Posted June 22, 2017
“It’s all just for fun”
Various gadgets from authors collection all purchased as new over the last 70 years. Do you remember these iconic gadgets? More will be added as we continue.
Posted October 28, 2022
Sinclair Sovereign 1976
The Sinclair Sovereign was a high-end calculator introduced by Clive Sinclair’s company Sinclair Radionics in 1976. It was an attempt to escape from the unprofitable low end of the market, and one of the last calculators Sinclair produced. Made with a case of pressed steel and a variety of finishes, it cost between GB£30 and GB£60 at a time when other calculators could be purchased for under GB£5. A number of factors meant that the Sovereign was not a commercial success, including the cost, high import levies on components, competition from cheaper calculators manufactured abroad, and the development of more power-efficient designs using liquid-crystal displays. Though it came with a five-year guarantee, issues such as short battery life limited its usefulness. The company moved on to producing computers soon afterwards.
The design by John Pemberton won a Design Council award, and there are examples of the Sovereign in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It had a Mostek MK50321N main integrated circuit and a small memory register, a 7 segment LED display, and could perform a variety of a number of basic mathematical operations besides four-function arithmetic.
A beautiful working design exercise and a pleasure to own.
Posted September 10, 2022
Sinclair Executive Memory
I purchased this calculator in 1973 when living in Wisconsin. Had to travel to a specialty store in Chicago to find it. We appreciated the design then as we do now. It has become a design icon and on permanent display at MOMA, (Museum Of Modern Art).
Film cameras are becoming rarities in today’s landscape.
We saw this watch on the Johnny Carson show and demonstrated with red LED’s. The first prototype “Wrist Computer” was unveiled on the show May 5, 1970 and when hearing the $1500 price tag for the production model, Carson quipped: “The watch will tell you the exact moment you went bankrupt!” We had to have one.☺️ The below watch was the first digital model in the world in tandem with a limited edition 18K gold version and sold prior to the first LCD watches which came two years later.
After posting this photo we decided to try and find the video of the show. The time is in the “Johnny Carson lost tapes” period. Although we watched the show in color that night, we found a documentary about the Hamilton Pulsar and the segment was saved in black and white video. The three below screenshots are courtesy of the Hamilton Watch Company.
This CD player played 3 inch and 5 inch disks. The 5 inch disk revolved outside of the player.
Wireless data transfer in 1984!
Always fascinated by holograms, we started a collection in the mid 1980’s. Today, the technology has expanded to full color. We have approximately, two dozen art holograms in our collection.
Holographic images in simple terms are created by multiple lasers aimed at an object and the reflected laser light from the object creates an interference pattern which is captured on a holographic plate. The best quality holograms are created on a thin glass plate instead of film.
One of our favorites is this reflection two color hologram of a microscope magnifying a computer chip. An excellent example of virtual art interaction with the viewer. The barrel and eyepiece actually project out from the plate of glass a full 14 inches plus! When the viewer places their eye to focus through the eyepiece floating in air over 14 inches from the plate, a gold magnified, focused computer chip can be seen in detail as if the microscope actually existed.
We could not capture the 3D effect with a 2D camera. Perhaps a video would work better. You might imagine the difficulty in capturing the floating projected light of the chip in air with our camera. The green flares are gone and if you were to view in person, you would see a clear focused image.
By Walter Spierings hologram artist – 8” x 10″ reflection hologram – 1984 ‘open’ edition
One of Hollands finest holographers
From the artist: “My company, Dutch Holographic Laboratory B.V. (DHL), first received international recognition with Microscope in 1984. This image of a microscope protrudes more than 14 inches in front of the holographic plate. When viewers look into the microscope’s illusory eyepiece, they see the actual magnification of a computer chip, just as if the microscope really existed. This 8 x 10 inch reflection hologram has opened viewers’ eyes to a new perception of holographic imaging and spawned a number of offshoots”. Walter Spiering.
My eye is focused on the integrated circuit 14 inches out from the front plane of glass! (My wife measured) If I got any closer, the ocular image would disappear. If the light of the hologram could be photographed from this vantage point, the microscope eyepiece would be touching my eye glasses.
We have a hologram with a realistic demon head with piercing eyes. As the viewer walks by, the head turns and the eyes move to watch you. It’s very similar to the holograms at Disney World. Creepy.
Another favorite is a full size hologram of a Smith & Wesson 357 Magnum revolver and five unexpended shells with one in the chamber. This hologram is just the opposite of the above, it projects inwards with great depth. We built a nice tiered 4 inch deep walnut light box to display the gun. It looks so real, one is tempted to reach in the box and pick it up.
As all dichromated gelatine holograms, they are very bright, and don’t need a dedicated lamp to appear perfectly. They have a wide parallax too. The company producing them doesn’t exist anymore.
Is this image real or a Hologram? It’s a TruLife Hologram of James Bond’s Walther PPK.
In our previous home, we set up a darkened art gallery to display our holographic art collection. Displaying holography properly requires a pure clean white light source in a darkened environment. The incidence of light is critical as well, so we set up halogen and LED fixtures customized in location for each artwork. We had to account for different heights of people. As visitors strolled through our darkened gallery illuminated only by small light fixtures precisely positioned, we received comments such as “the effect of floating three dimensional objects is stunning”. We purchased a new home just over a year ago which is going through a remodeling process. We plan on setting up a new gallery and plan to add a video displaying holographic artwork to this page.
Until then, please enjoy Coexistence by Ray Park, South Korea.