Author Topic: Challenge: Show us a Photo of your oldest elcectronics  (Read 9837 times)

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Offline hiddensoul

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Challenge: Show us a Photo of your oldest elcectronics
« on: December 28, 2013, 10:02:58 pm »
Okay so challenge for today is to show us a photo of the oldest bit of electronics kit that you personally own.

Anything related to electrons is fair game but you must personally own the equipment and not just post a photo of something you have found on the net, also post some relevant information about it including the year (or range of years if unknown) that the equipment was built or released in.

I am about to head out so don't have time to post my bit of gear but will do so when I get home later today
Mark "Pockets" Clohesy
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Offline SeanB

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Re: Challenge: Show us a Photo of your oldest elcectronics
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2013, 10:08:51 pm »
Oldest you have in working order or not? Oldest electrical things I have in regular use are lamps dating from pre WWII, still working and in daily use in a bedside lamp. Electronics would probably be a signal generator about as old or older than me, still needs to be looked at though. Electronics would probably be a National Panasonic 4 channel control centre, dating mid 1970's, used as my audio switcher and PC sound system. Still mostly original aside from being recapped and with a new power lamp.
 

Offline hiddensoul

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Re: Challenge: Show us a Photo of your oldest elcectronics
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2013, 10:18:40 pm »
Oldest you have in working order or not? Oldest electrical things I have in regular use are lamps dating from pre WWII, still working and in daily use in a bedside lamp. Electronics would probably be a signal generator about as old or older than me, still needs to be looked at though. Electronics would probably be a National Panasonic 4 channel control centre, dating mid 1970's, used as my audio switcher and PC sound system. Still mostly original aside from being recapped and with a new power lamp.

Yes must be in working condition and appliances lamps fans etc are okay as well, anything that ran of electricity. It must be a complete item not just a component, photos are a must so we can drool over our keyboards  8)
Mark "Pockets" Clohesy
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Offline TerraHertz

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Re: Challenge: Show us a Photo of your oldest elcectronics
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2013, 05:41:05 am »
An Industrial Instruments RN-1 Wheatstone Bridge. No idea of the date of manufacture. It probably works, but the case needs some serious restoration work.

If we could stretch 'oldest electronics' to include technological items, on the right in the pic is what I'm pretty sure is an original Edison phonograph cylinder. No date on it either.
It says it runs for four minutes, at 160 revolutions per minute. But I have nothing to play it on. And would not put a needle near it even if I did.
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Offline d3javu

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Re: Challenge: Show us a Photo of your oldest elcectronics
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2013, 09:49:33 am »
That Wheatstone bridge belongs to your family (father/grandfather) or you got it from someone else? It looks pretty clean and even the instruction is still intact.  :clap:
 

Offline apelly

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Re: Challenge: Show us a Photo of your oldest elcectronics
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2013, 01:45:12 pm »
an original Edison phonograph cylinder.

But I have nothing to play it on. And would not put a needle near it even if I did.

I saw something a while ago (months, years?) where someone had imaged the surface of something similar and played it back with software. Very cool thing to own. How did you come by it?
I'd rather a Google clue, link, or some theory than "do this" (generally)
 

Online xrunner

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Re: Challenge: Show us a Photo of your oldest elcectronics
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2013, 02:18:42 pm »
WWII / 1944 Navy receiver. Still works great.





I want to try Prevagen memory support but I can't remember to buy it.
 

Offline SLJ

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Re: Challenge: Show us a Photo of your oldest elcectronics
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2013, 02:45:59 pm »
I don't know where to start so I'll start at my beginning.  Got this Crosley "50" one tube battery radio radio from 1924 given to me when I was 16.  Yes it works (with a long wire antenna and headphones).  It's what got me interested in early electronics.



I guess one of the oldest electronic related things I have in my collection (besides some early electric powered soldering irons) are these DC polarity testers from around 1905:



The Manhattan DC Polarity-Indicator was patented in 1905 and shows polarity in a DC circuit using a liquid in a glass tube that when current is passed through it, the liquid in the negative end turns red. It has a patent date stamped on it of Oct. 25, 1905. The earliest ad I have found for it was published in 1903. It was available in two models, a model 3220 for testing the polarity of low voltage DC and battery charging circuits and a model 3221 for testing 50-600 volt DC circuits. They use a liquid filled glass tube that is incased in a hard rubber type case with a connector on each end. Electrodes inside the glass tube attach to the connectors. The metal sleeve can be rotated to cover the glass windows when carried in your pocket. Manufactured by the Manhattan Electrical Supply Company (MESCO), Jersey City NJ.
 I tested one of my battery models. The liquid in the end with negative 25 volts DC attached turned dark red after only a few seconds.

