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.

Ancient Bakelite Three Prong A.C. Adapter

Bakelite 3 to 2Some years ago, I started a project to convert all the power taps in my mother's house from 2 prong to grounded 3 prong outlets. I got halfway through before stopping. I had the sudden realization that the moment I finished installing 3 prong outlets, the U.S. would introduce a 4 prong outlet.

Grey 3 to 2 miniThat hasn't happened yet - you can thank me later. Like everyone else, when I need to plug a three prong appliance into a two prong socket I simply use one of those those grey adapter "cheater plugs" (colloquially called "3 to 2s" in the film trade). I'm pretty sure that there have been some of these little grey workhorses around the house for all of my life...

It never occurred to me that these adapters could look any different, but gosh - a Bakelite one! Who knew? Makes sense, really. Before the plastics that we know today, Bakelite was perfect for electrical applications since it was a safe insulator. Bakelite is mostly gone these days (though there are a few applications where it still excels, like car brake pads) as it was a very labor intensive process to create. Even this 3 to 2 adapter is fairly involved (it has a screw holding a masonite bottom and a whole bunch of little parts in place).

The collector crowd has boosted the value of practically anything made out of Bakelite. The most desirable objects are often old televisions and radios, but let's not forget the 3 to 2 adapter. All of those cool bakelite appliances gotta plug into something...

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