drb
logo
Feel-Good! | airplanes | animals | architecture | art | auto | cool ads | funny | food | futurism | gadgets | russia | japan
military | music | nature | photo | sci-fi | signs | space | sports | steampunk | technology | trains | travel | vintage | weird


Antique Digital Calculators & Other Steampunk Gear


"QUANTUM SHOT" #406(rev)
Link - article by Avi Abrams




Antique Digital Calculators: Interview with Andy Aaron

Andy Aaron makes extraordinary "adding machines", digital calculators so massive that some of them should come with their own set of wheels. They are strangely attractive in their own bluntly obsolete way, however, and fully functional. We asked Andy what inspired him to make such a design statement, and here's what he said:


(images credit: Andy Aaron)


"I grew up visiting New York's Canal Street, an amazing street bazaar of old electronics and junk technology which has long since given over to selling knockoff designer watches and bootleg DVDs. But in its heyday you would see dozens of geeky kids and engineer types who looked like Bernie Goetz poring over outdoor bins full of old tools, motors, radios, 8-track tape players, and the castoffs of the military-industrial complex.

One day as I was looking through a bin full of rusty old aircraft toggle switches I noticed a display of modern electronic calculators. I started thinking about the assumption of today's electronics, that smaller is better. There is a relentless drive to shrink everything, to make it thinner and lighter, but doing so almost always comes at the expense of ruggedness. While tiny plastic buttons have the advantage of fitting in your pocket, they aren't designed to last forever.

But here I was standing in the temple of a completely opposite notion. The aircraft toggle switches I was holding in my hand probably dated back to World War II, they might have been salvaged from a B-17 Flying Fortress for all I knew. Each one of them weighed more than an entire calculator. It was then that the idea for my Aaron Adding Machines was born.




The purpose of a tiny button on a miniature electronic calculator, or any button, is to connect two wires. But that function could just as easily be taken over by a great big, hulking, ancient, steel toggle switch the size of a golf ball. So I scooped up a few dozen of the toggle switches, bought and disassembled a digital calculator, and set about completely re-making it using bulky antique switches mounted in a beat-up old wooden box.




As I took the original calculator apart, I painstakingly followed the thin wires which were attached to each button and noted where they went. For example, the wires from the button labeled "7" button might go to a chip where it connected pin 13 to pin 21. I created a big map of all these connections, and later re-built the whole device using heavy copper wire and the toggle switches I bought on Canal Street, retaining the original chip and LED display. After a few months of work, it was done. I celebrated by using my new creation to balance my checkbook.




In the years since, I have made many more of what I would come to call Aaron Adding Machines. I turn out only about three of them a year because they take a long time to build and I have to scavenge all the components from flea markets, estate sales, and junk shops -- the bins on Canal Street are long gone.




Every "Aaron Adding Machine" functions perfectly and each one is different. I strive to have my pieces look like they were functional, almost mass-produced devices taken from some imaginary office of another era."

When asked if his work can be classified as steampunk, Andy replied: "I love steampunk, but I don't think my work quite falls within that label. Usually steampunk is quite fantastical, Jules-Verne-ish, and artistic. My stuff looks utilitarian, like an off-the-shelf product from a hundred years ago"

If you are interested in buying some of these beauties, you can email Andy for a quote.


You know you want this... Steampunk Gear Masterpieces

To complement your "wooden" calculator, check out and maybe acquire some of these items (each is a masterpiece of engineering and creativity):

To start you day properly, get the 'Nixie tubes" alarm clock (built by Georg Holderied) -


(images credit: Georg Holderied)


Want to know if there is a PROBLEM somewhere in your life? Patrick Kovacich made this one-of-a-kind "problem light" (taking further the idea of a smoke alarm; see his flickr set) -




(images credit: Patrick Kovacich)


iPod with Gears, created by Colin Thompson for Gelaskins:


(image credit Gela-Skins)


Webcam, a shiny version - more info:


(image credit: chinavasion)


Steampunk Watches are in a category of their own. There are many stylish "Victorian"-looking watches, but this one caught our fancy. It's also quite expensive at $59,000 -


(image credit: Zedomax)


These watches are made by Haruo Suekichi - read great interview with him here.


(image credit: Watchismo)


Some vintage cameras are "steampunk-ish" enough not to require any additional tinkering. This Le Coultre Compass Camera, for example, was made in the 1930s and manages to fit scores of features in the least possible space:


(images credit: Ignomini)


We already covered some Japanese case mods, and by now you've probably already heard about Richard Nagy (aka Datamancer) who makes probably the best steampunk laptops and keyboards on the planet:



(images credit: Richard Nagy)


The "writing machine" art, which looks (almost) like vintage laptop technology:


(image credit: Jack/Portal23)


Want some espresso? We really like this "La Pavoni 16 cup Romantica espresso machine" (top left image) and a wonderful brass coffee siphon (bottom left)... On the right is the ultimate in vintage coffee-making - "Cofe Maquina" from Uruguay - features more polished brass than all the previous devices combined:


(image credit: Raf-Munja)


Can't get enough of Steampunk Gear? Check out this Flickr pool.


