Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the Sara Roby Foundation
In this interior view the play of light enlivens the image, transforming an everyday still life into something much more animated. The bright reds and greens of the fruit appear to echo throughout the painting, from the richly mottled floor and wall to the wooden chair, glowing in the sunlight. Leigh Palmer painted the two apples in such detail that they appear three-dimensional, as if we can reach forward and take one from the sun-soaked table.
overall: 6.3 cm x 21.4 cm x 21.4 cm; 2 1/2 in x 8 7/16 in x 8 7/16 in
geometric models, set of
Deutschland: Baden-Württemberg, Stuttgart
Science & Mathematics
From the early 1800s, teachers advocated the use of devices to teach arithmetic, proposing objects such as the blackboard and the teaching abacus. To illustrate the meaning of fractions, some brought an apple to class and cut it up. By the 1920s, some made special beads for the teaching abacus, divided to represent fractions. Hugo Jung of Stuttgart, Germany, developed an improved version of this apparatus. His “apples” were to have a hollow metal core, attached to a flange that allowed various fractions to be removed (halves, thirds, etc.). The core would then slide on the rods of a numeral frame. In this form of his apples, the core is solid, and individual apples are used to teach students about specific fractions.
The set consists of nine varnished wooden balls, sliced into segments representing fractions. A metal flange at the base of each apple holds both a central cylindrical core that runs through it and metal pins that hold the various slices in place. The first of the nine “apples” is divided into two halves, the second into three thirds, and the third into one half and two fourths. The fourth apple is divided into five fifths, the fifth into one half and three sixths, and the sixth into seven sevenths. The seventh is divided into one half, one fourth, and two eighths. The eighth apple has two thirds and three ninths and the last has one half, two fifths, and one tenth.
The balls fit into a square cardboard box that is divided into nine compartments. A label glued to the inside of the box reads: “ARCHIMEDES” (/) the divisible apple to learn the calculation of fractions.; Made in Germany; Protected by patent in all civilised countries [/] D.R.P. No. 489 439; Sole manufacturer: Rudolf Loebelenz, Stuttgart.
Hugo Jung, D.R.P. 489,439, July 23, 1930.
Hugo Jung, British Patent 343,323, February 24, 1930.
manufactured (overall production method/technique)
plastic (overall material)
metal (overall material)
overall: 13 1/2 in x 16 in x 20 in; 34.29 cm x 40.64 cm x 50.8 cm
United States: California, Cupertino
Family & Social Life
Computers & Business Machines
The Apple Macintosh introduced a graphic user interface (GUI) to the Apple line of computers. The idea had originated at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center in the 1970s, but Xerox was slow to commercialize it. Apple proved far more successful when it introduced the Macintosh in January 1984, with a splashy television advertisement during the Superbowl. The original price was around $2,500.
Instead of typing out names of programs on command lines, users with a GUI could click "icons," or pictures that represented the programs they wanted to run. They could also execute functions like saving, moving, or deleting files by clicking and dragging the icons around the screen with a pointing device called a mouse. Apple's version of the mouse had a single button, which became an Apple standard. The first Macintosh had only 128K RAM, and users quickly found this insufficient. The Macintosh 512 KB, nicknamed "Fat Mac," was introduced in September 1984. It gave users four times as much memory, and allowed them to keep several major programs open simultaneously. The vertical processor case and 9" monochrome screen were distinguishing features of all the early Macintosh line.
The Macintosh 512 KB contained a Motorola 68000 microprocessor which ran at 8 MHz. It contained 512 KB of RAM and 64 KB of ROM and initially had a 400 KB Floppy disk drive. Applications included MacWrite, a word processor, and MacPaint, a drawing program that turned the mouse into a paintbrush. Shortly after the 512 KB appeared, Apple also introduced a LaserWriter printer, which enabled desktop publishing for individuals and small businesses. Over time, Apple computers would appeal most strongly to artists and designers, while the IBM/DOS line of computers sold better in business markets.
After selling hundreds of thousands of units, Apple discontinued the "Mac Classic" line of computers in April 1986.
overall: 18.2 cm x 11.4 cm x 2.4 cm; 7 5/32 in x 4 1/2 in x 15/16 in
portable computer, personal digital assistant
Computers & Business Machines
Gift of James F. Young
Apple released the Newton MessagePad Model H1000 in 1993 as one of the first personal digital assistant (PDA) devices. The device sported a 20 megahertz ARM 610 processor with 630 kilobytes of RAM and was powered by four AAA batteries. The MessagePad was designed to store contacts, notes, and calendars, and to provide word processing and rudimentary Internet browsing. The MessagePad’s most revolutionary feature was that it accepted handwriting input via a pen stylus. The novelty of handwriting recognition soon became notorious due its buggy translations, lampooned in popular culture, most notably in a week of Doonesbury comic strips.
Apple, Inc., Newton Apple MessagePad Handbook, 1995.
Kevin Strehlo, “Apple’s MessagePad is an Expensive Gadget at Best,” Info World, August 30, 1993, 1 & 104.