They ended their lives as museum pieces, aquariums, couches, and even at the bottom of the sea. But these are the ones that stay with us.
Flashes of prismatic color on Clive Sinclair’s tiny ZX Spectrum mark the original from its vast army of clones.
Photo: Paul Godden
A vector supercomputer designed by the legendary Seymour Cray, its distinctive cooling fountain gave it the nickname “Bubbles,” according to Wikipedia.
Photo: Cray Research
Designed in the 1960s, the control units for DEC’s PDP series of minicomputers came in bright colors like fuscia and cornflower blue.
Photo: Dave Fischer
A ruined mechanism, found strewn over the sea bed near Antikythera, took a century to puzzle out. A complex analog computer dating to about 100BC, it is on display at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.
Sinclair Research’s ZX80 brought home computing to the British public in 1980 at a low price: just £100. It had 1 kilobyte of RAM.
Photo: Rick Dickinson
Jon Ive’s award-winning Power Macintosh G4 Cube, a predessor to the popular Mac Mini, suffered from functional flaws and a high price. An example was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, but they’re now cheap enough on eBay.
Photo: Darius Capulet
Jeffrey Stephenson’s Ingraham’s design is based on a 1946 Stromberg Carlson model 1110H: “American black walnut shell clad to the aluminum body of a Silverstone LC06 mini-ITX case. The back panel is a piece of burl from the same stock”
Photo: Jeffrey Stephenson
Designed to compete with the Commodore 64, Amstrad’s CPC series was popular in Europe in the late 1980s. Like the thing itself, the graphics were colorful and blocky.
Photo: Laura Morgan
Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine tabulates polynomial functions. It was the immediate predecessor to his Analytical Engine, a mechanical computer left incomplete at his death in 1871.
Photo: Ulrich C
D-Wave Systems of British Columbia announced a prototype quantum computer in January, 2007. It can play Sudoku.