Thumbnail Amplifier (Oct, 1962)

Thumbnail Amplifier
This thumbnail-size transparent cube is a complete amplifier circuit for the infrared guidance system of a missile. Packaging transistors, diodes, resistors, and capacitors in the solid plastic block reduces volume and weight, prevents damage from shock. It’s made by Convair.

Fluid “Transistor” Circuits (Jun, 1960)

Fluid “Transistor” Circuits

May Rival Electronics

Here’s the complete story on amplifiers that use liquids or gases instead of electricity. They may soon control such things as dishwashers, power tools and computers


INSTEAD of vacuum tubes and transistors, the basic units of tomorrow’s automatic appliances and automated industries might well be small blocks of metal, plastic or ceramics with tiny passageways in them.

Development of the blocks—pure fluid amplifiers—was announced recently by the Army’s Diamond Ordnance Fuze Lab., Washington, D. C.

Control Data PLATO Computer System (Jul, 1978)

PLATO was a pretty amazing computer system for it’s day. Here is a blurb from the wikipedia entry:

…the last production PLATO system was turned off in 2006, PLATO nevertheless pioneered key concepts such as online forums and message boards, online testing, email, chat rooms, picture languages, instant messaging, remote screen sharing, and multiplayer online games…

“Control Data PLATO increased our training efficency 167%”

“PLATO computer-based education will save Merrell-National over 12,000 classroom hours on just one drug product training program alone.”
Gary J. Wilson, Sales Training Manager
Merrell-National Laboratories Division of Richardson-Merrell Inc.

“Today’s modern ethical drugs demand sales people who are better informed, more technically oriented and better able to relate vital product information to help doctors do a better job. To meet the challenge, Merrell-National Laboratories has initiated a program to improve the quality of pharmaceutical representative training.

New Personal Computers — now the big guns have arrived (Nov, 1981)

Apparently the fact that the IBM PC came with MS-DOS was notable even in 1981:
Most surprisingly, IBM will initially be using outside sources of software and plans to accept programs from private individuals — a huge departure from past IBM practices.

New Personal Computers — now the big guns have arrived

IBM heads the list of new small-computer makers— and that means big changes to come


The room was jammed. I was lucky to be up front; before me sat the demonstrator. His hands stretched across the keyboard as characters streamed onto the CRT display. It was a computer, a personal model for use in home or office. But it wasn’t just any new small computer—this was an IBM.

Apple Ad: What kind of man owns his own computer? (May, 1980)

Get it? The Apple is a revolutionary computer. Ben Franklin was a revolutionary. Ben Franklin + Apple Computer = Marketing Genius.

What kind of man owns his own computer?

Rather revolutionary, the whole idea of owning your own computer? Not if you’re a diplomat, printer, scientist, inventor… or a kite designer, too. Today there’s Apple Computer. It’s designed to be a personal computer. To uncomplicate your life. And make you more effective.

It’s a wise man who owns an Apple.

Ad: Six facts every engineer and scientist should know about the new CRC102-A (Jun, 1953)

Six facts every engineer and scientist should know about the new CRC102-A

Electronic Digital General-Purpose Computer

1. LOW INITIAL COST – The CRC 102-A is one of the lowest priced, large scale, digital electronic computers now available commercially. It may be purchased, rented, or leased with an option to buy. Performance guarantees are given as part of every lease contract.

Translation by Machine (Jan, 1956)

This is a pretty optimistic article describing all of the steps and approaches to getting a computer to translate between two languages. Given that machine translation still sucks even though we have had 60 years of research and literally billions of times the computer capacity, I’d say it was a harder problem than they expected.

Translation by Machine

Its wide study has been stimulated by the need of scientists to keep abreast of publications in several languages. Although a mechanical translator still does not exist, encouraging progress lias been made

by William N. Locke

Suppose you became interested in working in a new field opening up in your line of work. Your first step would be to get all the background you could on the subject. To take a concrete example, let us say that the new field was the design of electrical switching networks. Looking through the literature, you would certainly find the pioneer 1938 paper by Claude Shannon on the theory of such networks, and a number of other, less important, papers. But how likely would you be to discover a Russian paper entitled And even if you saw listed somewhere an English translation of its title (“The Application of Boolean Matrix Algebra to the Analysis and Synthesis of Relay Contact Networks”), how could you know that this article in the Russian language was the most important contribution to the field next to Shannon’s original paper?

Introducing Apple II (Sep, 1977)

This was when you could still buy the Apple II as a kit with just the motherboard. Also the floppy drive wasn’t released until the year after this ad.

Introducing Apple II.

The home computer that’s ready to work, play and grow with you.

Clear the kitchen table. Bring in the color T.V. Plug in your new Apple II? and connect any standard cassette recorder/player. Now you’re ready for an evening of discovery in the new world of personal computers.

Only Apple II makes it that easy. It’s a complete, ready to use computer—not a kit. At $1298, it includes features you won’t find on other personal computers costing twice as much.

data reduction by “OSCAR” (Jan, 1953)

I’m not really sure what this does. It seems to record, tabulate and plot data (see, I can read), but what actually generates the data?

data reduction by “OSCAR”


• Scales
• Zero Corrections
• Logs — Squares, etc.

Tape Recording Guides Milling Machine (Dec, 1955)

For a much more in depth discussion of early computer controlled milling machines check out this excellent 1952 Scientific American article: “An Automatic Machine Tool”. It’s amazing to think that people are building these things in their garage now for a few hundred bucks.

Tape Recording Guides Milling Machine

Guided by orders stored on magnetic tape, a new milling machine makes all the intricate cuts necessary to turn out wing and skin panels for jet planes. An engineer converts the plans for a panel into decimal numbers, which then are perforated into a paper tape. The paper tape then is run through a computer, which coordinates the information into precise time-and-motion orders to the machine.