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Post War Hobby Electronics

Back in the 1960s and 70s there were two types of electronic gadget you could buy- the slick and finished product and the do-it-yourself kit. While the finished item would naturally cost more and appeal to a lazy public who didn’t care what was inside the shiny plastic case (just so long as it worked), […]

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Alan Turing & The £200,000 Computer Article

If I asked you to think of a valuable magazine you would probably think of a 1960s copy of Melody Maker hand-signed by the Fab Four, or even a mint copy of the first edition of Superman. These are of course highly valuable and coveted items, but I bet very few people would ever go […]

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When Punch Cards Ruled Computers

For an older generation of people the sight of a 7 3/8 inch long rectangular card covered in rows of numbers with lots of squares punched out will bring back strong memories. And for those that do remember they will probably then turn to the younger generation around them, tell them how lucky they are […]

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PAM 710- Britain’s 1st Transistor Radio

Throughout the 20th Century few inventions had as much long-term impact on the communication and technology sectors as the transistor. Invented by Bell Labs in the US in Dec 1947, its arrival eventually saw the wholescale transition away from cumbersome glass valves, kick-started printed cardboard circuit boards, and helped the miniaturization of our everyday tech. […]

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Cold War Espionage & the 1950s Minifon Wire Recorder

Back in the 1950s and 60s no self-respecting Spy Agency would leave home without their trusted Minifon wire-recorder. Indeed while the Cold War was in full swing, these little devices had the somewhat unique kudos of being used (probably simultaneously) by the CIA, FBI, KGB and Stasi among others. At only 7 inches long and […]

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The CB Radio Craze

(as featured in West Country Life- June 2018) Mention ‘CB Radio’ to most people and they will instantly mime holding a mic and spew phrases like ‘breaker-breaker-9’, ‘big 10-4 rubber duck’ in a bad US accent or even start singing the theme tune to ‘Convoy’.  Interestingly for a craze that burned out over 30 years […]

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Space Age Electronics

  When you think of space age design, it is usually the 1950s or 60s that will instantly spring to mind. Who can ignore those spindly atomic legs on a sideboard, bold geometric patterns on the curtains or Jetsons-style tailfins on the Cadillac. Indeed as the world geared up to watch the first rockets orbit […]

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The Seiko TV Watch- The World’s Smallest TV

        (As published in West Country Life- April 2018)   If you wanted to wow your friends back in 1982, then few items would impress them as much as the Seiko T001 TV Watch. At first glance it looked much like any other stainless steel digital watch of the time and offered […]

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Vintage Computer Games as Collectables

  Over the last few years the retro computer game (retro gaming) scene has exploded in popularity, not only among a nostalgia-fueled middle-aged demographic who remember these things first time around, but among younger millennials as well. Perhaps it’s the wonderfully primitive and pixelated graphics that appeal, the simple yet frustratingly challenging quests, the magnetic […]

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When Computers Learned to Draw

(as published in West Country Life- March 2018) The early days of computing were very much about pushing the boundaries of what the new electronic binary machines could actually do. While much of that pioneering work took place during normal office hours and often involved very mundane administrative and mathematical tasks to service the needs […]

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