(art by Leo and Diane Dillon)


CONTINUE TO "STUNNINGLY INTRICATE CURTA MECHANICAL CALCULATORS"! ->






RECENT ARTICLES:

Hellish Weather on Other Planets

Wild, Untamed, and Uncut

DRB Feel-Good Issue #33

Loads of cool and rare imagery

Medieval Suits of Armor

Metal Body Suits vs. Weapons of Medieval Destruction



"Dark Roasted Blend" - All Kinds of Weird and Wonderful Things, Discovered Daily!"

DRB is a top-ranked and respected source for the best in art, travel and fascinating technology, with a highly visual presentation. Our in-depth articles in many categories make DRB a highly visual online magazine, bringing you quality entertainment every time you open your "feed" reader or visit our site - About DRB

Connect with us and become part of DRB on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus; make sure to subscribe to our updates.



YOUR COMMENTS::


1 Comments:

Anonymous Bryan Menace said...

We've came so far lol

___  

Post a Comment

<< Home


SF ART & BOOK REVIEWS:
Don't miss: The Ultimate Guide to NEW SF&F Writers!
Fiction Reviews: Classic Cyberpunk: Extreme Fiction
Short Fiction Reviews: Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness" (with pics)
New Fiction Reviews: The Surreal Office




READ OTHER RECENT ARTICLES:


World's Strangest Theme Parks

Amusement to the (twisted) extremes!

Enchanting Victorian Fairy Tale Art

"Then world behind and home ahead..."

Adorable Pedal Cars

Collectable Pedal Vehicles Showcase


Japanese Arcades: Gundam Pods & Other Guilty Pleasures

These machines have gone up to the next level


Modernist Tallinn Architecture

Delicious blend of old and new!


Early Supercomputers: A Visual Overview

"Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons"


Futuristic Concept Cars of the 1970-80s

French, Italian & Japanese rare beauties


Epic 1970s French Space Comic Art

DRB Time-Slice: Valérian and Laureline


The Trees Are Escaping! The Abandoned Prison in French Guiana

"Great Escape" from the Devil's Island


Videophones from the Future Past

Skype? Smartphone? Google Hangouts?

The Best of DRB in 2014

Weird & Wonderful 2014 Overview


FULL ARCHIVES (with previews, fast loading):

Jan-Feb 2015 -- Nov-Dec 2014 -- Sep-Oct 2014 -- July-Aug 2014 --
June 2014 -- May 2014 -- April 2014 -- Feb-March 2014 --
January 2014 -- Oct-Dec 2013 -- September 2013 --
August 2013 -- July 2013 -- May-June 2013 -- April 2013 --
March 2013 -- February 2013 -- Dec-Jan 2013 --
November 2012 -- October 2012 -- September 2012 --
August 2012 -- July 2012 -- June 2012 -- May 2012 -- April 2012 --
March 2012 -- February 2012 -- Dec-Jan 2012 --
November 2011 -- October 2011 -- September 2011 --
August 2011 -- July 2011 -- June 2011 --
May 2011 -- April 2011 -- March 2011 --
February 2011 -- January 2011 -- December 2010 --
November 2010 -- October 2010 -- September 2010 --
August 2010 - July 2010 -- June 2010 --
May 2010 -- April 2010 -- March 2010 --
Winter 2009-2010 -- Oct-Nov 2009 -- September 2009 --
August 2009 -- June-July 2009 -- May 2009 --
April 2009 -- March 2009 -- February 2009 --
January 2009 -- December 2008 -- November 2008 --
October 2008 -- September 2008 -- August 2008 --
July 2008 -- June 2008 -- May 2008 --
April 2008 -- March 2008 -- February 2008 --
January 2008 -- Dec, 2007 -- November 2007 --
October 2007 -- September 2007 -- August 2007 --
July 2007 -- June 2007 -- May 2007 --
April 2007 -- March 2007 -- February 2007 --
January 2007 -- December 2006 -- November 2006 --
October 2006 -- Link Latte Issues -- Biscotti Issues



CATEGORIES:
Feel-Good! | airplanes | animals | architecture | art | auto | boats | books | cool ads | funny pics | famous | futurism | food
gadgets | health | history | humour | japan | internet | link latte | military | music | nature | photo | russia | steampunk
sci-fi & fantasy | signs | space | sports | technology | trains | travel | vintage | weird | abandoned


























Airplanes
Animals
Architecture
Art
Auto
Boats
Computers
Cool Ads
Extreme Weather
Food
Funny Pics
Futurism
Gadgets
History
Humour
Link Latte
Military
Music
Nature
Oops Accidents
Photography
Robots
Science
Science Fiction

Space
Sports
Technology
Trains
Travel
UE Abandoned
Vintage
Weird















Avi Abrams
Rachel Abrams
M. Christian
Simon Rose
Paul Schilperoord
Scott Seegert
Constantine vonHoffman


Send us your topic ideas, site suggestions, rants or sweet unpublished poetry. We love to hear from you.

Naples Audubon Homes For Sale -friendly.