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Talk about something which makes you feel old...

Talk about something which makes you feel old...

Talk about something which makes you feel old...

(OP)
I was just reading the June 9, 2011 issue of the Machine Design magazine (yes, they still publish a hardcopy version which is mailed gratis to members of the engineering community) and there was an article about how NIST, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (once known as the National Bureau of Standards), was doing some 'spring cleaning' and have come across many obscure and unknown insturments which they have posted pictures of, along with many easily identified artifacts, in what they are calling the 'NIST Digital Archives', subtitled: 'MUSEUM ARTIFACTS of the National Institute of Standards and Technology'.

What intrigued me was that they are asking for the public's help in identifying some of these mystery devices so I immediately checked out the website (link provided below) and was happily reading the descriptions of each item, most of which are of known origin and usage (and acknowledged as such), but a few are stubbornly odd and truly obscure as to what they were intended for.  But as I said, I was enjoying myself, being a museum addict (I have my own online museum, link provided in my signature below), until I encountered item NO. 23 in the list of 'NIST MUSEUM ARTIFACTS'.  Now hold on here, if this constitutes being an 'artifact' what does that say about all of us who KNOW exactly WHAT this item is and HOW to use them since these were part of OUR own tools of the trade not all the long ago (or at least I would like to think that it wasn't that long ago)?

Anyway, here's the link:

http://tinyurl.com/6xb7trq

And for those who would like a little hint as to what item 23 was; "To an engineer, a compass wasn't always something which kept you from getting lost."

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Design Solutions
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
http://www.siemens.com/plm
http://www.plmworld.com/museum/

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.
 

RE: Talk about something which makes you feel old...

Wood box with one dial on top.

It's obviously a variable something or other - Capacitance? Egg timer?

But why didn't they just open it up and see? I know I would.  

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com

 

RE: Talk about something which makes you feel old...

drafting set, are they kidding?

RE: Talk about something which makes you feel old...

Heck, I've got better stuff in my basement.

RE: Talk about something which makes you feel old...

I don't mind being a relic.  It means I'm that much closer to Heaven.  smile  Not that I want to push my time here though.

RE: Talk about something which makes you feel old...

Had to agree, saw the article somewhere else, and immediately thought, "box with dials on top - why don't they fiddle with it, hook up a voltmeter, something..."

RE: Talk about something which makes you feel old...

JohnRBaker,

   I did a construction project in my back yard a few years ago.  I discovered that the lumber size tables in my college mechanics of materials textbook are out of date.  

               JHG

RE: Talk about something which makes you feel old...

I've got a Pentium I, 60 MHz clock/16 MB RAM (complete with floating decimal point error)that should make this list.

That thing was a pariah when it was brand new!

RE: Talk about something which makes you feel old...

I can remember when I would have given my left #&! for that machine upgrade. Started out with a 286 with the math chip and 512K memory. I felt lucky to have a hard drive and RGB monitor. The secretaries had the word processing machines with 10 inch floppy disks, no hard drive at all and green monochrome. Even that was an upgrade from college where we used a dial up modem (dial the phone, place the phone handpiece on the modem and seal it good so it could hear the screeching) then ride your bike three blocks across campus to the computer building to drop off the punch cards or pick up a printout.

RE: Talk about something which makes you feel old...

Casio fx180p (with original batteries from 1980).

- Steve

LinkedIn
 

RE: Talk about something which makes you feel old...

(OP)
Hey, that 286 was better than what had to use in high school and college and the first few years working as a design engineer:



Note that when I bought mine back in the early 60's (while in high school) I got a metal one (exactly as shown in the image above) since I wanted it to last a lifetime (I keep it my desk drawer in case of power failure).  Note that that in nearly 50 years, it has not lost any any of it accuracy  winky smile

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Design Solutions
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
http://www.siemens.com/plm
http://www.plmworld.com/museum/

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.
 

RE: Talk about something which makes you feel old...

JohnRBaker, I have one of those from HS chemistry.  I was sure glad to use it, too, as she wouldn't allow calculators in class and I couldn't afford one anyway.

RE: Talk about something which makes you feel old...

