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Tracking Down “Apple Beige”

It’s a classic Steve Jobs story: when Apple created the Apple II, Jobs was unhappy with every existing shade of beige, so Apple had to create and register its own distinctive greenish tint of beige. Jerry Manock, the industrial designer of the Apple II, has stated that the color was Pantone 453, but that doesn’t seem to be true. Ben Zotto came across an original jar of touch-up paint for the Apple II, which triggered a fascinating investigation into the history of the color.

Apple II on a leather bag

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Comments About Tracking Down “Apple Beige”

Notable Replies

  1. Cool. I would never have guessed. I always assumed that these were the generic “putty” color that companies have been using on file cabinets and other office furniture for decades (e.g. Staples 470383).

    My old Apple equipment is pretty close to the color of my file cabinets (and my old beige PCs as well). I always assumed that the differences were simply a matter of different devices discoloring differently over the last 40 years.

  2. Yeah, I would have thought it were “Putty” as well. If Ben reads this, he should take the paint sample to Ace or Paint store that has the scanner, make the paint color. I would love to know the pigment colour. But just checked the PPG formulation for the R: 190 G: 185 B: 162 LRV: 48
    Hey, I think I will get this color and paint my computer office :slight_smile:

  3. Thanks for the link to that VERY cool article. As a retrocomputist, I was not aware there was touch-up paint made for the Apple II beige computers. Fascinating!

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