Computer Museum news about computers, microcomputers, hobbyist, robotics, computing, museums, Bugbooks, Computers at Bugbook Historical Computer Museum, Floyd VA - the history makers present and historical.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

30 ton Vintage Computer collection moves to the "Computer Museum of America".

bugbook Computer Museum
Apple-1 computer 
It was a 45 years effort and a great hobby to build my "Bugbook Historical Microcomputer" collection. In February of this year (2016) it was all packed up and sent to the Computer Museum of America in Roswell, Georgia. A crew of 6 took  10 days to pack the 10,000 items. When the trucks were loaded one of them could not make it up the hill from the warehouse and I had to call a tow truck to help. Several tons had to be taken off that truck to keep it in the legal weight for the road. When the trucks weighted  for the trip they were loaded with more then 30 tons of microcomputer artifacts. 

Here is a news story about the shipment and moving the collection. "CLICK" 

David G Larsen
David Larsen

It is a real pleasure to have the collection now reside with a museum that is growing and can give good visibility our 45 year effort to build the collection. I am not sad to see the computer artifacts leave Floyd, Virginia and look forward to working with Lonnie Mimm's as a board member of his "Computer Museum of America".

 "by David Larsen" KK4WW Computer Collector / Historian 
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Saturday, March 26, 2016

Vintage Computers - The Datapoint 2200 & "Computer Terminal Corporation" - Gordon Peterson adds information

Up Date 3/26/16 
Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Datapoint 2200 computer
The Personal Computer Revolution started in San Antonio, Texas.

The story of how the first Intel 8008 microprocessor was designed from the logic of the Datapoint 2200 Terminal is not well known. This story has many parts and the information by Gordon Peterson is fascinating reading.

I received a very informative response from Gordon Peterson to my video about the "Computer Terminal Corporation"  (CTC) 2200 Terminal.  The famous radio personality Paul Harvey would say - here is the Rest of the story.  You can read Gordon's fascinating  reply below.  I purchased the book he recommend about the CTC story. WOW it is an exciting read. The CTC story and the people involved is really an important story about the creative effort & computer that started the Personal Computer Revolution and the first  8 bit microprocessor for Intel  ---- the 8008.  Here is my first blog about the Datapoint 2200 "CLICK"

Gordon worked for Datapoint for 9 years and had a inside view of the of personalities, creation of products and the rise & fall of the company.
Here is Gordon's response. 

The Datapoint 2200 was a revolutionary machine for a whole lot of reasons.  It was the first general-purpose computer designed for single-user, desktop use, and that looked more like a piece of office equipment than like a piece of exotic electronics.  I worked in Software Development / Advanced Product Development / R&D at Datapoint for more than 9 years, and it was a very rewarding time.   I designed and wrote the world's first commercially available LAN software there... the company sold over a billion dollars' worth of that product.  I also was the lead developer of the disk operating system there for several years.  A lot of us Datapoint folks are on the DatapointComputers Yahoogroup.  Also, there's a wonderful book about Datapoint's key role in the creation of personal computing... highly recommended.

Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Datapoint 1100
I was aware of "Computer Terminal Corporation" during my career teaching about instrumentation and computers at Virginia Tech however I seems to have missed a lot of the story. I am delighted to have had one of the Datapoint 2200 on display in my museum. I also have a Datapoint 1100 in the computer warehouse that is in nice condition.

 The entire Bugbook Computer Museum inventory has been moved to the "Computer Museum of America" in Roswell, Georgia. The move was completed in March of 2016. Any references to equipment in the "Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum" must read - as the Bugbook Computer Museum existed in January 2016 and earlier.

Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Book about Datapoint
"Datapoint - The lost story of the Texans Who Invented the Personal Computer Revolution" by Lamont Wood - ISBN 978-1-936449-36-1
(2010) 325 pages

If you are interested in the start of the microcomputer revolution and the history of the pioneers - this is a must read book.

