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.

Heathkit's Woodgrain Pong Kit

That light gun is a thing of beauty.

In the 1970s, Heathkit produced a bewildering lineup of TV, hi-fi and computer kits. It was a time when kit-based home electronics still made sense. The components were well suited for hand assembly, and trading a few evenings in return for saving a few dollars was appealing to do it yourselfers.

The GD-1380 was Heathkit's answer to the video game craze that swept the nation in 1976. It incorporated the popular AY-3-8500 pong chip, used by dozens of manufacturers. The machine offered three variations of 2-player Pong, along with a single player practice mode and two shooting games. All in black and white, of course.

This would look at home right next to the CB radio.

Since it was targeted at technically savvy customers, the system didn't include an RF modulator to connect to a TV antenna input. Instead, it used separate component and audio outputs. Back then, this was practically unheard of. The only equipment with component input was expensive lab and broadcast gear. However, the company provided instructions for popping open various Heathkit TVs and attaching the component and audio cables to the right spots on the input board. This limited compatibility to Heathkit sets, but reduced the cost and complexity of the kit.

Today, this sort of hands-on fun is largely out of the question, thanks to tiny surface mount components and increasingly small and sophisticated digital designs.

Visit Pongmuseum.com for more great photos


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