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.

DIY: Almost Affordable Nixie Clocks

Ramsey Nixie Clocks

Before the world was flooded with cheap LED and LCD panels, there were Nixies -- neon-filled glass tubes. They usually contain ten cathodes in the shape of the numbers 0 through 9, and a wire mesh anode. When electricity is passed between one of the cathodes and the anode, the corresponding number shines with an endearing orangey-red glow. I think the only Nixies I've ever used in real life were on an ancient spectrum analyzer, which adds to the mystique for me.

There have been a number of Nixie clock projects in recent years, but most of them cost around $500 -- too much for most casual enthusiasts. Conveniently, Ramsey Electronics has stepped up to the plate with a pair of $170 clock kits. The wooden version features six IN14 Nixie tubes on a teak and maple base, while the aluminum model offers a half dozen IN12 tubes for a more modern look. If your electronics chops are a bit rusty, you can purchase either model factory assembled for an extra $40.

I find it amusing that both designs incorporate a low-cost PIC microcontroller as their brains, making these timepieces a wonderful example of vintage and modern technologies that complement each other perfectly.

Classic Nixie Tube Clocks [via The Red Ferret Journal]

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