I guess I am old too.  I have pretty much the exact same set as Item 23 except in mine the lining inside the case is red.
My first computer was a Turbo XT with not one but two 5.25 " floppies, 10 MHz clock speed, 640 KB RAM and an 8087 coprocessor.  I installed my own 20 MB hard disk.
Since that time I have developed spreadsheets that couldn't even fit on a 20 MB hard disk.
But regarding Item 23...
That was back in the days when the engineer seldom saw more than 3 drawing revisions between conceptual design and IFC.  To ask the designer for more revisions than that was tantamount to risking one's life.  Guess what?  The designs at the end of the day were just fine.  So much for the value added of CADD.

Regards,

SNORGY.

RE: Talk about something which makes you feel old...

I had a toy math game that looked like an owl, sort of like a calculator, as a kid.  About 10 years ago I opened the Smithsonian magazine and there it was as their newest artifact.  Great.

RE: Talk about something which makes you feel old...

I remember:
  As a college freshman - we HAD to take a slide rule course.  By the time I was a junior - I had a TI SR-50 that cost $250!!  About the same cost of a semester of college!!

  Atari with tape recorder for program and data storage
  TRS-80 with 8'' floppy disks
  IBM 1170
  IBM 360 and 370 that fit in a HUGH building
  Tape storage
  Punch cards
  Phones that had a dial
  Party lines as in phones - not as in fraternities.
  Phones that were really attached to the wall.  At least you       couldn't lose them
  Electric erasers
  Vellum and ink
  Drafting boards
  Architectural and engineering scales
  Survey chains - had to be able to "throw" in order to pass the course.
  Drawing triangles
  10 cps (character per second) modems.  We were in heaven when we got 30 cps!!
  Linotype machines - yes - I worked in a printing plant one summer and the operator made the most money because he controlled the flow of much of the plant.
  VW's without a gas gauge - my first car.  Had a one gallon backup tank.  A/C was all the windows OPEN
  Cars that had points and condenser.  The last three guys under 40 didn't even have a clue about what I was talking about.
  Appliances you could find parts for and actually fix.
  Cars you could fix yourself!!
  A real newspaper - even two a day - delivered
  Ice cube trays
  Coffee percolators
  Clothes lines
  A real "tire" swing
  A dictionary

I guess I could go on and on...... I wax nostalgic.
  

  
  
  

  
 

RE: Talk about something which makes you feel old...

Obviously we are behind the times

  A real newspaper - even two a day - delivered  Ice cube trays  Coffee percolators  Clothes lines  A dictionary

Well Ok, I use a french press as percolators are an invention of the devil.

Cheers

Greg Locock


New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies  http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?

RE: Talk about something which makes you feel old...

Does this mean I have to replace my 8-track car player?

I notice memory devices keep getting smaller. First the 8" floppy disk, then the 5.25", then the 3.5" floppy, and now the thumb drive.

Can we still buy the latest 45? Or is it now the latest thumb?

Or if we lose our hard drive, will we lose 10 years of photos?

RE: Talk about something which makes you feel old...

Quote (cranky108):

... Or if we lose our hard drive, will we lose 10 years of photos?  

    An excellent question.  My digital photos are archived onto high quality CDROMs.  At some point, I expect I will have to transfer these to some other quality archival media, and I will feel old when I get around to doing it.

    I have a scanner that digitizes 35mm slides and negatives.  I will have to take good care of this.  Digitizing all of my film will be a project for after I retire, if ever.
 

               JHG

RE: Talk about something which makes you feel old...

I believe someone told me that CDROM's only have about a 5 to 10 years life.

I also save photos onto CD's, but I also keep copies on my hard drive.

Funny thing is my new computers never seem compatible with some of my games. So I have several old computers just so I can play my older games. I would think backwards compatibility would be a nice feature on new operating systems, but apperently not.

RE: Talk about something which makes you feel old...

(OP)
I have nearly 50 years of photo's (31,000+ images) stored on a combination of DVD-ROMS (2 sets, one in my gun safe and the other set locked in my office file cabinet 21 miles away) and an external hard drive.  The DVD's are for archive backup and catastrophe protection, while the external (2TB eSATA) drive if for everyday access.  And before you ask, I have a database, complete with thumbnail images which I created myself using 'FileMaker Pro' which provides me with keyword searching using any number of fields, including dates (month and year), names, places, events, media type (35mm Slides, 35mm B&W Negatives, 35mm Color Negatives, APS, Digital, etc), cameras, etc.  A search of the entire library can be done in a matter of seconds on my Dual-CPU/Dual-Core G5 Mac Tower (it's still going strong and is great for digital photo work).

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Design Solutions
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
http://www.siemens.com/plm
http://www.plmworld.com/museum/

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.
 

