth Day:||July 30, 1940|
English entrepreneur known for pioneering work in the field of consumer electronics, particularly during the 70's and 80's.
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Clive Sinclair sold electronics by mail order rather than going to college.
Clive Sinclair was born to George Sinclair and Thora Edith Ella Marles in 1940 near Richmond, then in Surrey. He and his mother left London for safety to stay with an aunt in Devon, where they eventually travelled to Teignmouth. A telegram arrived shortly afterwards, bringing the news that their home in Richmond had been bombed. Sinclair's father found a house in Bracknell in Berkshire. His brother Iain was born in 1943 and his sister Fiona in 1947.
Sinclair attended Boxgrove Preparatory School, excelling in mathematics. By the time he was ten, his father had financial problems. He had branched out from machine tools and planned to import miniature tractors from the U.S.; he had to give up the business. Because of his father's problems, Sinclair had to move school several times. After a time at Reading School, Sinclair took his O-levels at Highgate School in London in 1955 and A-levels in physics, pure maths, and applied maths at St. George's College, Weybridge.
Sinclair wrote a book for Bernard's Publishing, Practical transistor receivers Book 1, which appeared in January 1959. It was re-printed late that year and nine times subsequently. His practical stereo handbook was published in June 1959 and reprinted seven times over 14 years. The last book Sinclair wrote as an employee of Bernard's was Modern Transistor Circuits for Beginners, published in May 1962. At Bernard Babani he produced 13 constructors' books.
In 1961 Sinclair registered Sinclair Radionics Ltd. His original choice, Sinclair Electronics, was taken; Sinclair Radio was available but did not sound right. Sinclair Radionics was formed on 25 July 1961.
Sinclair, unable to find capital, joined United Trade Press (UTP) as technical editor of Instrument Practice. Sinclair appeared in the publication as an assistant editor in March 1962. Sinclair described making silicon planar transistors, their properties and applications and hoped they might be available by the end of 1962. Sinclair's obsession with miniaturisation became more obvious as his career progressed. Sinclair undertook a survey for Instrument Practice of semiconductor devices, which appeared in four sections between September 1962 and January 1963.
His last appearance as assistant editor was in April 1969. Through UTP, Sinclair had access to thousands of devices from 36 manufacturers. He contacted Semiconductors Ltd (who at that time sold semiconductors made by Plessey) and ordered rejects to repair. He produced a design for a miniature radio powered by a couple of hearing aid cells and made a deal with Semiconductors to buy its micro-alloy transistors at 6d (2½p) each in boxes of 10,000. He then carried out his own quality control tests, and marketed his renamed MAT 100 and 120 at 7s 9d (38¾p) and 101 and 121 at 8s 6d (42½p).
Sinclair formed another company, initially called Ablesdeal Ltd, in 1973. This changed name several times, eventually becoming Science of Cambridge Ltd in July 1977.
In June 1978 Science of Cambridge launched a microcomputer kit, the MK14, based on the National SC/MP chip. By July 1978, a personal computer project was under way. When Sinclair learned the NewBrain could not be sold at below £100 as he envisaged, he turned to a simpler computer. In May 1979 Jim Westwood started the ZX80 project at Science of Cambridge; it was launched in February 1980 at £79.95 in kit form and £99.95 ready-built. In November, Science of Cambridge was renamed Sinclair Computers Ltd.
In March 1981, Sinclair Computers was renamed again as Sinclair Research Ltd and the Sinclair ZX81 was launched at £49.95 in kit form and £69.95 ready-built, by mail order. In February 1982 Timex obtained a licence to manufacture and market Sinclair's computers in the United States under the name Timex Sinclair. In April the ZX Spectrum was launched at £125 for the 16 kB RAM version and £175 for the 48 kB version. In March 1982 the company made an £8.55 million profit on turnover of £27.17 million, including £383,000 government grants for the TV80 flat-screen portable television.
In 1982 Sinclair converted the Barker & Wadsworth mineral water bottling factory into the company's headquarters. (This was sold to Cambridgeshire County Council in December 1985 owing to Sinclair's financial troubles.) The following year, he received a knighthood and formed Sinclair Vehicles Ltd. to develop electric vehicles, which resulted in the unsuccessful Sinclair C5 in 1985.
Sinclair received an Honorary Doctorate from Heriot-Watt University in 1983.
Sinclair is a poker player and appeared in the first three series of the Late Night Poker on Channel 4. He won the first series final of the Celebrity Poker Club spin-off. On his religious views, Sinclair calls himself an atheist. He is a member of British Mensa and was chairman for 17 years from 1980 to 1997. Sinclair was awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science by the University of Bath in 1983. He was knighted in the Queen's 1983 Birthday Honours List.
In 1984, Sinclair launched the Sinclair QL computer, intended for professional users. Development of the ZX Spectrum continued with the enhanced ZX Spectrum 128 in 1985.
In April 1986, Sinclair Research sold the Sinclair trademark and computer business to Amstrad for £5 million. Sinclair Research Ltd. was reduced to an R&D business and holding company, with shareholdings in several spin-off companies, formed to exploit technologies developed by the company. These included Anamartic Ltd. (wafer-scale integration) (CT2 mobile telephony) and Cambridge Computer Ltd. (Z88 portable computer and satellite television receivers).
By 1990, Sinclair Research consisted of Sinclair and two other employees, and its activities have since concentrated on personal transport, the Zike electric bicycle, Zeta bicycle motor and the A-bike folding bicycle. By 1997, Sinclair Research consisted of Sinclair himself.
By 2003, Sinclair Research was collaborating with Hong Kong-based firm Daka. A laboratory was set up for Daka near Croydon to develop products on a royalty basis. The two firms collaborated on a Sea Scooter and a wheelchair drive.
Despite his involvement in computing, Sinclair does not use the Internet, stating that he does not like to have "technical or mechanical things around me" as it distracts from the process of invention. In 2010 he stated that he does not use computers himself, and prefers using the telephone rather than email.
Currently, Clive Sinclair is 82 years, 7 months and 21 days old. Clive Sinclair will celebrate 83rd birthday on a Sunday 30th of July 2023.
Find out about Clive Sinclair birthday activities in timeline view here.