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Edmund C. Berkeley- Brainiacs

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  • rkushnier
    Hi Guys, I was digging through my old stuff and came across a book,phamphlet, and circuit templates for Brainiacs by Edmund C. Berkeley, copyright 1959. In
    Message 1 of 7 , Dec 2, 2008
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      Hi Guys,

      I was digging through my old stuff and came across a book,phamphlet,
      and circuit templates for "Brainiacs" by Edmund C. Berkeley,
      copyright 1959. In case you haven't heard of this computer pioneer,
      check out:

      http://content.cdlib.org/view?
      docId=kt000023gz&chunk.id=bioghist-1.3.6&brand=oac

      This site is part of the Computer History Museum in California. The
      museum has the Berkeley archive.

      Way back in the Fifties, Berkeley was selling "Geniacs". These kits
      consisted of mechanical pegboards with circular multi-contact
      switches. The experimenter could wire together these switches to form
      everything from simple symbolic logic gates to a full blown Tic-Tac-
      Toe machine. It was alot of fun!

      The pegboards are long gone, but I still have the books. I'll put
      some photos on our website.

      Anyone out there old enough to remember the Geniac?

      Ron K
    • Evan Koblentz
      ... I only know about it thanks to Google ... However I and probably 50% of all MARCHins are quite aware of Edmund thanks to his book Giant Brains or Machines
      Message 2 of 7 , Dec 2, 2008
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        >>> Anyone out there old enough to remember the Geniac?

        I only know about it thanks to Google ... However I and probably 50% of all
        MARCHins are quite aware of Edmund thanks to his book "Giant Brains or
        Machines That Think".
      • B Degnan
        ... No, but I found a Superman comic with a reference to the real Braniac -
        Message 3 of 7 , Dec 3, 2008
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          rkushnier wrote:
          > Hi Guys,
          >
          > I was digging through my old stuff and came across a book,phamphlet,
          > and circuit templates for "Brainiacs" by Edmund C. Berkeley,
          > copyright 1959. In case you haven't heard of this computer pioneer,
          > check out:
          >
          > <snip>
          >
          > Anyone out there old enough to remember the Geniac?
          >
          > Ron K
          >
          >
          >
          No, but I found a Superman comic with a reference to the "real" Braniac -
          http://vintagecomputer.net/CISC367/Superman%20Feb%20No.%20167%20Brainiac%20Computer%20Reference.pdf
          Bill
        • Bob Grieb
          Ron,    You have solved a mystery that s been bugging me for a few years.  My parents gave me one of those Geniac kits when I was fairly young.  In the
          Message 4 of 7 , Dec 3, 2008
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            Ron,

               You have solved a mystery that's been bugging me for a few
            years.  My parents gave me one of those Geniac kits when I
            was fairly young.  In the 60's early to mid sixties.  I played with
            it some, but at the time, it was too complicated for me.  The only
            thing I have left are a ton of the #6 round head small bolts that
            were part of it.  I remember there being plans to build a circuit that
            could solve the fox, goose and grain problem, but I never built it.
            Recently I have been wondering what that kit was called, and how
            many were ever sold.  It had masonite discs with lots of holes in
            them, and little brass contacts that could be attached in a number
            of different ways to make contact with the round screw heads
            when the wheels were in certain positions.

                Bob Grieb

            --- On Tue, 12/2/08, rkushnier <rkushnier@...> wrote:
            From: rkushnier <rkushnier@...>
            Subject: [midatlanticretro] Edmund C. Berkeley- Brainiacs
            To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
            Date: Tuesday, December 2, 2008, 10:20 PM

            Hi Guys,

            I was digging through my old stuff and came across a book,phamphlet,
            and circuit templates for "Brainiacs" by Edmund C. Berkeley,
            copyright 1959. In case you haven't heard of this computer pioneer,
            check out:

            http://content. cdlib.org/ view?
            docId=kt000023gz& chunk.id= bioghist- 1.3.6&brand= oac

            This site is part of the Computer History Museum in California. The
            museum has the Berkeley archive.

            Way back in the Fifties, Berkeley was selling "Geniacs". These kits
            consisted of mechanical pegboards with circular multi-contact
            switches. The experimenter could wire together these switches to form
            everything from simple symbolic logic gates to a full blown Tic-Tac-
            Toe machine. It was alot of fun!

            The pegboards are long gone, but I still have the books. I'll put
            some photos on our website.

            Anyone out there old enough to remember the Geniac?

            Ron K


          • us21090
            Yeah, I had a Geniac. It was pretty cool, but a bit finicky. I learned how to tighten the nuts on the screws without wrapping up the wires as you turn. The
            Message 5 of 7 , Dec 3, 2008
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              Yeah, I had a Geniac. It was pretty cool, but a bit finicky. I
              learned how to tighten the nuts on the screws without wrapping up the
              wires as you turn. The real problem I had was the brass "tabs" on
              the selector wheels didn't consistently make contact with the screw
              heads on the base. So the circuit connections weren't reliable.

              I guess this was the late 60's and I was 10 or 11.

