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. Computers range from the pioneering ENIAC to microcomputers like the Altair and the Apple I. 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. 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
- These oddly cut index cards are actually programs for the very first video games.
- These program cards were used with the “Brown Box,” prototype for the first multiplayer, multiprogram video game system. Users of the "Brown Box" could play a variety of games by flipping the switches along the front of the unit. The games included ping-pong, checkers, four different sports games, target shooting with the use of a lightgun and a golf putting game which required the use of a special attachment.
- To play these games, the user placed one of these program cards between the two sets of switches on the "Brown Box" (as you can see in the picture). The dots on the card indicated in which position the switches should be set. Magnavox licensed the "Brown Box" and released the system as the Magnavox Odyssey in 1972, with the switch system replaced by a plug-in game slot and plastic program cards.
- Currently not on view
- Date made
- patent holder
- Baer, Ralph H.
- Baer, Ralph H.
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History