A Truckload of Vintage Computing

January 4th, 2009 by Benj Edwards

A Truckload of Vintage Computing

I should be ashamed of myself. I do so much vintage stuff every week, but I'm usually too lazy to tell you guys about it — and I run a blog called Vintage Computing and Gaming. Well, maybe I can do more quick updates on my activities in the future. Here's the first.

A few months ago, I visited a family friend's house. She was cleaning out her attic, and I had long since promised to help her get rid of the numerous dusty computers her late husband had collected.

I came home with seven machines, including an Apple IIc and an old Compaq bearing a Post-It Note warning: "Do not get on this computer." The note backfired, of course, as it insured that I would be getting on it post-haste.

Once atop the slumbering beast — some five inches off the ground — I booted the machine. Therein, I found a sluggish, hobbled-by-its-own-nature install of Windows ME and no less than 86 virii (this is not an exaggeration) intertwined with every facet of the operating system. As per my promise to the former owner, I formatted the drive with extreme prejudice.

A Truckload of Vintage ComputingChief among the other spoils were a NES Action Set in a near-mint box; the aforementioned Apple IIc's original box with all documentation; an Apple IIc color monitor and monitor stand, both in box; various boxed Apple II and PC software; a box; six PC clones of various vintage between an AT-class machine and Pentium stuff (no boxes to be seen); and an awesome, non-boxy Model 500 rotary telephone in stylish red and black.

Above all else, the equipment carried with it a priceless nostalgic element: I had watched my brother's best friend use most of these items when I was a kid, so it was very familiar to me.

What you see in the back of the truck above would have met death-by-dumpster had I not gallantly rushed in to save it. Of course, now it's cluttering up my house instead of hers. Despite the nostalgia rush, I'm starting to think our family friend got the better end of the deal.



13 Responses to “A Truckload of Vintage Computing”

  1. arlandi Says:

    Dude,

    this is one awesome cache! i'm interested to know, how you manage to STORE these collection? It may be interesting for us to see another article about how you store all of your collections (and the reactions of your family seeing them!)… :D

  2. Dave Ross Says:

    I love my vintage computers, but they just take up too much room. The nostalgia rush is great, but I think I'm reaching the point where I wont be too heartbroken if one or two C64s find their way into my next load for the recyclers.

  3. XCALIBR8 Says:

    That is a score! Part of me wants to collect still but I am at the point where less is more. I type this with my circa 1996 Compaq Presario 2200 nestled ever so perfectly under my LCD monitor in case I want to fly a few missions of X-wing (floppy version) in all of its expanded memory glory. That was my first PC and have only had 3 since that first one. I have moved in and out probably about 15-20 computers through the years getting them to new homes. I'd much rather pass the machines on than let them get junked. As for consoles the "less is more" logic hasn't kicked in as much. I have multiples of most of the heavy hitters from the Atari 2600 going up to the PS1 era. I am letting a few of my closest friends "borrow" some of my consoles to free up some space in the house and it makes me feel good to let other people enjoy gaming again.

  4. Ben Says:

    I suspect storage is a problem for a lot of us, especially since others in out families probably don't "get it".
    Last time I moved, I, in the name of space and a little more marital bliss, let go of many boxes of HD 5 1/4 disks (sill in the shrinkwrap), an old Zenith notbook that I took apart one too many times and wouldn't power up anymore (I couldn't clear the password anyways), and several of the more beat-up 386s and 486s (but not before stripping them of cards, drives, mem, processors, PS, jumpers, and plenty of screws and other odds and ends).
    My PS/2s and components have survived, based on the argument they're different from the common "beige box". And most of them are fairly small form factor, so they can be stashed away easier ;) .

  5. Benj Edwards Says:

    Arlandi,

    Storage is definitely a problem. I've been meaning to do a post on how I store my stuff for a long time. At the moment, though, most of my stuff is crammed on metal shelves in boxes or plastic bins in my garage. Some of it is also inside my house in a cabinet or two, and some of it is still at my parents' house, where it has sat for 10 years since I moved out. :)

  6. Andrew Says:

    Remember, it's always worth seeing if any nearby computer museums could use the kit. They've always got lists of things they need (sometimes common stuff, for parts). ;)

    Neat to see stuff saved, in any case!

  7. Jake Says:

    W00W! That is incredible!! Wish I was that lucky, no one here even knows what a ZX Spectrum is!

  8. Benj Edwards Says:

    Andrew, as far as I know, I am the nearby computer museum. :)

  9. John Daniels Says:

    I went from 35 C-64s and Color Computers to 1 Commodore PET after moving them one too many times. Once I got a PC, I never looked back (ok, a little).

  10. Silencewordsaway Says:

    Quite a haul. Quite a burden.

    It's tough to appreciate the utility and beauty of machines long considered archaic and useless by many others. These computers were not merely burdens in their time, they, the output of so much time, effort, and knowledge, into not just ideas, into real material, were monuments of their age to how far humanity had come; a culmination of profound understanding, and a foundation for what was to come. Now fallen to the wayside, overshadowed by their offspring, they struggle to find a place in this modern world they helped create. But that doesn't mean they can't do everything they once did and with gusto, nor learn a few new tricks. No object is useless unless we give it no use and don't appreciate what it does.

    (sorry i got on a roll)
    (except Windows ME. it has never been useful)

  11. Bryan Says:

    I see some Nintendo stuff in that second trash bag (near the back of the truck). Mind telling us what's in there? :-)

  12. Benj Edwards Says:

    Sharp eyes, Bryan! The NES stuff you see is all empty boxes from games and a NES model 2 system. The contents of those boxes have already been in my collection for some 8-9 years now; my brother's friend sold them to me back then. Now I've got the boxes to go with them. :)

  13. Gil Megidish Says:

    WANT

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