Coleco Releases its Telstar Console

The Telstar is a series of video game consoles produced by Coleco from 1976 to 1978. Starting with Telstar Pong clone based on General Instrument's AY-3-8500 chip in 1976, there were 14 consoles released in the Telstar branded series.

Connecticut Leather Company, aka Coleco Industries, is founded in West Hartford, Connecticut in 1932 as a shoe leather company by Russian immigrant Maurice Greenberg. Moving into plastic moulding in the 50's, Coleco eventually sells off the leather business and with $1 million in sales, becomes a publicly traded company. By the end of the 60's, they are the largest manufacturer of above-ground swimming pools. But the company flirts with bankruptcy during the early 70's due to some shaky forays into snowmobile and dirt bike production. With the release of its Telstar PONG clone in 1976, Coleco tastes the profits of electronic videogames and thirsts for more. It produces nine more varieties of the Telstar unit, nearly bankrupting itself again in 1978 as the home videogame market moves over to programmable, cartridge based game units. The company is forced to dump over a million obsolete Telstar machines at a cost of 22.3 million dollars.