More resource information:

Here is some great research about the first microprocessor - Ken Shirriff's Blog 

 Datapoint Wikipedia

Datapoint Group on Yahoo

David G Larsen
I  remember for many years I did not think I would find a CTC2200 and wanted to have one as it is one of the first 8 bit computers. During the late 80's I was able to acquire this fine example and a second one from the same source. These computers are now a part of the "Computer Museum of America" collection.  3/26/16

Friday, March 18, 2016

Vintage Computer Festival Southeast 4.0 - I will be attending April 2/3 2016 Roswell, Georgia

Lonnie Mimms , Apple pop up museum
Hope to see you at the VCFSE 4.0. I will be speaking about my 45 years as a collector of historical microcomputer artifacts. The presentation will  include information  about how I acquired the more then 10,000 items in my Bugbook Computer Museum collection including 4 original Apple-1 computers. The entire collection ( I am retaining 2 of my Apple-1 computers) has recently been moved to the Computer Museum of America in Roswell, GA. I will also speak about my years with the "Blacksburg Group" in the 70's & 80's and the pioneering work in the microcomputer revolution of the group. In addition to myself the "Blacksburg Group" included Jon Titus (Mark-8 designer), Chris Titus, and Peter Rony. The group got its start with the publication of the "BugBooks" 

Apple pop up museum
Photo from past VCFSE
More links to information about the VCFSE 4.0


Computer Museum of  America

Vintage Computer Federation 

Atlanta Historical Computing Society


one more link - Roswell Patch

David G Larsen
David Larsen
I am excited to be attending my first Vintage Computer Festival South East, sharing my computer collecting stories with fellow  Vintage computer peers. I doubt if I will be the oldest person there however I will be in good company with anyone older - I am 77 and my start with computers was 59 years ago in 1957. The Navy sent me to school in St. Paul, MN to learn about the big Remington Rand Univac computers. I have always been a hoarder and collector of old electronic devices however I claim 1971 as my start of collecting microcomputer memorabilia. 45 years ago in 1971 the first commercial microprocessor chip (4004) came to market. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Vintage Apple-1 computer purchase letter more than 20 years old found

I lost track of the original letter from Adam Schoolsky describing my purchase of his Apple-1 computer.  Adam received his Apple-1 40 years ago as a gift from Steve Wozniak (Woz). Adam was a friend of Woz and helped with the Zaltair prank at the first West Cost Computer Faire in 1977.

The move of the Bugbook Computer Museum vintage computer collection to the Computer Museum of America has given me an opportunity to look into the 40 plus cartons of papers and teaching material I packed up when retiring from my faculty position at Virginia Tech.  My last year of teaching "Instrumentation and Automation" was 1996.  I was on sabbatical leave for two more years doing various research projects and retired in 1998 with 31 years as a tenured faculty member.

It is hard for me think back when I actually started to collect vintage electronic items. The reality is I was collecting some interesting vintage electronic items even in my college days at Oregon State University.  Wow that was 1959 to 1963. However I always give the date of starting my serious collection as 1971 - the same year as the introduction of the first commercial microprocessor. I had been teaching Analog and Digital Electronics for 4 years at that time and the microprocessor changed my life big time just like many other people involved in electronic technology.

Click on photo to enlarge
David Larsen KK4WW
Adam Schoolsky Apple-1 letter

Apple-1 computer letter.

I have looked and wonderrd for years where this original letter from Adam Schoolsky was and I found it in with a box of teaching notes from a Digital Electronics class packed away for 20 years. Why and how it was in there? I don't know however I am glad to have and add it to the items with my original Schoolsky Apple-1 computer purchased in 1994.

Coming in April the Vintage Computer Fair SE  
 in Roswell, GA. I will be giving a little talk about my vintage computer collection - hope to see you there.

Bugbook Computer Museum PDP-8
David Larsen 1969
The items in storage from my teaching days at Virginia Tech (VT) are mostly old teaching notes, photo slides, overhead projector lecture transparencies,  old photographs, some really interesting letters and lot of memorabilia.

Here is photo of me teaching computer interfacing using a PDP8-L minicomputer and overhead projector in about 1969. I think this very computer and teletype is the one I shipped to the Computer Museum of America.  Most old equipment was just tossed into the junk heap when it was well past being useful to anyone and I did a little dumpster diving and salvaged the system.

