News

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2016-05-22 Post-Aquatic Stress Syndrome  
Posted by Accutron  

 

After the past two years of merciless rain, the weather for Hamvention 2016 decided to be relatively cooperative. We did experience one fatality however. On Thursday afternoon during vendor setup, a brief but strong gust of wind struck us out of the blue, anatomically inverting one of our canopies before we had everything tied down. Other vendors fared even worse - one of our neighbors' tents ended up stuck at the top of a telephone pole, and another vendor lost a huge rental canopy and a large amount of rather delicate inventory.

Customer turnout was nearly overwhelming this year, as we often had 30 or more people perusing our wares simultaneously. Even with four of us working the crowd, it was difficult to keep up with all of the people telling us to shut up and take their money.

On the intake end of things, we found a number of interesting new items, including a complete HP 9000/300 system, a TI Language Translator, a large Varian travelling wave tube and several huge 300MB disk packs for a Control Data 9766 Storage Module Drive.

We would also like to give special thanks to Bill Eaton, who stopped by our booth while I was away, and donated a circuit card from a GE-645 mainframe. The GE-645 is particularly noteworthy as being the first system which ran Multics.

2016-05-14 Tear Down This Wall  
Posted by Accutron  

 

Dayton Hamvention 2016 begins next Friday, and we will be in our normal location at the exact geographical center of Flea Market East, spaces FE3038 through FE3042. We will have about twice as much inventory on site as we had last year, made possible by doubling our hauling capacity from one creepy pedophile van to two creepy pedophile vans.

As usual, we will be selling a bewildering array of computers, calculators, test equipment, typewriters, electronic components, scientific apparatus, video games, technical books and many other things too numerous to mention. If you only have time to visit one flea market booth at Hamvention, we absolutely guarantee that we're the booth to visit.

Although we will have double the inventory, we are unfortunately boxed in by other vendors, and consequently do not have a corresponding doubling of flea market space. Customers should be prepared to transact with us over an impenetrable eye-level wall of test equipment and Star Trek toys.

2016-04-28 Jon Johnston Passes  
Posted by Accutron  

 

Jon Johnston, former HP employee and founder of the HP Computer Museum in Australia, died on Sunday, April 24, in a climbing accident on Shishapangma in Tibet. Johnston and climber Patrik Mattioli fell into a crevasse at 6200m, after a five meter section of ground gave way beneath them. At the time of this writing, their bodies have not yet been recovered.

Jon was an experienced climber, and had attempted to climb Everest in both May 2014 and May 2015. He hoped to take a HP-35 calculator to the summit, but both expeditions ended in disaster. In 2014, an avalanche killed 16 people, including three guides from Jon's team. In 2015, an earthquake-triggered avalanche swept through base camp, killing 20 people and narrowly missing Jon by only 10 meters.

Jon's HP Computer Museum has been an invaluable resource for many years. Despite the fact that he climbed some of the most dangerous mountains in the world, he considered the recent restoration of a HP 2116A computer to be one of his biggest accomplishments.

Our deepest condolences go out to Jon's family and friends. His vast contribution to the preservation of HP history will be greatly missed by the vintage HP community.

2016-04-05 Kwisatz Haderach  
Posted by Accutron  

 

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Hewlett-Packard 9825A calculator, the world's first 16-bit microcomputer, and perhaps the most unsung technological revolution in computer history. The HP 9825A offered minicomputer-class power in a compact desktop form factor, and became a workhorse of science, engineering and real-time instrument control for the next two decades. In the late 1970s, when 8-bit "toy" computers were receiving most of the public's attention, thousands of 9825s were quietly performing critical tasks in all areas of science and industry, totally dominating their ostensible peers and successfully competing against much larger minicomputer contemporaries. The 9825A was the absolute bleeding edge of electronics technology at the time of its introduction, and to this day remains an impressive engineering achievement.

We have also added a number of other notable early calculators to the museum, including the Monroe CSA-10, Casio 121L, Commodore C112, Singer Friden 1009 and the Sharp EL-8M.

In addition to it being the 40th anniversary of the 9825A, 2016 is also the 50th anniversary of the 2116A, HP's first computer. The 2116A's 16-bit architecture spawned a wide range of computers, calculators and computerized test equipment, including the 2114B, 2100A and 21MX minicomputers, the aforementioned 9825A and the 4955A Protocol Analyzer.

2015-06-15 Calcoholics Anonymous  
Posted by Accutron  

 

Continuing with the recent calculator theme, we've added several machines to the newly forked Electronic Calculators section of the museum: a first-generation TI-30 scientific calculator, a TI Programmable 58, the inexplicably legendary TI-81 graphing calculator, three models from the HP-48 series of graphing calculators, and an incredible HP-97 portable programmable desktop calculator, complete with software, manuals and carrying case, purchased for $5.00 at a garage sale.

2015-06-05 Somewhat Portable Somewhat Computers  
Posted by Accutron  

 

Several interesting new items have been added to the museum: a Texas Instruments Silent 700 Model 745 portable terminal, a Lanston Monotype 'The Barrett' mechanical adding machine, a Burroughs C3200 Model C3207 ten-key adding machine with Nixie tubes and discrete logic, and a beautiful Hewlett-Packard HP-45 scientific calculator.

2015-05-25 Rain II: The Rainening  
Posted by Accutron  

 

Despite getting rain in various quantities all three days, we had our best sales year so far. The scrounging wasn't bad either, with several notable finds, including an Apple II+, a HP-41C 1933A Bug 3 and HP-41CV 'halfnut', a complete and fully upgraded NEC PC8201a and a Mitsubishi MELSEC A6GPP programmable logic controller.

