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.

Pencil Sharpeners In Disguise As Antique Miniatures


As a kid, there was a land of wonders on our way home from school.  This Shan-gri-la was called "Elmwood Cleaners".  Not only was Emily the local Avon lady and dry cleaner magnate, her shop was filled with all kinds of knick knacks and toys.  It's where we could spend our pocket money on mini Rubik's Cubes and Wacky Wall-walkers.

Antiq_sharpen_03 When Mother's Day rolled around, there were some crappy gifts that even a kid could afford.  Among the "classiest" were these antique finished miniatures.  Not only were they models of gadgets of yesteryear, but they doubled as pencil sharpeners.  Um... handy, I guess.

I can't place when these are from, but from the typography on the boxes, I'd guess that they're from about  the 60's, but I still see these in gift shops from time to time today  They're made of cheap pig iron, and so don't survive falls very well.  I remember that each one featured at least one moving feature - the clock clicks as you move the hands around, Antiq_sharpen_02the camera's bellows open up (conveniently dumping out the shrapnel from the sharpener), etc.

Check out the antique projector to the right of a model of a more modern super 8 model.  Somewhere there were pencil sharpener craftsmen keeping up with the tech of the day.  Might there be a Betamax pencil sharpener out there (emptying the pencil shavings by ejecting the tape of course...)?

On some mother's day, I'm sure that my own mother stifled a grimace when her well-meaning son gave her an antique-finished model of a plow.  A plow that sharpens pencils, I still remind her...


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