For some reason old computers did not become classics. Few people keep them with the same care as they contain antique furniture or cars. Probably, the reason is that they are not suitable for use in the modern world, even though they can function. Fortunately, there are people who care about the safety of computers that have changed the world. These computers fell into the caring hands of the employees of the museum Living Computers: Museum + Labs. Colleagues from Smithsonian.com prepared a wonderful story about the museum and its exhibits.
The Living Computers: Museum + Labs Museum was created in 2006 by one of the founders of Microsoft Paul Allen. He noticed that many computers with which he grew up simply disappear. People throw them into a dump and some models are simply impossible to find. Allen decided to collect all the most significant computers in one place, and this place was equipped in Seattle.
Today, the museum and its exhibits are watched by Lart Carlson. He is responsible for replenishing the museum, searching for and restoring old computers. This takes a lot of time and energy. Computers and user manuals have to be cleaned of mold. Some of their components need to be changed to modern ones.
One computer may take up to two years to recover. It takes a lot of time and effort to maintain existing exhibits in working order. Unfortunately, there are computers that still can not be found. The museum has long been hunting for Apple Lisa and IBM 709.
As you could understand, the preparation for the opening also took quite some time. The work began in 2006, but only in 2012 the museum opened. In 2016, a second floor appeared on which more modern technologies are presented: robots, virtual and augmented reality devices, artificial intelligence and much more.
Nevertheless, the first floor remains the most interesting, because it can find 56 working computers of various times. Each of them can be used, and this is encouraged in the museum. Visitors can immerse themselves in the work on Windows 3.1 and the first OS with the graphical interface from Apple.
Recently, installations began to appear in the museum that fully imitate the situation of the 80s. You can completely immerse yourself in the past, seeing not only the old computer around you, but also many other things and interior items from the past.
We know that not every our reader can be in Seattle and visit the Living Computers: Museum + Labs Museum . We suggest to get acquainted on our site with several of the most interesting exhibits. You can discuss them in our Telegraph chat. Imagine that you went to the museum with friends with a whole group, and you can share your impressions not with live communication, but through Telegram.
NorthStar was a small startup from 1977. Initially it was founded as Kentcky Fried Computers. Horizon was sold in a wooden case for $ 1600. Having paid this money, the computer had to be collected independently. Only after paying another 300 dollars, you could get a computer ready for work. Horizon was one of the first personal computers with 18 megabytes of memory and a floppy disk drive.
In 1984, the company Tandy from Texas introduced the model 1000. According to her, the computer was able to compete with IBM PC, but cost $ 1000 less. It was sold for $ 3,000 in RadioShack stores that belonged to Tandy. Visitors to the Living Computers museum: Museum + Labs can play many classic computer games on the Tandy 1000.
The computer Xerox Alto became the prototype of what we used for a long time every day. It was he who demonstrated a graphical interface, a mouse and connection to other computers over the network. All this pleasure cost 12 thousand dollars. Allowing yourself such a computer was difficult. No one used these computers, but we should thank them for the graphical user interface, mouse and Ethernet.
Even in 1977, for Apple, design was important. The Apple II computer was impressed by the fact that everything needed was enclosed in one plastic case. This computer has become incredibly popular. Its production ceased only in 1993. It was he who became a serious tool for work.
Control Data Corporation CDC 6500
This computer cost 8 million dollars. It weighed almost two tons and required a huge area for installation. It was not designed for home use. Computers CDC used for calculations such companies as Boeing and General Motors. They were not really powerful by today's standards, but in 1964, what the IBM computer spent the entire day, the CDC 6500 did in an hour.
Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-8 / e
This computer appeared in 1965 at a price of 16 thousand dollars. Then it was considered very compact. PDP-8 was created for engineers, but was delivered to schools and medical institutions. It was this computer that was responsible for the screen work with the news on Times Square and the scoreboard with a score at the Fenway Park Stadium in Boston. By the time PDP-8 was discontinued in 1990, 50,000 copies were sold.
Compaq DeskPro 386
Before you is the fastest personal computer of 1987. He worked on the Windows / 386 operating system with a graphical user interface. The developers have written quite a lot of programs for this computer. This made the machine an excellent tool for the desktop in many organizations. Compaq DeskPro 386 worked on a 32-bit Intel processor, which made it the killer of IBM computers. Only after 7 months, IBM was able to offer an alternative. Compaq DeskPro 386 cost from 6500 to 8000 dollars.