2015-05-12 Don't Etsy Me Bro!  
Posted by Accutron  

 

Dayton Hamvention 2015 is in a few short days, and we will have our largest pile of junk ever, available for capitalist consumption. As usual, we're right in the middle of Flea Market East, spaces FE3038 through FE3042. We will be both selling and buying, so bring your wallets and your interesting artifacts, and hope for sunshine.

2014-06-02 Rain  
Posted by Accutron  

 

Dayton Hamvention has come and gone once again. On Saturday morning, we were met with an intense thunderstorm, complete with hail, wind and near-freezing temperatures, which drowned a portion of our lower priority not-under-the-tents inventory. The rest of the day was spent cleaning up the mess and pouring comical amounts of water out of several unfortunate 8-bit microcomputers. Although the weather situation definitely impacted the festivities on Saturday, we still moved record quantities of junk on Friday and Sunday.

Between the rain and heavy sales, we didn't have time to shoot our traditional Hamvention video, but we did make a number of impressive purchases. Some of the more notable finds include: a Chelsea U.S. Navy clock, Lear Siegler ADM5 terminal, two IBM RS/6000 workstations, a NEC 8201A microcomputer, a Spectra Physics Model 127 helium-neon laser and two rare OKI millimeter wave klystrons. These items and many others will be added to the website over the next few months.

2014-05-14 Sus Electronicus  
Posted by Accutron  

 

Dayton Hamvention 2014 is only a few days away, and we're very busy filling cardboard boxes with a wide range of electronics, scientific apparatus and various other items. Just like last year, we will be located at the exact geographical center of Flea Market East, spaces FE3038 through FE3042.

2014-01-12 Silent Service  
Posted by Accutron  

 

Although it's been quite a long time since we've made a news post, many significant items have been quietly added to the site over the intervening months:

* Casio OH-7000G: An unusual instructor variant of the FX-7000g, the world's first graphing calculator.
* Computer Operations CO-4420 Serial Box: A rare and unusual portable terminal with an integrated DECtape drive.
* Digital Equipment Corporation VAXserver 3500: A 32-bit supermini, implementing DEC's CVAX chipset.
* Hewlett-Packard 1300A X-Y Display: The world's first commercially available graphical CRT computer display.
* Hewlett-Packard 2100A: A rare aftermarket-modified example of the 2100A minicomputer, re-branded as a Measurex 2650 Central Processing Unit.
* Teltron 1149: A large Orthicon imaging tube used in television studio cameras from the 1940s to the 1980s.
* Varian V-45: A rare 1:5 frequency multiplier klystron; special thanks to Rick Hall K5GZR for donating this device.
* Western Electric 316A: An attractive high power UHF triode in a spherical 'UFO' envelope.

2013-05-22 Dissecting History  
Posted by Accutron  

 

Other than some minor vehicular problems and a couple hours of rain on Saturday, Hamvention 2013 went off without a hitch. The most noteworthy finds this year include a VAXserver 3500, a MicroVAX 3600, and the obscure CO-4420 Serial Box portable terminal with integral LINC Tape drive, built by Computer Operations. We ended up scrapping the MicroVAX 3600 on-site, live for our customer audience. Normally we'd never consider such a thing, but the immense RA82 disk drives were bad, and the chassis was far too large for us to transport back to our facility without suffering permanent injury. Furthermore, prior to scrapping, we offered the MicroVAX chassis and drives to three different active and well-known DEC collectors over the course of the weekend, and all three refused the machine, despite their on-site presence and the availability of appropriate transportation. The CPU boards will now live on as a MicroVAX conversion kit and backup replacements for the nearly identical VAXserver 3500, and the highly impressive RA82 disk packs are now serving a decorative function in our museum.

Special thanks to the kind stranger who showed us how to bypass the defective solenoid in our Ford pickup truck with a couple quarters. The legend of the helpful ham lives on.

2013-05-04 The Nexus of Awesome  
Posted by Accutron  

 

Dayton Hamvention is once again rapidly approaching, and we've been busy the past couple months putting tiny yellow price stickers on a tremendous pile of junk. We've increased our flea market real estate investment this year, and will now be occupying five flea market spaces instead of the typical three. You can find us at our usual location in Flea Market East, in spaces FE3038 through FE3042, not too far from the front gate.

We've added several new items to the Aerospace & Defense Components section since our last news post: an Airesearch 948958-18 Electronic Turbine Control from a first-generation Boeing 747-123, a Tracor Aerospace TA 7900 Control Display Unit, several pieces of military flight data equipment manufactured by Technology Incorporated, and an incredibly rare and historically significant EG&G DT-150 Light Intensity Detector, used to measure the device yield of various atmospheric nuclear tests in the 1950s.

2013-02-10 Air Freight  
Posted by Accutron  

 

We've just added a number of new entries to the Aerospace & Defense Components section of our museum, including the Century Electronics 409 Oscillograph, a Litton LTN-72R Control Display Unit and various flight data management equipment manufactured by the now-defunct Technology Incorporated out of Dayton, Ohio. We've also added a new entry to the Solid State Displays section: the rare TIL-308 intelligent LED display. Special thanks to Dr. Bruce Jarnot for donating this and other devices which will be added to the museum over the coming weeks.

2012-12-15 Heavy Mineral Deposits  
Posted by AnubisTTP  

 

In Victorian steampunk times, lightbulbs were seen as a legitimate form of entertainment. We have recently acquired an early Crookes mineral tube which exists only to fulfill this need. The tube contains a cubical block of calcite, which glows red under the influence of high voltage in a vacuum due to its phosphorescent properties. In our not too distant past, electricity was still considered a form of magic.

We have also added a few other new items, including a J.H. Bunnel Telegraph Sounder in the Communication Equipment section, an unusual surface mount green Soviet LED display in the Solid State Displays section, and an assortment of General Electric 2N43 transistors to the Discrete Semiconductors section.

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