These days of celebration of the Mac’s 30th anniversary really had a deep ‘going down memory lane’ effect on me. Coincidentally, I was doing some major cleaning in my studio, and I found some things worth scanning. To avoid posting just a bunch of photos and images, I’ll try to make a series of posts, separating my findings in a more coherent way.
First off, I found a great book I thought I had lost when I relocated: The Graphic Designer’s Basic Guide to the Macintosh, Written by Michael Meyerowitz and Sam Sanchez. The book was published in 1990, and it’s full of very nice photos of Macs and peripherals of the time (too bad the photos are black and white, and not colour). Instead of focusing on the various Mac models portrayed therein — nothing really new to the vintage Mac enthusiast — I thought I’d scan and publish here a few images of interesting peripherals (monitors, printers, etc.). I’m doing this for ‘educational’ purposes and I hope the copyright owner will consider this fair use of the images.
Apologies for the quality of the scans. The original photos weren’t much better. I also scanned the captions, which should be perfectly readable, but I’ve transcribed them anyway just in case. I’ve also added links with additional information where possible.
The Apple CD SC is a front-loading disk drive that reads information from specially formatted compact disks. One compact disk can hold an entire encyclopedia.
Apple monitors for the Macintosh II, IIx and IIcx. They include a 13-inch Apple Color RGB monitor, a 21-inch Apple two-page monochrome monitor, a 15-inch Macintosh portrait display monitor and a 12-inch monochrome monitor.
The Bernoulli Box is one of several cartridge systems that stores information on a removable disk.
Further reading: The Bernoulli Box A220H
Linotronic laser imagesetters produce professional-quality text, line art and halftones on film, paper, or press-ready plates. The Linotronic is one of several high-end machines that can be used to produce camera ready layouts.
Presentation Technologies’ Montage FR1 film recorder with optional TC1 camera back for creating overheads and instant prints of work created on the Macintosh.
The original Macintosh with mouse and keyboard. Add-ons included the ImageWriter dot matrix printer, external disk drive, numeric keyboard, a modem, and carrying case.
The QMS ColorScript 100 color laser printer. Although expensive, color laser printer technology is moving forward rapidly and prices are starting to drop.
A ScanMan hand-held scanner by Logitech for the Macintosh Plus, SE and II. Hand-held scanners are inexpensive, easy to use, and provide a quick way of scanning small pieces of artwork.
Watch an edition on scanners from the TV programme Computer Chronicles, made available by the Internet Archive. Originally broadcast in 1991. (30-minute video)
Radius two-page monitor for the Macintosh SE/30. The obvious advantage of this size monitor is its ability to display a double-page spread at actual size.
Further reading: Radius Full Page Display at 32by32.com
An inexpensive scanning option: Thunderscan replaces the printhead of the Apple ImageWriter with an electronic eye that reads the image as it rolls through the printer’s paper-feed mechanism.
Further reading: Andy Hertzfeld on the Thunderscan at Folklore.org
While I was looking for more vintage Italian Apple brochures and leaflets, I also found some printed material from other manufacturers — mostly leaflets, small booklets and mini-magazines printed exclusively for the tech trade fairs I used to attend. While most of such non-Apple material isn’t very striking, imaginative or otherwise memorable, I stumbled upon a few little gems lovers of vintage technology will surely appreciate…
The 10 Best Things about QuarkXPress 4.0 (Front) — A cardboard leaflet from 1997. Apologies for the evident crease across the middle: since the leaflet isn’t standard A4 format, I foolishly folded it when I stored it 15 years ago.
The 10 Best Things about QuarkXPress 4.0 (Back)
Iomega Zip 100 Drive (Front) — A leaflet from circa 1996.
Iomega Zip 100 Drive (Back)
Iomega 2 GB Jaz Drive — A leaflet from 1998.
Two last-minute Apple-related bonuses:
A generic Macintosh Italian ad. Judging by the type of PowerBook the guy is holding (a 190 or 5300), I’d say this ad is from 1995-1996. I didn’t remember having this among my stuff and I certainly don’t remember seeing it around much at the time. Translation: “Take it to the max. Get Macintosh. TODAY.”
