manufactured (overall production method/technique)
plastic (overall material)
metal (overall material)
overall: 9 in x 29 in x 24 in; 22.86 cm x 73.66 cm x 60.96 cm
United States: Texas, Fort Worth
In the early 1970s, most personal computers came as hobbyist kits requiring a high level of technical expertise to assemble. Don French, a buyer for the consumer electronics chain Tandy Radio Shack (TRS), believed that Radio Shack should offer an assembled personal computer and hired engineer Steve Leininger to design it. In the summer of 1977, Radio Shack introduced the TRS-80 for $599. This offering included a BASIC language interpreter, four kilobytes of RAM, a Zilog Z80 processor at 1.77 megahertz, a twelve-inch video monitor, a cassette recorder, a power supply, and a cassette tape containing the games Blackjack and Backgammon. While some Tandy executives were skeptical about the success of the PC market, the availability of the TRS-80 on five thousand Radio Shack store shelves helped the Model 1 sell over one hundred thousand units during its first year, which was 50 percent of the total PCs sold in 1978.
The TRS-80 had its microprocessor inside its keyboard. While you could purchase just the TRS-80 for $400, most opted for the package that included the twelve-inch monitor and cassette recorder for $600. This object includes the TRS-80 Expansion Interface for $299 (below monitor) that gave the machine an extra thirty-two kilobytes of memory; the TRS-80 Telephone Interface II for $199 (far left) that allowed for network communication; two Mini-Disk drives for $499 (right of monitor); and printer for $399 (far right).
average spatial: 5.7 cm x 3.81 cm x 2.6 cm; 2 1/4 in x 1 1/2 in x 1 in
When the TI-99/4a was introduced in 1981, Texas Instruments claimed it was both "a major breakthrough in computer technology," and, probably more important, the "lowest priced, 16-bit computer available." It cost only $525. The TI 99/4a was a redesign of the TI-99/4 system, which had been a market failure and was discontinued. The new machine sold well, but by August 1982, TI was falling behind its competitors, especially Commodore. So it began offering a $100 rebate on the TI-99/4a. It quickly became the best-selling home computer in America, controlling, by the end of 1982, approximately 35% of the market--150,000 machines a month.
In February 1983, TI cut the price to $150, and then in June 1983, it offered a plastic version of the TI-99/4a for less than $100. But now it had gone too far. It was selling computers for less than cost, resulting in a second quarter loss of $100 million.
The TI-99/4a operated on a TI TMS99000 at 3 MHz and included 16 KB of RAM and 26 KB of ROM. The computer included a RS-232 interface card and a 32K memory expansion card as well as a Data Storage cassette. Texas Instruments controlled the development of software for the machine and offered only around 300 titles. These did not include many of the most popular programs of the time.
Initially, the only way to expand the machine was to use a port on the right side of the console. Peripherals could extend out several feet. To remedy the situation TI released a more convenient Peripheral Expansion Box (PEB) and, surprisingly, sold 250,000 units at $1,475.00 each--far more than the cost of the computer.
Eventually Texas Instruments sold over 2.5 million units of the TI-99/4A. However the company decided that computers were not a promising business and dropped out of the PC market in 1984.
Green i/O unit of irregular rectangular shape with black keypad and retractable antenna; stylus and earphone in recesses in body. Irregular square green base with attached black plug; slot for i/O unit.
overall: 9 3/4 in x 26 1/4 in x 4 3/4 in; 24.765 cm x 66.675 cm x 12.065 cm
prior to 1849
Like many people of his era, Lincoln believed deeply in the value of personal initiative, inventiveness, and scientific and technological change. Lincoln’s mechanical and scientific interests began with his training as a surveyor in New Salem and continued throughout his life.
In 1848 he decided try his own hand at developing an invention to lift boats grounded in shallow water. On May 22, 1849, Congressman Abraham Lincoln received a patent for his method of lifting boats over shoals. A trip to Niagara Falls inspired the design, when he witnessed a grounded boat being lifted over shallow waters. Lincoln produced the model with the help of Walter Davis, a Springfield mechanic. There is no evidence that he ever sought to put the idea into production.
Transfer from the U.S. Patent Office, 1922
Currently not on view
Government, Politics, and Reform
Rubenstein, Harry R.. Abraham Lincoln: An Extraordinary Life
1837 Swasey's Patent Model of a Cloth Napping Machine
wood (overall material)
metal (mechanisms material)
cloth (cylinders material)
cloth napping machine
cloth napping machine patent model
United States: Maine, Mount Vernon
Cloth Napping Machine Patent Model
Patent No. 350, issued August 8, 1837
Benjamin Swasey of Mount Vernon, Maine
Swasey’s patent concerned the setting of teazles ( thistle-like plant heads) in the wires of the large napping cylinder. He also claimed certain springs and levers that shifted the cloth rollers in and out of gear. This shifting of the cloth rollers caused the cloth to come in contact with the teazles as the cloth was wound forward and then disengaged the cloth from the teazles as the cloth rewound.
In this way, the cloth could roll from one cylinder to another as long as necessary to ensure a well-napped surface. Also, the shifting of gears did not require a person to match and unmatch the gears. Friction bands on the ends of the cloth rollers, together with hanging weights, kept tension on the cloth even.
Reginald Marsh art notebook #4, models and expenses
Marsh, Reginald, 1898-1954
1 notes 22 x 16 cm.
Notebook containing loose pages of dated lists of work expenditures, contact information for artists' models, and some sketches and correspondence. Two additional notecards and three torn notes inserted in volume. Only two pages are displayed here, including Marsh's list "Expenses in the pursuit of art." To view this item online in its entirety, see Series 4, Box 4, folders 13-14 of the Reginald Marsh papers.
Casio Personal-I Handheld Electronic Calculator - Model H-802
Casio Computer Company, Ltd.
plastic (case; display window; keys material)
metal (circuitry material)
paper (sticker material)
overall: 3/4 in x 3 in x 4 7/8 in; 1.905 cm x 7.62 cm x 12.3825 cm
This handheld electronic calculator has a plastic case that is black in front and cream-colored on the edges and back. The keyboard has an array of square plastic keys, including ten digit keys, a decimal point key, a total key, and four keys for arithmetic functions that are to the right of the digit keys. Across the top of the keyboard are AC (all clear), C (clear entry), square root, and percentage keys.
Behind the keyboard is an eight-digit display. Text behind this reads: CASIO personal-I (/) ELECTRONIC CALCULATOR. The on/off switch is at the top of the left side, and the socket for a power adapter is along the top edge at the left.
A battery compartment at the top of the back would hold two AA batteries. A sticker inside the compartment reads: 4409774. Text below the compartment reads: CASIO personal-I (/) BATTERY SUPPLY 1.5Vx2 (/) or use AC ADAPTOR AD-2S (/) 0.2W (/) H802 MADE IN JAPAN (/) BM CASIO COMPUTER CO. LTD.
Advertisements for the Casio Personal-I calculator appeared in the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times during 1976 and 1977. The calculator cost $9.95 initially, with sale prices as low as $8.90. Ball and Flamm also date the calculator to about 1976.
Guy Ball and Bruce Flamm, The Complete Collector’s Guide to Pocket Calculators, Tustin, CA: Wilson/Barnett, 1997, p. 52.