Just reminiscing in looking at this photo reminds me  how much technology has changed. I was using an overhead projector and now we would use a projector and power point presentation that could include video and audio and even a live feed from the internet. WOW it would have been fun to teach using current technology however we did just fine with what was available at that time.

Bugbook Computer museum
David Larsen's VT office packed 20 years ago

This is just 25 of the 45 boxes from my old VT office packed 20 years ago. How could I have so much stuff in one office. I guess I was lucky to have a big office with lots of book shelves. Much of the material in these boxes is teaching notes,letters - (we did not have email for most of my tenure at VT), books and reference material and was stored in my teaching laboratory and not actually in my office.

So far I have only looked though 6 boxes and the best surprise so far is the Adam Schoolsky letter. I know there are other jewels in these boxes. I report more later.

David Larsen bugbook
Schoolsky Apple-1 computer

Here is another original hand written letter shipped with the Schoolsky Apple-1 computer.

Adam Schoolsky also gave me a mint copy of the 40 page  1977 West Coast Computer Faire program. Very interesting reading "View Click" 
- look at the price of memory and other computer items in 1977.

David larsen KK4WW
Bugbooks 1 & 2

One more nice find in the office box's was this set of first edition Bugbooks 1 & 2. We self published these and had them printed in our hometown of Blackburg, Virginia 1974.

This is where the name for my museum came from - these early Bugbooks.

David G Larsen
David Larsen
I will continue to look though all 45 box's and making an inventory - then I will know if any item worth while is in one of the box's.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Vintage computers - The Hunt for Apple-1 computers - 2/29/16

(Updated 2/29/16) I am ask many times how did you build your computer collection.  A real help for
Apple 1 Computer
the microcomputer memorabilia collection was - I was teaching  digital electronics and computer automation & instrumentation before the first Intel microprocessor was introduced in 1971.  My period of teaching at Virginia Tech was 1967 to 1998.  A good part of the answer is "I was at the right place at the right time".  The majority of my collection was acquired  from 1975 to 1995. During that time the computers were generally of little or no value and the owners just dumped them in the trash. Many were happy to find a crazy guy like me that actually wanted to keep an old computer.

I advertised in various publications for most of the 45 years . The one that brought in the most calls was a small classified ad in "Computer Shopper". The ad was very simple and looked like this - Wanted pre1980 microcomputers for historical collection". Over the years I recieved 1000's of calls or offers for microcomputers. I continue to run an ad in the Ham Radio magazine "QST"


Here are a few of the responses with offers for Apple-1 computers.

Craig Solomonson offered me this Apple-1 computer July 1996 for his price of less then $40,000.

WOW I sure missed a computer that made the big time - Auction at Breker Nov 28, 2010 - Yes, Italian collector Marco Boglione paid $212,000 for a 34-year-old Apple-1

Click on photos to enlarge
Craig Solomonson  Apple 1
Craig Solomonson  Apple 1
The information below is from the Apple-1 Registry 
NTI logo. This computer was first Frank Anderson. 
Next it was  purchased from Frank Anderson, an electronic dealer in Great Falls, Montana by Craig Solomonson for MECC.  Craig reports that this computer was sold by Jobs and shipped from his parents address. Woz seemed a bit confused when Craig showed him the invoice and asked about it. He said "Not sold by us, although Job's may have sold it without telling me." 
  • Sold by Craig to Jesse Sackman in California
  • $50,000 unit sold in Ebay auction 320447681957, late in 2009
  • This is the unit auctioned by Christies in London for 133,250 pounds in November of 2010 to Italian businessman and private collector Marco Boglione


During the 80/90's I was offered about 10 Apple-1 computers and managed to purchase 4 of them. One offer was for me trade a new automobile van for his computer. This was a reasonable offer but I declined the purchase at the time as too complex. I heard later that some other collector made this trade.


