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Coin-Operated Arcade Game, Bird Brain

Coin-Operated Arcade Game, Bird Brain

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The Bird Brain is a coin-operated arcade game, in which a player contends with a trained chicken and a microcomputer in a game of tic-tac-toe. The crate is made primarily of wood and metal, painted brown with yellow and gray streaks. The "Thinking Booth" is a plastic or glass (seems to be plastic but original sign says glass) window on the left through which the challenger could see the chicken. The interior was painted orange with a blue food and water compartment. The tic-tac-toe section is to the right of the chicken viewing area and seems to be made of brown plexiglass with yellow painted lines and embedded light bulbs. One door in the rear gives access to the chicken, another provides a way to reach the electronic components of the game. A metal box that accepts quarters for each challenge attaches to the front underneath the chicken. On the top, there are two holes to allow the BIRD BRAIN sign to be attached and a mesh brass-colored (most likely aluminum) screen to allow heat to escape from the electronic side. A small ventilation hole on top provided air for the chicken. A removable litter tray is at the bottom. Handles on the sides make lifting easier.
The US trademark description of the game (trademark number 1143966 registered Dec 23, 1980) states: "For: Coin operated game apparatus in which a live animal, such as a chicken, is programmed to compete with a human in a game such as tic-tac-toe, in class 9 (US Cls. 22 and 23). First use Nov. 1975; in commerce Jan. 1976. Ser. No. 149531, filed Nov. 21, 1977."
Some images show the donor (Bob Bailey),family member Rae Barriner (in a pink shirt), and curator Peggy Kidwell
For related materials, see the remainder of accession 2004.0075, as well as nonaccession 2004.3022.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Game, Coin-Operated
date made
ca 1975
Animal Behavior Enterprises, Inc.
place made
United States: Arkansas, Hot Springs
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
metal (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
glass (overall material)
overall: 40 in x 44 1/4 in x 34 in; 101.6 cm x 112.395 cm x 86.36 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Robert E. Bailey
Animal Behavior
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Teaching Machines
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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