CREEPINGNET'S WORLD
GEM Computer Products/Micro Equipment Corp./C.MORE
My attempt to document a Norcross Georgia Computer Company's History
When people think of computing companies of years gone by, they think of IBM, Commodore, NEC, Acer, Packard Bell, Tandy, or Compaq - just to name a few - but outside of those, we had a lot of "smaller" names all over the united states. Small, Regional makers who built machines locally. A small few of these companies managed to make a mark just a little bigger than Local, but not at the Compaq/Packard Bell level. These are the names remembered on various cases that were shared from manufacturer to manufacturer. Micro Equipment Corporation, and GEM Computer Products + C.MORE stores by extention, are one of these companies - sharing a tier just below other, more celebrated "White Box" PC makers such as Austin, Northgate Systems, or ZEOS, but above tiny, regional makers such as Data Experts of Alabama or Cactus of Blackfoot Idaho, or Holt Office Systems or CAT Computers of Kirkland Washington. I would put them sort of where Bellevue Washington firm "Hard Drives Northwest" resides currently. Just more than regional enough to be a regional firm, but just regional enough to still be considered "regional".

So this is going to be a bit like LGR's Tech Tales, except way more obscure. Maybe if this does well, or I find enough to close the case on thsi one, we can continue to look up more strange, old, obscure, regional Whitebox PC Manufacturers and document their systems and whatnot.

I must declare, and point out that I am just a fan of these old systems they made. I never worked for any of the companies mentioned, and all of the work here is my own research and digging I've done at various internet archives and various search engines over the course of over 20 years. How factual things may actually be is anyone's guess. I'm just trying to post up what I know. Admittedly, this page was inspired a bit by a blog from about 15 yyears ago where another guy started to write about smaller PC manufacturers (not me) and their histories. I will likely open up more pages as time goes on and more information comes out on these old companies.
The Company's History
I have attempted this endeavor many times, and still I'm putting pieces together out of micro-sized shards I dig up on the internet. So Speculatory bits will be put in italiacs like this while stuff I have substantiated with Evidence will be in regular text.

Micro Equipment Corporation (MEC) and GEM Computer Products were both trademarked in March 1983 per Trademarkia.com - a trademark website (where all these logos came from). Though I have possibly found other sites stating 1982 or earlier as a starting point. It appears that despite this early startup, they never quite took off until 1985 or so.

(1985) PEPPER XT MOTHERBOARD - In 1985, GEM started offering a motherboard known as the "Pepper XT". This was an 8088 based, XT-Clone motherboard boasting "Zero Wait State" operation, and intended as an upgrade. Itt was also, apparently used as a motherboard in various other brands "whitebox" PC builds, as well as probably MEC & GEM's computers themselves. I speculate, originally, when the company was formed, MEC was likely already functioning in some fashion, and then GEM was opened up either as a Government branch, or was initially used as the store brand for their PCs.

Speculations on Military Ties - I believe I may have read somewhere that they had some U.S. military contracts providing technologies to various branches of the Military. This would seem right on as out of the 4 GEM complete systems below I have found/owned, only ONE did not have a location near/at/around a Military base. It seems the majority of these may have gone to the USAF branches, which may explain the rarity abit. The two systems I acquired were decommed to civilian use after their active duty, and were also quite modified from their stock form and obviously wiped and reloaded with personal effects (which I then wiped and reloaded with my own). This makes me wonder a bit if GEM stood for "Government Electronics Manufacturing" or "Government Engineering Machines" or something like that.

C.MORE (Late 80's) - Sometime between 1985 and 1990 MEC/GEM started a series of stores in the southeastern United States known as "C.MORE" with the Tagline "The New Vision". I found this logo on Trademarkia. What I surmise is this was a series of regional computer stores, possibly opened up in malls, such as the then famous Peachtree Mall in west Georgia, or the Montgomery Mall in Montgomery Alabama. I vaguely even recall possibly seeing one at the Auburn Mall in Auburn around 1988-1990 or so. What I'm guessing is this would be a place you could buy accessories, software, diskettes, and full computer systems under the GEM or MEC, or possibly even C.MORE Brand. I even recall being in a large computer store in the Peachtree Mall at age 8 that had a TON of computer stuff in it so it could have been this very store.

Jan 25, 1989 - Deseret News - GEM Announces Salt Lake City Presence - Remember what I said about GEM/MEC/C.MORE Sitting somewhere between a Compaq and a Cactus? Well, this is proof of that. By 1989, GEM computer Products division was already making plans to open up operations in Salt Lake City Utah, a whole heck and away from Norcross Georgia. The Article mentions this arm being run by Larry Edwards, previously of Novell, and employing 7 people in their opffices while a factory had not been picked yet at this point.

