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.

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