The First GIF I Ever Saw

Above, is the first GIF I ever saw.

What you are looking at is a scan of a color printout that I made with my Okimate 20 wax transfer printer in 1987. I had an Atari 520ST at the time and, as I recall, the image was one of several GIFs included on the Compute!’s Atari ST magazine’s bundled floppy, along with a GIF viewer. CompuServe rolled out the initial GIF specification (GIF87a) in 1987, and the magazine had a feature on this new format, I believe.

Thanks to the severity of my geekness at the time, I cherished the amazing color (!!!) Okimate 20 printouts and took to placing them in a scrapbook / photo album. Have a look for yourself. This is why, after 26 years, the printout looks brand new. (The passage of time can’t be blamed for the quality, here…)

I recently found this photo album tucked away on a shelf in the basement and thought a few folks out there might enjoy my tale.

Also, GIF is pronounced with a soft “g” — “jif.” I was there.

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4 Responses to The First GIF I Ever Saw

  1. Benj Edwards says:

    Awesome, Blake. It’s amazing you were making color printouts in 1987 — very rare. Those printouts may be the last surviving (or easily located) examples of some of those images. So you should probably scan all your printouts. I know I’d love to see them.

    • Blake Patterson says:

      Thanks, Benj. Actually, I did my first color prints using a different Okimate 20 on my Amiga 1000. After that, later in ’86, I moved to an Apple IIe (odd move, yes) and an ImageWriter printer and did color printing using a package that had a chameleon as a logo (I forget the name) and came with several single-colour ribbons. The user had to swap ribbons after a print pass, and the printer would then rewind the paper and print over the image again with the next ribbon, and so on.

      After the Atari 520ST I moved to an Apple IIgs (’87) and had an ImageWriter II color printer, and I have a page or two from that also in that photo album.

      I’ll scan.

  2. Scribbler says:

    It’d be interesting to see if those GIF images still exist somewhere on the internet, or whether they have been lost permanently to the passage of time…

  3. Tommix says:

    Perhaps someone still has that bundled disk from Compute!

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