RE: Talk about something which makes you feel old...

Quote:

Cars that had points and condenser.  The last three guys under 40 didn't even have a clue about what I was talking about.

My first car was a 1971 BMW 2002 that I paid $300 for in 1983 or 1984.

The gear on the distributor was a tad worn, so the points tended to bounce, and it ate condensers at an alarming rate.

The nice Bosch mechanical advance distributor was almost as much as I paid for the car, but condensers were cheap, so I had a few in the glovebox at all times.

When the engine started running poorly it was time to change the condenser.  Got so that I could do it in about 2 minutes.

RE: Talk about something which makes you feel old...

(OP)
Yea, and you kept a worn dime in your toolbox as it made the perfect gauge for setting the points.

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Design Solutions
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
http://www.siemens.com/plm
http://www.plmworld.com/museum/

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.
 

RE: Talk about something which makes you feel old...

I fear for the future as far as photos go.

When my grandparents (and their generation) died, they left behind loads of photographs, many of them annotated, many of them mounted in albums.

When my father died, my Mum and I knew he'd been filming, photographing and digitising like crazy during the last months of his life, but he left no instructions - the end came sooner than he had planned.  So we found a range of computer bits in amongst boxes of wires and strange plugs.  I have no idea where some of his archives are and whether they'll ever be compatible with the day's equipment if/when I find them.

Give me a box of dusty fading prints any day.

- Steve

LinkedIn
 

RE: Talk about something which makes you feel old...

(OP)
I sort of understand what you mean.  My last winters project (a year ago) was to go through a bunch of old negatives which I had found 10 years earlier when my mother died, but had not gotten around to sorting them out.  Now that I was caught-up with my photos (scanning the last of my slides and negatives) I decided to tackle the couple hundred negatives (these were all from roll-film cameras some 127 size as well as 620 and 120).  It was all B&W most taken probably by my mother and father, but some went way back to before the war (WWII).  In fact some went back to the 20's.  I found what I'm positive is a picture of MY father taken in 1923 when he was only 3 years old, being held by HIS father in front of my grandfather's car (you can see the date on license plates).  The nearly 90 year old negative was as good as new (properly developed, B&W negatives will last virtually forever, which unfortunately was rarely the case with color negatives or slides, with the possible exception of Kodachrome slides, which are also permanent, if proper care is taken).



Yep, you kind of wonder whether your great-grandchildren will be able to look at pictures of their grandfather holding their father 90 years after the digital image was captured.

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Design Solutions
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
http://www.siemens.com/plm
http://www.plmworld.com/museum/

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.
 

RE: Talk about something which makes you feel old...

JohnRBaker,

   I am an old movie buff.  I am recalling stuff I read about the old movies, but this should apply to commercial film.

   Old film stock was nitrate based.  It has a half life of forty years, and it is extremely inflammable.  90% of all the movies shot during the silent era are now gone forever, due to deterioration, people not caring, and some fires in studio vaults.  Note how the later Kodak black and white film is called Safety Film.

   Your film probably survived because it was stored in a cool, dark place by people who wanted it to survive.  

   My dad was a photographer for a Toronto newspaper.  He has a lot of film in 120 (2-1/4") format, and he has stuff in the large, newspaper camera format.  I think this is around 5"x3".  I do not have the camera in front of me.  My slide scanner cannot scan this stuff.  I may have to go out and find an enlarger.  

               JHG

RE: Talk about something which makes you feel old...

(OP)
You can get some pretty inexpensive scanners which will handle at least 120/620 size negatives.  I have a fairly new Epson 4490 flatbed scanner which has an option to scan film strips up to 3.25inch/80mm wide and it has worked great.  It cost me around $100 a couple of years ago.  For 35mm negatives and slides (as well as APS) I use a Canon Canoscan FS4000US film scanner (purchased 10 years ago for $900).  It scans up to 4000 dpi (actual hardware resolution), and will do 4 mounted slides, a strip of six 35mm negatives or an entire 25 frame APS cartridge in one shot.

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Design Solutions
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
http://www.siemens.com/plm
http://www.plmworld.com/museum/

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.
 

RE: Talk about something which makes you feel old...

5-level paper tape, Teletype printer, and "Jingle Bells" played with the bell on the Teletype at Christmastime.  

"Chad" before everybody knew what "chad" was (and not the guy on the corner with the stylishly colorful clothing)and 120 mA loops.

