One of only ten surviving Kenbak-1 personal computers from 1971 has sold at auction for €34,000 (US$36,500). Judged the "first commercially available personal computer" in 1987 by a panel at the Boston Computer Museum that included Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, it's a fascinating piece of history that sheds a light on the chaotic early days of the desktop computer.
A time capsule that's not to be opened until the year 2957 has been recovered on the MIT campus. Discovered by workers building the new MIT.nano building, it contains a letter to the people of the next millennium and historical artifacts, including an experimental electronic component that once gave the transistor a run for its money.
A Space Age collectible that not only represents a first in space, but also a first in computer history is on the auction block in Dallas, Texas. As part of its Space Exploration Signature Auction, Heritage Auctions is taking bids for a vintage random access, non-destructive readout 4,096 bit memory plane that flew on Gemini 3. This ferric memory unit was an integral part of the Gemini Spacecraft Computer, which was the first computer installed in a manned space capsule.
A unique relic of the Space Age went on the auction block at RR Auction this week with the Bulova wristwatch worn on the Moon in 1971 by Colonel David Scott as Commander of Apollo 15 sold for US$1,625,000. The Bulova Wrist Chronograph was carried on the mission's third surface EVA as a backup timepiece to the NASA-issue Omega watch worn on US manned missions. The personal property of Scott, it is the only watch to return from the Moon to remain in private hands.
One of only 50 or so Apple I computers still in existence is up for grabs at an auction running over the next eight days. Online auctioneer Christie's has started the bidding at £240,000 (US$370,000) for the Apple 1 personal computer, which even comes accompanied by a original manual.
An auction of scientific, technological, and musical instruments, soon to be held at 1onhams Auction House in the UK, will headline with a 1941 M4 Enigma machine used by the German military during World War II to send encrypted messages. Unlike the 3-rotor machines whose cipher codes were famously broken by those working at Britain’s Bletchley Park during the war, the 4-rotor model heading to auction is among the rarest of the rare, and is sure to command a high price. Besides cipher machines, however, the sale also offers a range of unusual and sought after examples of scientific instruments and musical automata that should also attract a great deal of interest. We take a look at a few prime examples.
One of the great tragedies of the Second World War has been remembered with Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul G Allen recovering the bell from the British battlecruiser HMS Hood, which was sunk in battle 74 years ago by Hitler’s flagship Bismarck. The brass ship's bell was recovered from a mile and a half (2.4 km) down in the Denmark Straits by a remote operated submersible (ROV) controlled from Allen's private yacht M/Y Octopus.
For all the textbooks and museums at our disposal, sometimes it can still be difficult to really imagine what life was like in an earlier time. Visitors to the British Museum this weekend, however, won't have to imagine. They'll be transported to the Bronze Age using virtual reality.
Nobody knows exactly how climate change will play out in the coming decades, but the Poles are already being affected as ice melts away. Man-made sites in the region are also under threat as ice vanishes and, because of this, a Canadian researcher is on a mission to visually record one place that could soon become just a memory.
An Enigma machine, used by Germany to send encrpted communications during World War II, has been sold at auction in London. The machine, which was constructed in 1943, is one of few that survived the conflict intact, as the German military was given orders to destroy the machines as it retreated.