I copied/pasted the Article below in block font in case this link ever dies...

ATLANTA-BASED COMPUTER SALES, ASSEMBLY FIRMS COMING TO S.L.
By Deseret News
Jan 25, 1989, 11:00pm PDT

Micro Equipment Corp. and its affiliate, Gem Computer Products, both headquartered in Atlanta, will open a regional sales and distribution office and a manufacturing facility in Salt Lake City this year.

In a written announcement released Wednesday, officials said the Utah office will cover distribution in the western United States. The company said Salt Lake City was chosen because of its regional shipping location and abundant work force.Larry C. Edwards, a former executive with Novell Data Services and founder of Icon International, has been named vice president and general manager of Micro Equipment's Western Operations..

Edwards said the company has opened a small office in Sandy, 9176 S. 300 West, but a site for the computer manufacturing and assembly plant has not been chosen. The facility will employ about 20 workers.

Micro Equipment is a 7-year-old computer products distributor, while Gem manufactures IBM compatible computers and accessories. The companies have facilities in Atlanta and Taiwan.

Post 1997 - By 1997, GEM/MEC/C.MORE were now being run by CEO Alexander Mark Remington, who was also a director of NewCom (now known as NCom). Around that time, NewCom was having fifnancial issues, and who was their #1 supplier? Micro Equip Corp. of course. Between 1999 and 2003, the US Department of Justice had an ongoing trial involving members of NewCom, Aura, and MEC. Here's some links to this because I'm not all that well versed in legal. What I understand is this was a fraud case involving Remington, his girlfriend, 2 guys of some ethnicity going under the names "Gino" and "Tony", and NewCom failing as a business.

(PDF) Official Paperwork from the Trial from the US DOJ
(Apnews) Defunct Tech Firm Execs Charged
(DailyBreeze) Three Arrest in Corporate Fraud Case (9/12/2002)
EMM CREDIT LLC v. ALEXANDER REMINGTON

Property For Sale 2020 Onward - While looking up addresses for GEM Computer Products, MEC, and C.MORE, I found GEM's 1989 building that was being built in Atlanta, apparently this was MEC's headquarters throughout the 1990's until they folded around 2005 or so. I also was able to locate the original building that looks more "spanish" in architecture as well. This seems to be all that is left, though a Facebook Page for "MEC" still exists claiming some ind of startup or something. It's unclear exactly what that business is for anymore.


Products by GEM/MEC/C.MORE
Full Systems
Picture(s) Model/Specs Description
GEM 286/? (XT Case)
  • Built around 1985-1989
  • SongCheer XT Clone Chassis
  • XT-Class PSU
  • i80286 ?MHz
  • 80287?
  • 512K RAM
  • ST-506/412 Interface HDD (orginally)
  • Monochrome/Hercules Graphics?
  • Internal Speaker Sound
This computer was found on an E-bay auction sometime around 2013-2015 and still shows up on the worthpoint site. It appears to be an earlier GEM clone PC. Could have been an XT Clone upgraded to a 286, or an IBM XT/286 clone that's more than likely a full blown AT. It's hard to tell with systems like this from the 1980's because, due to the expense, it often may have had more than one motherboard in it's lifetime and it could have been a very different system in the end. It is apparent the HDD was removed from these devices.