Adam Schoolsky letter
Schoolsky Apple 1
Schoolsky Apple1 Computer
Schoolsky Apple-1 Computer
I did purchase this Apple-1 Microcomputer from Adam Schoolsky & you can see in the letter many other nice items as well. Here is a video about this computer in our "Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum" 'CLICK'

Schoolsky's Apple-1  came in a box like these shown in Job's bedroom. The box has Woz written on the top. I will never know but Schoolsky's computer may be in this photo.


This computer has been made fully operational by Win Heagy in late 2015 and has been passed on to the Lonnie Mimms collection at the Computer Museum of America.
Click on photos to enlarge
Forest Duston Computer letter
Forest Duston phone log

 Apple 1 computer
Forest Duston Apple-1 computer 
I  keep a  phone log of all the calls about computers that are available. The photo to the left is copy of call from Forest and he told me he had 2 Apple 1 computers. I was skeptical about that however over the next year I found it was true and purchased both of them. It was fortunate for me and he got his price. 


Click image to enlarge
Snyder Apple 1 computer
Snyder Apple-1 computer 

This Apple-1 computer offered to me by the law firm for $15,000 was a great offer. Unfortunately at that time I was not able to make  a deal.  I don't know who  ended up with Apple-1. The computer had an interesting history and original letter from Steve Jobs with it.  Even lawyers seemed find my little classified advertising.  


apple 1 computer
Apple 1 purchase from John Burch
Here is a video of  Apple-1 I purchased  from John Burch in the mid 90's. It was a simple deal - he told me most of the collectors wanted him to just give the computer to them. He gave me a price and we had a deal.

Video of this computer has had nearly 250,000 views during the past 5 years "CLICK here to see video"

Click on photos to enlarge
Apple 1 computer
David Larsen working on Apple 1

This is one of the finest examples of an Apple-1 computer and in January 2016 was passed on to the Lonnie Mimms collection at the Computer Museum of America in Roswell, Georgia.

Here I am working on the "John Burch"  Apple-1 computer.

Apple 1 computer
Apple 1 computer documentaion

I received lots of great original documentation with this computer.

Here is a little tidbit about Steve Jobs house and where and who designed the Apple-1 & 2 .
(Steve Wozniak designed them independent on his own)

My 45 years of collecting effort resulting of an inventory of more then 10,000 microcomputer memorabilia items in moving to Lonnie Mimms Computer Museum of America. All the items have been packed. Packing took 10 days with a crew of 3 to 6 and as I write this update the last 500 or more packed boxes will leave the Bugbook Computer Museum warehouse today.  2/29/16
David G Larsen
David Larsen
The hunt for computers during the past 45 years has been fun. Now my family and friends ask - What are you going to do with them. We have inventored more then 10,000 items in our collection and still have more to add to the data base - lots of computers and memorabilia. I have set up a small museum and hope to have an endowed museum here in Floyd Va - place  the computers with the other museums or with serious collectors before I move to Heaven. I am 75 now and only have 25 more years to go - Any ideas for my collection - give me a call.
I am 77+ as I update this blog and happy to say I have found a wonderful home for the 45 years of collecting. It is a delight to be working with Lonnie Mimms and his Computer Museum of America in Roswell, Georgia. Dave

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Apple-1 computer delivered to the Computer Museum of America 2/16/16

Bugbook Computer Museum
John Burch - Apple-1
My wife Gaynell and I visited Lonnie Mimms at his Computer Museum of America in Roswell, Georgia during the weekend of January 15/16 2016.  Lonnie and I made the final arrangements for the transfer of my entire vintage computer collection to his museum. We did take a few computers with us in the car and one was the John Burch Apple-1. I purchased this computer from John Burch about 22 years ago. Mr. Burch told me he had purchased his Apple-1 computer from Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs out of the trunk of their car at a computer meeting. I had no reason to doubt this story, however in later years when I tried to contact him for more details about how he purchased the computer he had passed away. This is a good lesson "Do it NOW" unfortunately these first time vintage computer owners are getting old and passing on. This is a good reason for me to pass on my collection while I can still give information about the collection and how I acquired all these vintage machines.

