Last November, Auction Team Breker of Cologne, Germany, made international news for selling an original 1976 Apple I computer. On 25 May, antique technology collectors will have another chance to buy one of the 6 remaining Apple 1 computers and a range of other rare devices.
On auction is the world’s first Intel 4004 microprocessor in a 1971 Busicom-141PF and the first major personal computer, the Altair 8800, which kick-started the PC revolution from the cover of Popular Electronics magazine in 1975.
Three hundred years before the birth of Steve Jobs and “Woz””, French physicist and philosopher Blaise Pascal was designing the first commercial mechanical calculator. The “”Pascaline”” of 1652 could add and subtract two numbers together: multiplication and division relied on the 9’s complements principal, still used in computers today. Because of its importance to mathematics, the 9 machines still in existence are all in museum archives.
In the late 18th century, poor roads and coach travel led English inventor James Watt to build his portable copying press – the first multiple-copying machine and the first patented instrument.
A century later, and on the other side of the English Channel, mechanical life was being designed to amuse and be admired. Luxury Parisian toy makers of La Belle √âpoque combined music, mechanics and magic in the creation of automata like Gustave Vichy’s “”Marchande des Masques,”” perhaps inspired by Monet’s portrait of his wife Camille as “”La Japonaise””. Functionality came to the fore again in the 20th Century with mechanical encrypting devices such as the iconic second world war Enigma with codes so complex its inventor claimed it would take a code-breaker, working day and night, 42,000 years to exhaust them all. Also included in the auction are historic telephones, antique typewriters, telegraphy and all manner of technology. Says company founder Uwe Breker: “”This sale is unique in presenting masterpieces from the spectrum of antique technology, from the 17th century to the 21st.””
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