Few people have heard of it, yet many consider John Blankenbaker's KENBAK-1 to be the first commercial personal computer.

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

Build An Organ - Radio Shack Style

Organ kit

It's interesting when you thumb through a family's photos from the 60's and 70's, and find an inordinate number depicting the folks gathered around the organ. That's outside my own family experience, but I've seen it often enough that it's not an uncommon image. I guess before there was a TV in every room, you might spend an evening around the electronic organ having a sing-along.

I'm surprised at how long the organ store stayed open in my local mall. I remember a vast shag carpeted showroom that steadfastly sold organs into the early 80s. Who was buying these relics back then? Of course when much more versatile synthesizers and low-priced Casio type keyboards hit the market, there just wasn't a place anymore for the ol' Kimball Swingster, was there? Maybe that's where the family sing-along went too...

If you want to recapture that retro organ spirit, but don't want to give up the floor space or your back muscles, maybe you can find one of these old Radio Shack Electronic Organ Kits. It's from their Science Fair Line from the 70s or so, so this organ is a sort of cousin to the 150-in-1 kits so many of us grew up with. Sharp eyed Retro Thingers may notice that the "keys" in this kit are the same morse code levers that Radio Shack has been packing into kits since forever. A dedicated evening of squinting at instructions and looping some wiring will get you a weedy sounding monophonic organ with built-in speaker.

I hope you're not interested in playing any sharps or flats - unless you're a Radio Shack Science Fair modder! I also hope you don't expect much more than a vague buzzing sound - though with all the circuitry right there out in the open, maybe you can add in a few bits and bobs of your own to get the much favored Hammond B3 sound. Uh huh... Or get really crazy and add MIDI - use it as a controller for your MeeBLIP synth! Don't forget that the kit builds into a nice wooden case that you can stain and finish to add that classy touch. Imagine this organ kit as the centerpiece of your living room when your family crowds around the little guy to sing hits like "Camptown Races" and "On Top Of Old Smokey" from the included booklet.

Those 60's living rooms had chord organs too

An organ made of clear Lucite
Another Radio Shack classic - the Minimus speaker


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