Over to John:
"CPT was founded by Dean Scheff, not Dick Eichorn. Dean started the company in 1971, and the original product was a cassette tape base memory add-on for IBM Selectric typewriters (The name CPT originally meant Cassette Power Typing).
As you already know, the CPT 8000 series (8000, 8100, et al) was a dedicated word processor. The beauty was in it's 14" portrait oriented screen. This screen was white with black characters and had a very high scan rate (for the day). The 8000 perfectly mimicked a sheet of paper being scrolled through an electric typewriter and was therefore very comfortable for most office workers to use.
CPT had other products like the 6000 (a low powered, half screen version of the 8000), the Diskpack (sp? I don't remember how we spelled that shared disk system, the Phoenix (word processing with graphics) and the 9000 series (a low profile replacement for the 8000 series that utilized the Intel 8086 processor."
*update, Nov 2005*
John's come up with some excellent scans of CPT brochures including an external hard drive unit for the 8500 series, the Phoenix hi-res and very Apple Lisa-like machine from 1983, a shared external hard drive and the CPT corporate headquarters in Michigan. Thanks John! See the links below.
He says "We also had an item called the SRS-45, an external hard drive that up to 8 workstations could share. It came standard with a 30 meg drive, with options for an additional 30 meg drive and\or a 10 meg removable cartridge drive."
"The Phoenix did eventually ship and was quite popular, but a support nightmare. They never really did get all of the bugs worked out of it and it was one of the anchors that drug the company to the bottom"
"I wish that I could find some information on the CPT 9000. It had an Intel 8086 processor and the option of a split video screen, that could be run either in full screen word processing mode (like the 8000\8500 series) or the bottom 1/2 could be used for word processing and the top could be used to run MS-DOS with a Hercules black and white video display with graphics. It was pretty cool. The 8500 series also had a split screen option, where the top 1/2 would serve as a VT100 terminal emulator."
Jan 2007 update from Jeff Salzman about the CPT 9000, thanks Jeff!:
I wanted to give you some information on the CPT 9000. I worked on all the 8000 and Phoenix Jr. series. The 8000's were tough to keep repaired. We did board level maintenance. So, we carried spare boards wherever we went. If a customer had a problem, we swapped boards until it worked. Then, we retested the boards at the shop to verify a problem. Most of the time, the returned boards were re-certified by our own standards. Some boards seemed to be picky about what machine they were in, yet would work flawlessly on others. Any boards that failed our testing would get shipped to a third party repair center for component level maintenance (I forget the name of the shop). Then the cycle would continue.
As for the Phoenix Jr., they were a bit more resilient. They didn't fail very often, but we would replace a lot of keyboards. Occasionally, the disk drives would fail for the client, but mainly they're just dirty. All around, the Phoenix Jr. was a robust word processing system.
The 9000 series was Intel based and were mostly IBM compatible. The actual systems were contained on a large combo board ISA card that was plugged into a bus system. The whole CPT system was in the card. It also sported IBM compatibility. I'm not sure if it was fully AT compatible, but I believe it was because we got Windows 3.1 to work on it for some clients. The split display between CPT and DOS/Windows was nifty at the time. You could even go full screen on Windows with the right drivers. One of our clients was crossing over from CPT to desktop publishing. They would run Venture Publisher, full screen, on the 9000 and switch to CPT when needed. Most of the 9000 series sported 20-40MB hard drives. CPT documents could be exported to HD and then re-imported into Ventura, or even Word Perfect (which we also had running on the DOS side).