I have hundreds of radios, tube/valve testers and meters, record players, etc. from the early 1900s in my collection so I will refrain from posting them here.  If you want you can browse through some of the photos and descriptions here starting with the test equipment:  www.StevenJohnson.com

 

Offline Frost

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Re: Challenge: Show us a Photo of your oldest elcectronics
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2013, 02:56:55 pm »
This is the oldest "electronic" item I own.
It is a Crookes Railway tube build by
Rudolf Pressler, scientific instruments and electrical vacuum tubes, Cursdorf

 

Offline mcinque

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Re: Challenge: Show us a Photo of your oldest elcectronics
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2013, 02:59:43 pm »
WWII / 1944 Navy receiver: awesome!  :-+
 

Offline SLJ

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Re: Challenge: Show us a Photo of your oldest elcectronics
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2013, 03:03:20 pm »
If we could stretch 'oldest electronics' to include technological items, on the right in the pic is what I'm pretty sure is an original Edison phonograph cylinder. No date on it either.  It says it runs for four minutes, at 160 revolutions per minute. But I have nothing to play it on. And would not put a needle near it even if I did.

The early cylinder players were mechanical so they really can't be considered "electronics".
Here is one of my working Edison's from 1906 that plays 2 minute cylinders:

I have lots of cylinders for it which I play frequently to demonstrate it.

Offline Frost

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Re: Challenge: Show us a Photo of your oldest elcectronics
« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2013, 03:17:14 pm »
Oh, an Edison wax cylinder phonograph  :-+
These things must be unbelievably expensive at their time of release.
 

Offline Kryoclasm

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Re: Challenge: Show us a Photo of your oldest elcectronics
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2013, 05:46:20 pm »
HEATHKIT Signal Generator model SG-8


Used for generating radio frequency sine wave from 160khz - 220Mhz.
This equipment is normally used to help align AM, FM and SW radios.

Linked is the Heathkit manual that was used to build these kits.

With my SG-8, I found inside a hand drawn schematic on Air Force stationary. Judging from the date this unit dates back to at least the early 1960's.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2013, 05:52:03 pm by Kryoclasm »
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Offline hiddensoul

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Re: Challenge: Show us a Photo of your oldest elcectronics
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2013, 11:11:13 pm »
Some really cool things so far  :-+

This is my oldest bit of kit is a straight morse key. It is of unknown brand but is a "Spark Gap" type for high voltage CW transmissions, it is also paired with an grounding block for antenna connections with built in spark gaps for grounding back EMF pulses from the antenna system when the key is released to stop the operator from being shocked or killed.

Here is the wiki link on spark gap transmitters. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spark-gap_transmitter

As to the age, I dont know about the grounding block but it has a bakerlite base so is more "modern" then the key. The key is handmade and has the stamp "VIC RMS TEL" stamped in the wood on one side and "R72"
I am guessing the R72 marking might mean Region 72, as for the marking VIC RMS TEL, after a few weeks of searching the webz I worked out what it meant.

From settlement of Australia in circa 1788 the mail system was handled by the Royal Mail Service as we were a British colony, thats the RMS bit, VIC  refers to one of two things either Queen Victoria or the state of Victoria in Australia, Victoria was settled in circa 1803 and the TEL marking refers to Telegraphy rather then Postal services.

Now this leads to the PMG (Post Master General) and its establishment in Australia in 1901 at the time of federation, this means that the Morse key pre-dates the formation of the PMG department at the time of federation making it older then 1901.

I bought the key and spark gap grounding block for AU$50 from an old bloke who had no idea where it came from just it had been in his family since he was a child, when I got it it had all been coated in clear lacquer that had yellowed and flaked, now as most of you here can appreciate functional equipment is better then bling so the first thing I did was completely dismantle all the metal components and soak them in thinners to remove said lacquer.

The key is brass with casting marks all over it and hand filing marks, the spark gap grounding block looks like nickel that went straight back together, however the key was a bit more of a challenge. I first had to rethread the adjustment screw for the spring tension and replace the spring as it had stretched and rusted being steel, then I oiled the armature with silicone lube.

