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Author Topic: The little computer that nobody wanted  (Read 5100 times)

40hz

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The little computer that nobody wanted
« on: November 28, 2008, 06:35:49 PM »
Great little bit of PC history over at The Register website under Odds and Sods.

"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." - Georges Santayana

Link to article: http://www.theregist...ob_kitchen_computer/

Quote
Honeywell's Kitchen Computer remembered
The $62,550 machine no one bought

By Austin Modine

Posted in Odds and Sods, 27th November 2008 04:52 GMT


Let us first ponder: We've discussed several important computers in this erratically-released column. Many of these units, along their notable triumphs, come with a fair share of faults – be it a 23-pound frame on a supposedly portable PC, or the occasional electromagnetic pulse on start-up that destroys all storage tapes in the area. You can't make lemonade without some lemons.

But none, to this reporter's knowledge, sold a total of zero units. That's because hitting the big goose egg so squarely is actually rather difficult. Everyone has a mother, after all. A computer that no fool on Earth would purchase requires machinery so decadent and impractical, so awash up in the dream that super-science will simplify our lives, that it could only arrive in a Neiman-Marcus holiday catalog.

And so we explore the Honeywell Kitchen Computer. Made exclusively for the housewife that has everything but tangible proof her husband is a clueless jackass.
Honeywell H316 Pedestal AKA "Kitchen Computer"


kitchencomputer1.jpg

Released: 1969
Price: $10,600
CPU: 0.6MHz
Memory: 4KB, expandable to 16K
Display: Binary lights
Special Features: Built-in cutting board

Be sure to check out the Honeywell brochure for this beastie available as a PDF:

http://archive.compu...6.1965.102646157.pdf

Makes you realize just how far we have come since then.

Or maybe not! ;D
« Last Edit: November 28, 2008, 06:42:54 PM by 40hz »

mwb1100

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Re: The little computer that nobody wanted
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2008, 09:55:31 PM »
Quite funny - but I think it's a bit unfair to tar Honeywell as trying to pull off this goofy stunt - the computer was a legit Honeywell computer (that I imagine sold quite a few more than 0 units).

It was Neiman Marcus that tried to sell it as a "Kitchen Computer".  But then again, they're well known for selling a thing or two for an embarrassingly high price tag that no one in their right mind would consider buying; it's kind a of a trademark of theirs.

40hz

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Re: The little computer that nobody wanted
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2008, 12:44:22 AM »
Quite funny - but I think it's a bit unfair to tar Honeywell as trying to pull off this goofy stunt - the computer was a legit Honeywell computer (that I imagine sold quite a few more than 0 units).

You're probably correct. The Honeywell I remember was as stiff and serious as they come. You had to be if you wanted to coexist with IBM. IBM was known for being "very serious" about everything they did. And IBM set the tone for the entire industry back in those days.

But I can't help but wonder what they were thinking of when they came up with the pictured form factor. Why make it look like a podium? I think the answer to that would be a lot more interesting than the Neiman-Marcus "suggestion" for it.

Anybody know why they created this particular package design?

mwb1100

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Re: The little computer that nobody wanted
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2008, 04:22:38 AM »
Anybody know why they created this particular package design?

Dunno, but the sales brochure says, "pedestal, with desk-height controls, writing table, convenience, and futuristic styling" so it seems like they might have been looking to give it a "2001: A Space Odyssey" look.

zridling

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Re: The little computer that nobody wanted
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2008, 06:04:41 AM »
It does look like something from the movie 2001! Good eye, mwb1000.

40hz

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Re: The little computer that nobody wanted
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2008, 12:10:38 PM »
Personally, I think it looks something like the transporter room control panel in the original StarTrek series.

PriorityTransporterStationT1K.jpg

Have Barbie beam me up a bagel, Scotty! ;D
« Last Edit: November 29, 2008, 12:13:55 PM by 40hz »