For some reason, old computers don’t become classics. Few people contains them with the same concern as contain antique furniture or cars. Probably the reason that they are not suitable for use in the modern world even though the ability to function. Fortunately, there are people who care about the safety of the computers that changed the world. These computers were in the caring hands of the staff of the Living Computers Museum: Museum + Labs. Colleagues from Smithsonian.com have prepared a wonderful story about the Museum and its exhibits.
The Living Computers Museum: Museum + Labs was created in 2006, one of the founders of Microsoft Paul Allen. He noticed that many computers, with whom he grew up, just lost. People throw them in a landfill, and some models have been just impossible to find. Allen decided to gather all of the most important computers in one place, and this place was equipped in Seattle.
Today the Museum and its exhibits ensures Lart Carlson. He is responsible for the replenishment of the Museum in searching for and restoring old computers. It takes a lot of time and effort. Computers and software have to be cleaned of mold. Some of their components need to be changed to modern.
Restoring one computer may take up to two years. Not enough time and effort is spent on maintaining existing exhibits in working condition. Unfortunately, there are computers that still cannot be found. The Museum has been haunted for the Apple Lisa and the IBM 709.
As you can see, preparations for the opening, too, took a lot of time. The work started in 2006 but only in 2012 the Museum opened. In 2016 there was a second floor, which offers a more modern technology: robots, devices, virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and more.
However, the first floor is the most interesting, because it is possible to find 56 computers at different times. Each of them can be used, and it is encouraged in the Museum. Visitors can dive right in to Windows 3.1 and the first OS with a graphical interface from Apple.
Recently, the Museum began to receive installations which fully mimic the situation of the 80-ies. It will be possible to completely dive into the past, seeing around not only old computer, but many other things and furnishings from the past.
We know that not every reader will be able to be in Seattle and visit the Living Computers Museum: Museum + Labs. Offer to meet on our website with some of the most interesting exhibits. You will be able to discuss them in our Telegram chat. Imagine that you went to the Museum with friends as a group and share experiences may not in live communication, via Telegram.
Company NorthStar was a small startup from 1977. It was originally founded as Kentcky Fried Computers. Horizon was sold in a wooden case for $ 1600. Paying the money, the computer had to gather themselves. Only paying another $ 300, you can get ready to work the computer. Horizon was one of the first personal computers, with 18 megabytes of memory and a floppy drive.
In 1984, the Tandy company from Texas, introduced the model 1000. According to her statements, the computer was able to compete with the IBM PC but cost $ 1000 less. It sold for 3000 $ in radio shack stores that are owned by Tandy. Visitors to the Living Computers Museum: Museum + Labs can play many classic games on the Tandy 1000.
Computer Xerox Alto was the prototype of what we long time used daily. He demonstrated the GUI, mouse and to connect to other computers on the network. It was worth all this fun $ 12. To afford such a computer was difficult. These computers no one enjoyed, but that we have them to thank for a graphical user interface, mouse, and Ethernet.
Even in 1977, Apple was an important design. Computer Apple II was impressed that everything needed was enclosed in one plastic case. This computer has become incredibly popular. Production ended only in 1993. It became a serious tool for the job.
Control Data Corporation CDC 6500
This computer was worth $ 8 million. He weighed almost two tons and required a huge area for installation. It was not created for home use. CDC computers used for computing companies such as Boeing and General Motors. Not really powerful by today’s standards, but in 1964, something that an IBM computer was gone all day, the CDC 6500 had done in an hour.
Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-8/e
This computer came in 1965 at a price of 16 thousand dollars. Then he was considered very compact. The PDP-8 was created for engineers, but were delivered to schools and medical facilities. This computer was responsible for the operation of the screen with the news on times Square, and the scoreboard at Fenway Park in Boston. By the time the PDP-8 was discontinued in 1990, managed to sell 50 thousand copies.
Compaq DeskPro 386
Before you the fastest personal computer in 1987. He worked on the operating system Windows/386 with a graphical user interface. The developers wrote a lot of programs for this computer. This made the car a great tool for your desktop in many organizations. Compaq DeskPro 386 worked on 32-bit Intel that made him a killer of computers. Only after 7 months, IBM could offer an alternative. Compaq DeskPro 386 cost from 6,500 to $ 8,000.