Now I wanted to use the key but it was designed for high voltages (KVolts) and would not conduct a reliable low voltage of 12VDC through the pivot pin of the armature so I ran a small bit of solder braid from the armature back to the terminal through the base, also the knob was missing so after a few months scouring hardware stores I found a drawer knob that looked the part and I now have a fully functional straight key with a really nice movement, the contacts are all watch silver.  I have also mounted both to an aluminium plate with rubber feet to make it useable, now I just have to learn morse code  :-DD
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Offline hiddensoul

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Re: Challenge: Show us a Photo of your oldest elcectronics
« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2013, 11:14:44 pm »
Oh, an Edison wax cylinder phonograph  :-+
These things must be unbelievably expensive at their time of release.

Yes and this is what not to do to one the moral get someone who is comfortable on camera not a shy curator to display a rae item  :palm:
Mark "Pockets" Clohesy
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Offline SLJ

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Re: Challenge: Show us a Photo of your oldest elcectronics
« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2013, 12:04:46 am »
Oh, an Edison wax cylinder phonograph  :-+
These things must be unbelievably expensive at their time of release.

Yes and this is what not to do to one the moral get someone who is comfortable on camera not a shy curator to display a rae item  :palm:

Actually they are not that rare.  I see boxes of the older wax cylinders all the time and have quite a few of my own.  Most sell in the $4-$8 (US) range at swap meets.

Offline TerraHertz

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Re: Challenge: Show us a Photo of your oldest elcectronics
« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2013, 12:05:39 am »
That Wheatstone bridge belongs to your family (father/grandfather) or you got it from someone else? It looks pretty clean and even the instruction is still intact.  :clap:

No. I've had it a long time, but I vaguely recall I bought it on an Oz auction site based in Melbourne, that is now defunct.
The bridge seems to be in good condition, but the wooden case is f*cked. All the joints need re-gluing, the lid has a large strip broken off (but I have the strip), and the latch is missing a part and doesn't lock down.
The case is restorable, but isn't even on my todo list.
The instructions are readable, but only just. Someday when I dismantle the case to rebuild it, I can scan the instructions and photoshop a clean copy to use.

an original Edison phonograph cylinder.

But I have nothing to play it on. And would not put a needle near it even if I did.

I saw something a while ago (months, years?) where someone had imaged the surface of something similar and played it back with software. Very cool thing to own. How did you come by it?

Some friends of mine & I have a hobby of exploring unusual places. Which includes derelict buildings. In this case we were wandering through a soon to be demolished large building that had at one time been a movie production studio. Completely empty, apart from assorted old shelving. In a room labeled 'props', some of the shelving had gaps down the back. I always check such spots for treasure, and this time... two of these Edison cylinders had fallen down the back and been forgotten. One was smashed, this one was intact.

I've been wondering how brittle it might be. The smashed one suggested very brittle. That 'nervous museum curator' video says yes, very very brittle. I'll bear that in mind.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2013, 12:21:48 am by TerraHertz »
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Offline jancumps

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Re: Challenge: Show us a Photo of your oldest elcectronics
« Reply #17 on: December 31, 2013, 12:21:07 am »
My oldest self-made is an Oppermann power supply, 3 - 30V,  3A.
It is not as old as some others posted here, most likely 1983 or 84,
but it's the first thing I built myself for my lab and I had to save almost 9 months to be able to pay for it age 16.
Since then I scavenged some parts to serve other duty, but this year I ordered all missing parts so I can bring it back to life.

Oppermann was a quite famous kit supplier here back in the days. This has been my power supply throughout my electronics study.
I modded it at that time to add a led that lighted up when the electronic reset-able fuse kicked in.




 

Offline hiddensoul

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Re: Challenge: Show us a Photo of your oldest elcectronics
« Reply #18 on: December 31, 2013, 12:27:11 am »
Actually they are not that rare.  I see boxes of the older wax cylinders all the time and have quite a few of my own.  Most sell in the $4-$8 (US) range at swap meets.

Yes I remember reading about this one being dropped and it was an original recording of Edison's voice making it pretty rare
Mark "Pockets" Clohesy
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Offline SLJ

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Re: Challenge: Show us a Photo of your oldest elcectronics
« Reply #19 on: December 31, 2013, 12:44:31 am »
Actually they are not that rare.  I see boxes of the older wax cylinders all the time and have quite a few of my own.  Most sell in the $4-$8 (US) range at swap meets.

