Highlights from an extensive collection of early minicomputers, mainframes, and instrumentation remind us just how amazing smart phones are.
While running the computer lab at the University of Wisconsin as a graduate student, Paul Pierce discovered a 1961 Packard Bell minicomputer taking up in an already crowded facility. He took it home, figuring it would be fun to fool around with. Little did he know it was the start of what would become a passion, after he graduated and went to work for Intel. "For a while I thought I would just collect a few minicomputers for the fun of playing with them and keeping them working,” he says. “I got on the DOD and GSA sales lists. I saw larger machines and noticed they always went to scrap. Eventually I realized that very few of the great old machines were being saved.”
That was when he got serious about acquisitions. Today, he has amassed an extensive collection of early electronic equipment ranging from the oscilloscopes and analog computers to classic mainframes. Part of his criterion for collecting is to only purchase pieces that are either operable or can be fixed. As a result, he also acquires user manuals, software, cabling, and maintenance documentation.
He’s graciously allowed us to present some of those images here in a slideshow. To further explore his collection, stop by his site
. Be warned, though, the time will fly by.