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.

Hermes Military Field Typewriters

Hermes typewriter

This is the typewriter equivalent of a Humvee. Or, since it's Swiss, it's more likely the word processing version of a vintage army bike trailer. These $149 Hermes Model 3000-Media manual typewriters saw service with the Swiss Army, ensuring that a never-ending deluge of administrative orders were handled with, uhh, military precision.

Each of these 100% electricity-free beasts weighs about 7.5 kg and includes a hard case and instructions (E.g.: Insert paper. Press key with moderate force. Giggle with glee as letters magically appears on paper. Repeat. Wonder where all the paper went.) The Hermes was eventually replaced by a more modern German-made Triumph-Adler, but Deutsche Optik has 32 surplus units for sale. They cheerfully declare, "Ergonomically easy and comfortable to use. Mechanically and visually damned near perfect. What little dirt is left, won’t alter the function." I hope the keyboard includes Umlauts. That would be über Cööl for writing deranged emo poetry. 

Hermes Manual Portable Field Typewriter

Ahh. So you're one of those nosy readers who clicks the "more" link, huh? Or maybe you're an omnipotent feedreader addict. Fine. Here's a bonus post that your more impatient compatriots will miss...

You're gazing at a 1920s vintage Swiss telephone dialer, also offered by the fine folks at Deutsche Optik (yes, the company sounds exotic but it's actually American. Kinda like Yogen Früz, but without the calories). This is a fine example of modular telephony at its mechanical best, although the ad copy tries a bit too hard to convince us that it's indispensible: "Impressively made of dovetailed hardwood, with nickel-plated bronze contacts, with a dialer cover that slides out and can be slid into a retainer on the back side.  Damn, this unit will be just as fresh in 200 years as it is now!" Yeah. And about as useful as a keyboard without the computer.

Assuming you have a good old fashioned PSTN line that can handle pulse dialing, you could even use this thing today. Of course, it's not going to do you much good if you're a member of the Skype Generation.


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