Yes I remember reading about this one being dropped and it was an original recording of Edison's voice making it pretty rare

I'd like to see the full video of that one.  :-DD

Offline TerraHertz

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Re: Challenge: Show us a Photo of your oldest elcectronics
« Reply #20 on: December 31, 2013, 04:29:17 am »
Yes I remember reading about this one being dropped and it was an original recording of Edison's voice making it pretty rare

In the video posted earlier he didn't actually drop it. He was holding it too tightly, and it shattered in his hands. Then the pieces dropped. So it's worse than just accidentally dropping it. He Hulk-smashed it.

Speaking of early stuff we've designed, I've been meaning to go through my old boxes and do some photo-writups. But here's one that isn't all that old, from 1995.

At that time I was working for Keycorp in Sydney. They had a rough design for a desktop LCD display to run from a PC VGA output. But hadn't been able to bring it to completion.

These days we take nice LCD screens for granted, but back then there were only smallish LCD panels with parallel digital drive interfaces, and PCs with analog VGA out. On the VGA connector there is no dot clock, so to resample the RGB video you have to regenerate the dot clock and blanking from the H & V syncs. This is not trivial.

Anyway, the pics are of Keycorp's desktop LCD screen, with standard VGA input, that they sold to banks as a teller terminal. The screen looks so ridiculously small now! I did the electronics implementation and most of the firmware. The bare PCBs in the photos are the 01 version, with a hacked area on the left where I was debugging a better VCO chip. With this product I didn't do the PCB layout, since Keycorp had a full time layout guy. I just did the schematic, BOM and paper layout design. Then sat with the PCB guy a bit to get the planes layout, grounding and RF decoupling right. There's another PCB in the stem of the stand, and another behind the panel.
Actually it was pretty horrible. There were no adjustment controls on it other the brightness & contrast. To adjust the image position and clock phasing, you had to plug a serial terminal into a barnacle on the cable, then type keys like U D L R etc to adjust the image. Setup was stored in a small eeprom.

There may have been similar products around at that time, but we were not aware of them.
So there you go. Possibly one of the first stand alone VGA LCD screens.
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Offline TerraHertz

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Re: Challenge: Show us a Photo of your oldest elcectronics
« Reply #21 on: December 31, 2013, 05:18:12 am »
Here's another 'early self constructed' thing. A logic probe I made at home sometime in my high school years. Don't have a record of exactly when. Probably around age 14, so that would be 1969 approximately.

The tip was from an old moving coil multimeter I'd had since childhood, but which had died. The aluminium tube was from some old antenna I'd found on the local tip. The front and back plastic bits are perspex, that I'd shaped by drilling a hole through the middle of a chunk, tightening a bolt in the hole, setting the bolt in the chuck of my drill held in a bench vice, then using a wood chisel to turn the perspex to shape. I notice the insulation between the circuit board and the inside of the metal tube is a bit of old punch-card; I've no idea where that came from. Possibly a week-long holiday programming course a few of us at my school (and others) went to, which was my first contact with real computers.

Ha ha, stupid shy geek that I was - a very nice & smart girl at that course gave me her phone number, and I was too timid to ever call her.

The wiring is some horrible stuff I must have found somewhere. At that time I'd never heard of wire wrap kynar or teflon wire.
Who remembers how amazing the first LEDs seemed when they came out?
Collecting old scopes, logic analyzers, and unfinished projects. http://everist.org
 

Offline hiddensoul

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Re: Challenge: Show us a Photo of your oldest elcectronics
« Reply #22 on: January 06, 2014, 08:27:58 am »
Here is an old volt meter (DC) that I picked up at a hamfest. It is from the readrite meter company and was in bits when I got it, I replaced the glass cleaned the case and front panel as it was grubby made a lead for the + terminal out of an old multimeter lead covered in a nylon sleeve from some para cord  to emulate the old cloth covered leads used in the day. The needle reads just under but I didn't want to try and straighten the needle in case it broke being very fine brass, but for quick voltage tests of say a car battery and if it is charging it works well. I like old things but not for show I have to be able to use them..

Mark "Pockets" Clohesy
I hack with the battery in..
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