Computers & Business Machines
Imagine the loss, 100 years from now, if museums hadn't begun preserving the artifacts of the computer age. The last few decades offer proof positive of why museums must collect continuously—to document technological and social transformations already underway.
The Museum's collections contain mainframes, minicomputers, microcomputers, and handheld devices. A Cray2 supercomputer is part of the collections, along with one of the towers of IBM's Deep Blue, the computer that defeated reigning champion Garry Kasparov in a chess match in 1997. Other artifacts range from personal computers to ENIAC, the Altair, and the Osborne 1. Computer components and peripherals, games, software, manuals, and other documents are part of the collections. Some of the instruments of business include adding machines, calculators, typewriters, dictating machines, fax machines, cash registers, and photocopiers
"Computers & Business Machines - Overview" showing 1 items.
- This ordinary piece of test equipment played an important role in video game history.
- In 1966, while working for Sanders Associates, Inc., engineer Ralph Baer began to look into new ways to use television, focusing specifically on interactive games. Baer had received his bachelor’s in television engineering and was familiar with television test equipment that could meet his needs while keeping cost down. This Heathkit IG-62 Color Bar and Dot Generator, which was used to adjust television sets, provided the key circuitry needed to create an image on a television screen. This allowed Baer and his colleagues to devote their time and attention to develop a way for anyone to be able to move that image.
- In 1967, Baer created the first of several video game test units. Called TVG#1 or TV Game Unit #1[hyperlink], the device, when used with an alignment generator like the Heathkit IG-62, produced a dot on the television screen that could be manually controlled by the user. Once they were able to interact with the television, Baer and his team could design increasingly sophisticated interfaces and programs.
- Currently not on view
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- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center