Interestingly enough this was another GEM machine with close ties to the U.S. Military as this one too came from somewhere near a military base, I can't remember if this one was Georgia, Alabama, or Texas though. I do remember that this one seemed to be run hard and put away wet more than tther GEM machines I've seen. I never owned this one. If the owner wants to provide more info, feel free to drop me a line.
GEM 286/10
  • Built Between 1987-1990
  • SongCheer Full AT Clone Chassis
  • Full AT Magictronic 200 Watt PSU
  • i80286 10MHz
  • 80287 Math Coprocessor Option
  • Octek Revision 5.1 Motherboard
  • American Megatrend's BIOS (AMT)
  • 2048K RAM (up to 4MB), 30 pin SIMM/DIP RAM
  • 1.2MB/1.44MB Mitsubishi Floppy Drives
  • Likely a 20/30/40MB ST-412 Interface Drive Originally
  • Paradise PVGA1A 256K VGA Graphics
  • Internal Speaker Sound
This is my personal 286 that I bought in 2005 from E-bay. It came from a Del Rio TX Airforce Base, thusly yet another Military-tied PC. This one came to me with the original HDD upgraded to a 540MB Fujitsu with a Dynamic Drive Overlay, and has been massively upgraded ever since. I spent $35.00 on it and it's' one of the machines I've had the longest. It seems to be newer than the one below. I have looked around e-bay in recent years and have confirmed that this chassis is indeed a generic "white box" AT chassis as I have seen one or two other makers using an AT clone chassis exactly like this one on down to the milky light mocha textured paint. As far as I can tell the machine is all original except for the AST Multifunction I/O Card installed in it when I got it, and the other cards I have added to this computer since I bought it.
GEM 386/20
  • Built Between 1986-1991
  • Parkview/Steelcase Deskpro Full AT Style Chassis?
  • Magitronic 200 Watt Full AT PSU
  • Micronics Motherboard w/ Addonics Branded Chips (baby AT)
  • American MegaTrends BIOS
  • i80386 DX-20 CPU
  • i80387 Math-Coprocessor Optional
  • 5MB of RAM (30 pin SIP x4)
  • 1.44 & 1.2MB Mitsubishi Floppy Drives
  • 40MB Seagate ST-251 MFM HDD, WD Controller
  • WD Paradise PVGA1A VGA Graphics
  • Internal Speaker
This is the one that ignited my interest in these computers as it has a chassis I have not seen before, nor since. This was appaprently GEM's attempt to compete with Compaq's Deskpro 386. This computer was once owned by a ex-military now Rabbi and was personally given to me by his son, who I was in a band with, after the machine's original PSU and HDD failed. This one came from Montgomery, AL. Yes, this is Creeping Net 2. The computer as it originally came had the original 40MB Seagate MFM HDD in it, as well as a ProComm Plus (odd, I thought that was communiations softwarE) 244MB Quantum ProDrive LPS "Slave Only" Hardcard as the secondary drive D:\. Very unique setup for the late 80's/early 90's. This machine had a LONG lifetime with me and the chassis was used in my main computers from 2003-2011, where I'd already copied the measurements, specs, and am planning eventually to clone the interesting chassis design as a retro-PC shell on my own. I have yet to see another 386 with this chassis since, making me glad I at least gave myself the tools, pictures, and measurements to recreate it from scratch. The sales clipping for this computer model I found in Google books - GEM 386/20 System, $2950, 1.2MB Floppy Drive, 40MB HDD, Micronics Motherboard (!?!?) - ring a bell? - PC/Computing Volume 2 in 1989.
MEC Compupter (286?)

SPECS UNKNOWN

I saw this machine at Salvantion Army Thrift Shop in mid-late 2001 in downtown Opelika. I don't remember too much of it except that it had an interesting case design like the one above, except it was not the Deskpro design, and I have seen this case style a few times since. It had a brushed-aluminum case badge with "MEC" in the font from Trademarkia on it, and no other markings I can recall. I remember toying with buying this one at the time, and wished I had, except I did not even have THIS much information on GEM/MEC/C.MORE on the internet to find, even back then.
GEM Pentium 120
  • Built Between 1995-1998
  • Antec Mid-Tower Baby-AT Chassis
  • Unknown Power Supply
  • Intel Pentium 120MHz CPU
  • 5MB of RAM (30 pin SIP x4)
  • 1.44 & 1.2MB Mitsubishi Floppy Drives
  • 40MB Seagate ST-251 MFM HDD, WD Controller
  • WD Paradise PVGA1A VGA Graphics
  • Internal Speaker
The history of this machine is largely unknown but it was built by GEM very late in the game, may have been one of their last systems before the lawsuits began between GEM/MEC/C.MORE and their suppliers in the late 1990's. I found it looking up the brand on YouTube back around 2006 or so and was shocked to find they were using the Eurostile Raster Font logo this late in the game. The machine in questiion is a Pentium 120 system, and looks otherwise to be a lot like many generic Socket 5/7 Pentium systems of the time. I'm not even sure if the original owner still has this thing or uses it at all anymore. I also don't know of the origin of it either since he only has 2-4 videos of it on YouTube.

INFORMATION I'M STILL LOOKING FOR

I'm really trying hard here to make these pages on more obscure "brands" fun, interesting, and informative. As I find out more, I will post more pictures/information, and as I clear more speculations, those will be re-written, and taken out of itailiacs. Feel free to throw me an e-mail from the link above to let me know anything you know or anything generally cool. It took me awhile to think about bringing this page back but the dig is just so much fun of a read.

  • Photos of GEM/C.MORE/MEC Stores and what they looked like in the 80's/90's
  • Other GEM/MEC/C.MORE Computer Systems and Hardware, including pictures of brand new, untouched systems
  • More Computer Magazine Articles
  • Those lost pages on what happened to the company between 97-04
  • MECWorld Website (going to dig around on the wabackmachine for this one)
  • Any other websites they may have had at the time.