Front cover of the 1996 Italian brochure “Masters of Media”. Quoting from this press release, Masters of Media was an initiative introduced at Seybold San Francisco 1995:
Perhaps the most important single place to visit at the show will be Apple’s Masters of Media Showcase, reportedly produced at a cost of more than $1 million and featuring several Seybold Hot Picks within its walls. It will include multiple vendors with real-world workflows (print, CD-ROM and the World Wide Web). Visitors will participate in authoring, editing and distributing content across all media. The theme will be integrated marketing based on a 1984 Macintosh commercial, including the making of a video, a magazine insert, a merchandising catalog, an in-store CD-ROM kiosk, customized direct mail, a newspaper, point-of-purchase displays and Web sites.
It has three primary components: Digital Brand Building; Cross-Media Authoring and Network Color, which will rely on ColorSync 2.0 as the universal translator so that color can be consistent across a desktop network.
Among the Hot Picks appearing in this Showcase but described below are the Canon ColorGear color-management system, the Agfa Chromapress digital press and the Indigo E-Print 1000 digital press.
Like many Apple printed advertisements, the tag line started on one page and ended on the next. Here the translated message is “Should we communicate more…” and turning the page you can read “…or better?” in big black letters set in Apple Garamond in the middle of a blank space.
And that’s all — for now at least. As I revisit my archives, I may find some other materials of this kind. If I find anything worth sharing, I’ll definitely scan it and publish it here.
I’m still doing some research for a couple of long articles I’ll hopefully publish next month, and I’m also in the process of consolidating and moving my small Mac magazines collection from the 1990s to a more accessible place, so that I can continue to offer some bits of Macintosh history through my ‘reprints’ of interesting excerpts.
In the meantime I break the silence with a link to a nice story involving a Macintosh 128K and an ImageWriter.
Sitting in the book arts lab I almost fell over as fellow docents carried in a beautiful Apple Macintosh 128k and sat it down in front of me.
Knowing I used to work for Apple the computer was brought in and placed before me partially in jest, it had been assumed that the machine probably didn’t work as it had been packed away in a box for who knows how long up back in some rafters.
Follow the link and read the story of how David managed to get the Mac and the printer (especially the printer) back to their feet. I really like this bit at the end:
The museum has always focused on “antique” printing methods, at 27 years old this machine is not nearly as old as our Gutenberg presses or Heidelberg windmills but indeed made and equally important milestone in printing history. Bringing this whole system back to life now ensures that this piece of the story is not lost and we can continue to teach its place in history.
Good job, David. Another system saved from the landfill.
Recently I’ve been perusing my photo archives trying to put together a series of snaps I took when I still lived alone in my flat near Milan, Italy. I stayed there from 2001 to 2005, and whenever I stumble upon some photos taken there, I’m always assaulted by a mix of good and bad memories from that personal era. The flat was in an old building (alas, old here just means old, not historic), and it had been my grandparents’ home for 20 years when I moved in, so a lot of furniture was already there. But I soon rearranged the space to fit my needs, and in the end that flat wasn’t so bad. In retrospective, I think that what I liked most of it was its size: two people could live there comfortably, and since I was alone I could take advantage of the space. What was my grandparents’ living-room, for instance, immediately became my studio. The little storeroom became essentially the place where I kept my vintage Macs and peripherals. And so on.
As I was unearthing some photos from my archives, I was pleasantly surprised in finding some pictures I didn’t remember too well. When I lived at the old flat, I rearranged my desks and changed my Mac setup a few times, and some of those photos faithfully portray those changes. I’ve selected a few shots I wanted to share. At the time I had a small Nikon Coolpix 885 that got damaged by water, so the quality of these shots isn’t that great. Still, fond memories.
2004 – March
2004 – October
All the Macs you see in this last photo are still in operation today, but since my home office here in Valencia is smaller, some of them are stashed away or in other rooms, and are summoned on a need-to-use basis. The only piece of hardware that didn’t survive, sadly, is the DuoDock – its power supply was fried during a bad thunderstorm. Too bad I can’t dock the Duo anymore: it was, indeed, a handy workstation.
Sometimes, looking back at more than 30 years of Apple history, I marvel at the amount of different peripherals the company has produced. So I easily forgot that Apple also manufactured a small plotter in 1984, the Apple Color Plotter. What triggered my memory was a message on the LEM Swap List by Daniel Sczygelski, who was selling one a few days ago. He also provided a small photo gallery for those interested in buying it. The picture above is taken from that gallery. I email David and asked him if he minds sending me more photos, he replied he would, but I haven’t heard from him yet. If he sends more pictures, I’ll add them to this post.
