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Geniacs at work

A 1955 Geniacs computer kit for kids 1955 is currently selling at eBay for $232.50, and there are four days left in the auction.

Geniacs kit

I had one of these when I was a lad. You programmed it by placing metal strips on wheels.

I also had a plastic computer that consisted of layers like a lasagna that had tubes you slid over prongs to make them longer (where long=on), and then you shuffled the layers. Yes, the memory is a bit fuzzy, but the computer’s logic was not.

I did not care for either toy. I didn’t like computers until I was typing my wife’s dissertation for her and discovered word processing. [Thanks to Mark Dionne for the link.] [Technorati tags: ]

Marc Abrahams points to a Geniac ad from 1957. The first paragraph:

GENIAC the first electrical brain construction kit is equipped to play tic-tac-toe, cipher and encipher codes, convert from binary to decimal, reason in syllogisms, as well as add, subtract, multiply and divide. Specific problems in a variety of fields–actuarial, policy claim settlement, physics, etc., can be set up and solved with the components. Connections are solderless and are completely explained with templates in the manual. This covers 33 circuits and shows how new ones can be designed.

It cost $19.95.

4 Responses to “Geniacs at work”

  1. David, I didn’t care for my Geniac kit either. Too much effort to get a few lights to flash. Some forty years later, I still have some of the screws and light sockets from the Geniac rattling around in my toolbox.

  2. My son is using Lego Mindstorms, the 21st Century version of the Geniac.

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