Koss introduced these headphones over 40 years ago, and they remain affordable favorites to this day.

The Cold War Nixie Tube Clock That Never Was

Cold War Nixie Clock

Hank writes, "I recently completed an all-tube, zero solid state, dekatron and nixie tube clock that is built only with components that were available in 1959. It's not a reproduction, because it was never a product in the first place!

You don't see them much anymore, but in this clock Dekatron tubes are probably the most important components because they are the register elements that store and count the current time. Dekatron tubes were introduced the early 1950s and were often seen in particle counters for atomic research. They were also used in some lower speed base-10 computers, but faded out in around 1960 when solid state binary-based computing took over. 

It's fully documented on my website with schematics (hand-drafted of course), operation/service manual, a video, and hi-res photos."

Stunning interior design.

It took him a year and a half to build this brilliant one-of-a-kind chronometer. That's time well spent, if you ask us. 

See Hank's Cold War Clock page for more photos and details.

Science Fiction Thimbles - From The Future!

Dalek-and-max-thimbles-800Even around this house, these things are weird.

Like every kind of object in the world, there are collectors for thimbles. Of course, that crowd is going to create new collectibles for their own delight. If you asked me, I would have denied it, but I guess it makes a kind of sense that someone would create sci fi thimbles.

There's no year on the Dalek thimble. My guess would be the late 70s when the show was seeing a tremendous surge of interest thanks to Tom Baker's portrayal. The thimble is genuine ceramic, with a little gold trim on it. I could see it being a cherished little thing for someone's collection back then. The Dalek is slightly misshapen, as they often were in merchandise. They're such a weird shape, especially if you're barely attention.

The other thimble is even odder. It's just cheap cream-colored plastic. There's a very cheap-looking stamp of Max on the front, with "COKE" listed four times on the obverse. In red. In an unimaginative typewriter font. Clearly not an official product, instead clearly a cheap and odd cashing in on the late 80s fad. Which makes it all the more lovable.

I do love these two thimbles at the front of a shelf in my office. To me, they represent the breadth of sci-fi thimble making technology (as far as I know - I've got a lot more research to do). Not only can you show off your science fiction allegiances in your sewing basket, but you can tell everyone that you have your very own Dalek that helps keep all the little pricks away.

"Monkey Grip Glue" 16mm Color Kinescope

Bill Wyman was the bassist for the Rolling Stones, but found time for a solo effort. Here's a rare 16mm kinescope that a friend of mine just transferred ro video. It's a "Live" (lip-synched) performance of his song "Monkey Grip Glue". I don't know anything more about the clips, except that it looks like it's from a "Top Of The Pops" style show. Not only is this a different version of the clip that has been around on YouTube, but the color is unusually good considering the age of the film, and that color kinescoping didn't usually work all that well.

Ben Heck Gets A Mac Classic To Spill Its Guts

We've featured Ben Heckendorn here at Retro Thing before. He made a splash in the worlds of retro game console modding through his many clever projects to make pretty much any game system ever portable. he hasn't stopped since then, with one mad scientist-tastic project after another.

To keep up with this madman, electronics component purveyor Newark has given Ben his own weekly internet show. Every week he launches into some project or other - maybe a build, a tutorial, or a teardown like this one. While musing whether the world needs yet another Steve Jobs biopic, he sets his sights on cracking open a classic Mac, just to see what's inside. As he threatens to set loose the blue smoke, you'll see just how clever the design of the Mac was, even in the late 80s.

Would you refurb an old Mac to work like new, or would you use it as fodder to add some more modern electronics in there? What would you build?

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