I don’t know if his Apple Color Plotter is still for sale. The relevant bit of his announcement was this:
[...] It is a 4 pen unit. I even have some pens, although I am not sure how good they are after all these years. I used some Public Domain Apple II BASIC software to make pretty color overheads back in my college teacher days. I will include the software (on 5.25-inch Apple II disk) if you like. I have no real idea of what it is worth, although I remember paying a fair amount for it back in the day. I am open to offers starting at $100 with free shipping to CONUS.
You can contact him at laserski at gmail dot com
Amazingly, there is still an old entry on the Apple Color Plotter in the Apple Knowledge Base, detailing its technical specs.
It’s been a difficult month, and I’m aware I’ve been neglecting this space. Not for lack of material, mind you, but for lack of time to sift through it and publish it here. A couple of weeks ago I was scanning some interesting photographs and articles from that big volume you can see in the picture (it’s a collection of all DOMUS Magazine issues from 1955 to 1959), and I realised I never took a picture of my scanning workstation.
It’s nothing particularly remarkable, but it has worked for me so far. I don’t scan much stuff, usually, so this ‘workstation’ is set up on a need-to-scan basis. The scanner is an old Canon CanoScan N656U purchased around 2002. Compared to current scanners, even entry-level ones, it’s a slow dog. But I always liked it for its reliability, for being thin and lightweight, and because it’s USB-powered, which means that I don’t have to deal with an additional power cable.
Being an old scanner, its drivers aren’t the most updated piece of software. I have used the CanoScan Toolbox software first natively under Mac OS 8.6, then under Mac OS 9, then under the Classic Environment, and sometimes under Mac OS X (via the Plug-in module installed in Photoshop CS), but I find myself using this setup more frequently — that is, firing up the good old iBook G3/466 SE FireWire and using the scanner software under Classic.
The moral is always the same: there’s no need to dump any technology if it still serves you well and keeps meeting your needs. Technology moves much faster than our needs, but often we tend to adjust our needs to technology’s pace. It may not be wrong, per se, especially if you can afford to waste money in such a ridiculous upgrade chase.
In other unrelated news, I had some problems with my email account in the past days, so if you’ve written me a message at my Compunabula account, chances are I haven’t received it. Please re-send it and accept my apologies for not getting back to you.
I think that the new Apple Magic Trackpad is really nice. Multi-touch aside, the idea is, of course, not new. Long-time Mac users who still spend some time in the Old World will probably remember this:
(Image taken from here.)
That is the ALPS GlidePoint, an ADB trackpad produced by ALPS Electric in the mid-1990s. I happen to have in my archives the 26 May 1995 issue of MacUser UK magazine, which features a short review of the product, written by Tom Calthrop. Here are some bits and more information about the GlidePoint.
The GlidePoint will look familiar to those who use a PowerBook 500 series trackpad. It is a small device that plugs into the ADB port like a mouse or trackball, but enables the cursor to follow the finger’s movement across the trackpad’s surface while the trackpad itself remains stationary. [...]
It measures 2.75 by 3.0 by 0.375 inches (69.8 by 76.2 by 9.5 mm) and works through a technique known as field distortion which uses two layers of electrical conductors arranged in a grid shape. When your finger touches the surface it distorts the electrical field at a point on the grid. The GlidePoint tracks your finger by following the changes in the electrical field across the grid. Even the smallest movement on the pad is translated to a precise cursor movement because the grid resolves at 400 dots per inch, which gives good control across both large and small monitors.
With the aid of the control panel you can rotate the GlidePoint to the most comfortable position. [...] Other features of the control panel include a ‘tapping’ check box which enables the user to tap the pad in the way you would click a mouse button, a sensitivity control which you can set for big or small monitors and a cursor speed selector. Both the two buttons situated on the bottom and one at the top are programmable, which means that you can set buttons for cut and paste or zoom in, zoom out, for instance.
The 1995 price was 62 pounds, and was considered a tad expensive.
By the way, this is not the only GlidePoint model ALPS manufactured. From what I understood by my little Web research, ‘GlidePoint’ was more like a product line name. You can see a different GlidePoint trackpad in this photo, for example (among the assorted vintage awesomeness). Lastly, ALPS Electric is still in business and still produces, among a slew of other products, input devices like keyboards and trackpads. The GlidePoint name has remained, although it looks like they’re not producing standalone trackpads like this one anymore, only the trackpad technology that gets integrated in laptop computers (see this page).
If you’ve found an ADB GlidePoint trackpad, or bought it second-hand, or someone gave it to you and you only have the hardware without the drivers, they can be found at the Mac Driver Museum.