Bugbook Computer Museum
John Burch Apple-1 Computer 

Video of delivery to Lonnie Mimms - The John Burch Apple-1 "CLICK"

Bugbook Museum
L-R Lonnie Mimms - David Larsen

Video of all the computers delivered to the Computer Museum of America during first visit January 16, 2016. "CLICK"

If you have not visited the Computer Museum of America and the Apple Popup museum here is a very good reason to visit Roswell, Georgia.

Vintage Computer Festival Southeast April 2/3, 2016. 
Take a look "CLICK"

Bugbook computer Museum
Apple Popup museum 
Lonnie gave Gaynell and I a wonderful and educational tour of his Apple Popup museum. This was our first visit and the displays are very impressive and informative.

Steve Wozniak (Woz) had the spark with his Apple-1 computer to excite Steve Jobs to start the Apple Company with Woz and Ron Wayne.  Very few people know for the first few days of the Apple partnership Ron Wayne owned 10 % of the Apple partnership. Ron dropped out after the first week of the partnership.

Bugbook computer Museum
Apple Popup museum 

The story of Steve Jobs is most interesting and the Popup museum covers his involvement developing the Apple company with many colorful and interesting displays.

Bugbook computer Museum
Apple Popup museum 

Lonnie displays many good inspirational quotes and messages in the museum.

David's wife Gaynell Larsen comments about first visit to Computer Museum of America - Video "CLICK"

David G Larsen
David G Larsen
Our visit with Lonnie Mimms and his wife Karin in Roswell, Georgia was just wonderful. I am looking forward to working with Lonnie as a board member of his Computer Museum of America. 
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Thursday, February 11, 2016

First day packing for move to Computer Museum of America

The first day of packing for the move of  the microcomputer historical collection from our Bugbook Computer Museum to the Computer Museum of America (CMA)  did not include any computers.  Lonnie Mimms curator of the CMA will be developing a large electronic technology and education center in 2017 and it will include all areas of electronics.  Lonnie wanted all our vintage electronics so we are sending much more then the computer collection. Mostly just old radio items today and none of this is on the regular electronic database for the museum.  I guess I am a hoarder of old electronic items and for sure being a ham radio operator 61 years the vintage radio stuff just kept accumulating.

Update 2/16/16 The snow and ice delayed the packing - we did get in two days and will start again on Wednesday 2/17/16 and hope to have it all done by Tuseday2/22/16- I will keep you posted.

Short slide show of the days events "CLICK" 

This is just a few of the old radio items - I had them on display many years in the warehouse for my own interest .  There are a lot more ham radio items in the warehouse and at the museum. I have not really counted the radio and old electronic items but must be several hundred. A few nice old Soviet military radios in the collection.

All the items are wrapped in bubble wrap before going into the shipping box.

Most boxes have multiple items.

Toward the end of the first day the packing crew made it close to the computers in the warehouse but still lots of none computer items to pack.

There are many thousands of computer memorabilia items to pack so it will be 3 or 4 more days of packing.

The crew wanted to use paper to wrap some items however  I insisted that every piece had to be wrapped in bubble wrap.

They used up the whole supply of bubble wrap available to them and had to order a large supply.  This will take a couple of days so no packing Wednesday or Thursday. They should be back Friday with a truck load of bubble wrap.

This photograph and the ones below will be of interest mostly to ham radio operators. Just a few of the old radios Heathkit, Swan, Ten-Tec.

The old Swan radios were very popular in the 60's and 70's.

This is interesting SWR/Watt meter and dummy load. I seem to love these old items.

These Hallicrafters  are late 40's and 50's. I have radios going back to pre 1920.

1950 or so Harvey Wells hf bandmaster AM transmitter.

Great end of the day. It was cold as I do not have heat in the warehouse. I did put in 5 electric heaters and it helped a little. The outside temperature today was about 30 degrees - Cooold. The hot coffee the middle of the afternoon was most welcome by the crew.

David G Larsen
David G Larsen
This was a good start and I expect 3 or 4 more days of packing with a 5 man crew. I only wish it was warmer in the warehouse. Maybe the cold will help the crew work faster. I did notice today the coats all came off even thought it was about 35 degrees inside. 
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