              But all in all it was cool. I wish I still had mine. I've found
              some manual scans on the net with circuit designs. Correct me if I'm
              wrong-- the Geniac had 6 disks and the Brainiac had 3, right?

              Scott

              --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, "rkushnier" <rkushnier@...>
              wrote:
              >
              > Hi Guys,
              >
              > I was digging through my old stuff and came across a book,phamphlet,
              > and circuit templates for "Brainiacs" by Edmund C. Berkeley,
              > copyright 1959. In case you haven't heard of this computer pioneer,
              > check out:
              >
              > http://content.cdlib.org/view?
              > docId=kt000023gz&chunk.id=bioghist-1.3.6&brand=oac
              >
              > This site is part of the Computer History Museum in California. The
              > museum has the Berkeley archive.
              >
              > Way back in the Fifties, Berkeley was selling "Geniacs". These kits
              > consisted of mechanical pegboards with circular multi-contact
              > switches. The experimenter could wire together these switches to form
              > everything from simple symbolic logic gates to a full blown Tic-Tac-
              > Toe machine. It was alot of fun!
              >
              > The pegboards are long gone, but I still have the books. I'll put
              > some photos on our website.
              >
              > Anyone out there old enough to remember the Geniac?
              >
              > Ron K
              >
            • Bob Grieb
              I remember having that problem with mine as well, so I must have at least tried to use it.  Can t really remember.   Bob ... From: us21090
              Message 6 of 7 , Dec 3, 2008
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                I remember having that problem with mine as well, so
                I must have at least tried to use it.  Can't really remember.

                  Bob

                --- On Wed, 12/3/08, us21090 <us21090@...> wrote:
                From: us21090 <us21090@...>
                Subject: [midatlanticretro] Re: Edmund C. Berkeley- Brainiacs
                To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
                Date: Wednesday, December 3, 2008, 11:13 AM

                Yeah, I had a Geniac. It was pretty cool, but a bit finicky. I
                learned how to tighten the nuts on the screws without wrapping up the
                wires as you turn. The real problem I had was the brass "tabs" on
                the selector wheels didn't consistently make contact with the screw
                heads on the base. So the circuit connections weren't reliable.

                I guess this was the late 60's and I was 10 or 11.

                But all in all it was cool. I wish I still had mine. I've found
                some manual scans on the net with circuit designs. Correct me if I'm
                wrong-- the Geniac had 6 disks and the Brainiac had 3, right?

                Scott

                --- In midatlanticretro@ yahoogroups. com, "rkushnier" <rkushnier@. ..>
                wrote:
                >
                > Hi Guys,
                >
                > I was digging through my old stuff and came across a book,phamphlet,
                > and circuit templates for "Brainiacs" by Edmund C. Berkeley,
                > copyright 1959. In case you haven't heard of this computer pioneer,
                > check out:
                >
                > http://content. cdlib.org/ view?
                > docId=kt000023gz& chunk.id= bioghist- 1.3.6&brand= oac
                >
                > This site is part of the Computer History Museum in California. The
                > museum has the Berkeley archive.
                >
                > Way back in the Fifties, Berkeley was selling "Geniacs". These kits
                > consisted of mechanical pegboards with circular multi-contact
                > switches. The experimenter could wire together these switches to form
                > everything from simple symbolic logic gates to a full blown Tic-Tac-
                > Toe machine. It was alot of fun!
                >
                > The pegboards are long gone, but I still have the books. I'll put
                > some photos on our website.
                >
                > Anyone out there old enough to remember the Geniac?
                >
                > Ron K
                >


              • rkushnier
                Glad to hear there is so much interest in Geniac. I ve posted a picture of my books at: http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/midatlanticretro/photos/view/d695?b=1
                Message 7 of 7 , Dec 4, 2008
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                  Glad to hear there is so much interest in Geniac. I've posted a
                  picture of my books at:

                  http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/midatlanticretro/photos/view/d695?b=1

                  Yea, the Geniac wasn't the most reliable machine in terms
                  of switch contacts. :-) It was a real challange to tighten
                  down the masonite wheels to just the right pressure to make all the
                  connections.

                  I can't confirm that the Brainiac had just three wheels.
                  The book seems to indicate some Brainiac experiments
                  used six wheels.

                  Fun and games!

                  Ron


                  > Yeah, I had a Geniac. It was pretty cool, but a bit finicky. I
                  > learned how to tighten the nuts on the screws without wrapping up
                  the
                  > wires as you turn. The real problem I had was the brass "tabs" on
                  > the selector wheels didn't consistently make contact with the screw
                  > heads on the base. So the circuit connections weren't reliable.
                  >
                  > I guess this was the late 60's and I was 10 or 11.
                  >
                  > But all in all it was cool. I wish I still had mine. I've found
                  > some manual scans on the net with circuit designs. Correct me if
                  I'm
                  > wrong-- the Geniac had 6 disks and the Brainiac had 3, right?
                  >
                  > Scott
                  >
                  > --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, "rkushnier" <rkushnier@>
                  > wrote:
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