The lovely rhythms of a well-functioning unit.

old field guy

RE: Talk about something which makes you feel old...

On the other hand, haven't we all come across old photos where no one seemed to know who or what the photo was of. It maybe better that there is a shelf life, of maybe some 100 years or there abouts.

RE: Talk about something which makes you feel old...

Cranky, I guess the same logic applies to people as well. sad

RE: Talk about something which makes you feel old...

Nurseing homes are full of those people, no one seems to know who or what they were.

After age 80 most of us just won't be able to do much. But many of us will be able to think. And that is where we are of most value.

To all things there is a season.

But just yesterday I was looking at some photos of old power plants, and one of them looks very simular to what it looks like today. However most of them looked like... Well it's better that they were torn down.  

RE: Talk about something which makes you feel old...

As one of the "darn kids!" out there (25) I'm surprised that many things mentioned here I used at one point growing up. My parents had a rotary dial phone for a long time, I remember when 1 MB was an unthinkable amount of storage space, I remember looking at old photo albums and slides. Still, a lot of this stuff is foreign to me. Not useless or uninteresting, just unused by myself. But, I thankfully never used a slide rule (technically I use a manual flight calculator when I go flying, but that's not really the same).

As for the photo, you might find it interesting that the national archive folks (if I recall correctly) do not use digital preservation for the precise reason that they don't want to have to update the archives for new formats (or generally try to keep up with updating the technology). However, for personal photographs I think having them in a digital format does two things for preservation. First, it allows us to take MANY more photographs. I think is alone makes it better than chemical photographs. Secondly most photos are stored in common formats (jpeg has been around since the early 90s) and it's unlikely that future computers will be unable to open a .jpg .bmp .tif .gif or .png in the future as they don't require any special hardware or software, they are simply a decryption algorithm for the image format. Finally, with the advent of the internet and the influx of digital storage I predict that it wont be hard to store old pictures. One just merely has to make sure that they're hosted by a reliable service or are stored on a lasting form of digital storage (hard drives will always be able to be accessed, even if you have to take it to some place that would specialize in getting data off of out-dated computer hardware).

EIT with BS in Civil/Structural engineering.

RE: Talk about something which makes you feel old...

Oh, my bad, didn't see when the last post was. Didn't mean to revive a month old topic.

EIT with BS in Civil/Structural engineering.

RE: Talk about something which makes you feel old...

TehMighty Pirate,
its not your bad... lot of far older posts get revived.
If the thread hasn't been closed, its still open no matter what the interval between posting.

On the other hand, on another website with poorly organised posts, I waded in replying to a new post in the thread only to realise the thread was 7 years old.

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com

 

RE: Talk about something which makes you feel old...

I can't remember what I wanted to talk about.  Oh well...

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering

 

RE: Talk about something which makes you feel old...

I was reading that in the last year sales of records (as in black disks with groves in them) has incerased about 10% over the prior year.

RE: Talk about something which makes you feel old...

So this what happens when you get old?  You open old threads.

RE: Talk about something which makes you feel old...

(OP)
If coming up on 64 (my birthday is week-after-next) is "old", than I guess I'm guilty as charged thumbsup2

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Design Solutions
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
http://www.siemens.com/plm
http://www.plmworld.com/museum/

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.
 

RE: Talk about something which makes you feel old...

Maybe we need a list of old engineers......

I guess you are old when you know which side of the divide you are on in all those threads where some enthusiastic young engineer wants advice on how to deal with some "Senior Engineer" who is, in the opinion of the young guy, making senile mistakes.

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com

 

RE: Talk about something which makes you feel old...

I don't believe those young guys who want to replace equipment because it is old. One set we removed because of the concern of some of mecury, but it was still working at 75 years old.
So why the rush to replace them with microprocessors, which will doubtfully will last 20 years.

So jwm I resemble that remark.

RE: Talk about something which makes you feel old...

I'm kinda in between the old and the young. I'm damned if I'm going to use the term middle-aged though. Hah!

In my industry I'm one of relatively few because there's an entire generation almost completely missing from the power generation industry: a lot of bright young folks coming through the universities, and a rapidly dwindling number of guys with grey hair, but few in between those age groups.

I have seen protection relays mounted on slate switchboards which were installed when my grandfather was my age, and they still work perfectly. I shall wait and see how many of the new electronic gizmos make it to 20 years, never mind 80 years.
  

----------------------------------
  
If we learn from our mistakes I'm getting a great education!
 

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