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|19 Jan 18||Colette Heirendt and Francis Massen visited the Bonami Computermuseum in Zwolle (Netherlands) the 19th Jan. 2018. This is a rather new museum, still in development, which extends over a huge 3000m2 in a former warehouse. It has many personal computers, an enormous collection of games and quite a lot of mini-computers (even 4 analog ones). The only structuring feature is a time-line, so that many places in the exhibits are still empty, waiting for an occupation. A small crew of 5 people manages the museum, which is quite an achievement. I will present several albums, starting here with the first one covering the PONGs, MISCELLANEOUS, ...|
|11 Jan 18||The Computarium bought a nice Z88 notebook. This was the last computer designed by Clive Sinclair. Having sold Sinclair Research to Amstrad, this computer was marketed by Sinclair's new company Cambridge Computers, and manufactured in Scotland by SCI UK Ltd. Based on a Z80, it's OS is called OZ. Software included is Pipedream (wordprocessor & database &spreadsheet, comparable to Lotus Symphony) and the full BBC BASIC (from the BBC line of microcomputers). All software in ROM (and/or EPROM, 3 slots available). Communication with other computers by serial cable. The computer works fine.|
|13 Dec 17||I was able to auction a former DDR (= GDR = German Democratic Republic) KC 85/3 computer, which is in mint condition. KC means "KleinComputer", it is a Z80 clone 8 bit machine. The DDR computers were expensive, and virtually unaffordable to the normal citizen. This item has an inventory label "Bez. Akademie Ges. Wes. Potsdam" (admire the German abbreviations!) which means "Bezirksakademie des Gesundheitswesens Potsdam", a former technical school for medical personal (as nurses, midwifes, technical assistants...). See album.|
|30 Nov 17||
Quite a lot of new material:
1. a NIXDORF PC02 luggable computer from 1985, weight 17 kg, nice amber screen. (see picture), auctioned at eBAY. Inbuilt working thermal printer. One RAM and HDC error on booting, will be checked asap.
2. two Macintosh LC and one Macintosh IIsx (all have bad switching power supplies, which will be replaced), and one Macintosh monochrome display, donated by Robert Massen. Many thanks!
|18 Nov 17||A group of 20 former students of the LCD (the "promotion 1991", mathematical section B) visited the LCD and the Computarium. Jean-Claude Krack and Francis Massen were the guides (photo Francis Kaell).|
Our contributor Théo Jacoby from the "Croisé et Fils" insurance
company in Diekirch donated a rare RUF electronic booking machine, probably what
was called the "RUF Visible Record Computer" (see
here). The machine was built by the HOHNER
company in Trossingen (famous manufacturer of musical instruments, mostly
harmonicas) in 1970/1971. Input/output is by a modified IBM "golf ball"
typewriter. The picture shows the real heavy main desk; the computer and
power supply are in a separate cabinet not shown. This machine seems to be
very similar to models sold under the Nixdorf and Sumlock brand names. RUF
Buchhaltung was based in Zürich, Switzerland, and had a division in
I am not sure if the equipment can be brought back to life, but it is a real decorative piece of collection. Many thanks!
|05 Nov 17||The Computarium acquired a very rare Husky Hunter 16 hand-help computer, probably from 1991. This UK-built ruggedized computer was used by the military and outdoor people. It runs on 4 AA cells and has DOS 3.30 in ROM. See album.|
|28 Oct 2017||
Quite a lot of news:
1. Carlo Schoup (+2011) donated
through his sister a Mercedes-Euklid M22 electromechanical calculator. The
machine is blocked, and is currently in repair.
3. A group of blind people, several working as computer programmers, visited the Computarium. Claude Bauman, Claude Boes, Jean-Claude Krack and Francis Massen made this not so common guiding, where we tried to present as much as possible machines to touch and hear. We all were surprised how fast the blind people became familiar with the unknown keyboards of mechanical calculators. At the end of the visit two of the members showed us how they operate for their work a normal laptop (Mac and Windows), without any Braille keyboard, relying only on the built-in spoken reader as a guide (the picture shows using a Mac). Absolutely baffling! See album.
|20 Oct 17||
I auctioned two real gems: a rare Bondwell B12 luggable
form 1984, running CP/M 2.2, and a still rarer ( and still heavier: total
about 50 kg!) Siemens 6.610 "Mittlere Daten Technik (MDT)" computer with
three SSSD 8" floppies (2 of them in the expansion box below the beautiful
keyboard), a very obscure BS1 operating system (variant of CP/M), Cobol and
professional not-quite-standard Basic.
Both systems are in mint conditions, the Siemens needs some brain work to understand it's OS and other software, as there are no manuals to be found. If you know more about this Siemens machine, please feel free to contact me.
Photos are provisional, made in the workshop.
|24 Sep 17||New album with 125 slides from the visit by Francis + Colette Massen-Heirendt of the famous Computer History Museum in Mountainview, California|
|19 Jun 17||
We received two new items for our collection:
1. Mrs. Pia Roth donated a Commodore PET 2001_8C which is in exceptional good condition, looking and running as new. This is the full keyboard/large numerical keyboard model with 8KB Ram, probably from 1979 (this model was known as the "professional PET 2001-N8).
2. Fernand Steffen donated an Apple Macintosh Powerbook 165c laptop from 1991: this was the first laptop with a color display (passive DSTN display, remarkably good); this laptop also is in working condition (except a defunct battery).
Many thanks to these contributors!
|10 Jun 17||Update of section 3a (mechanical machines) of the virtual museum with new objects and several corrections. This section now holds 240 items.|
|10 May 17||The Computarium participated again to the annual LCD Science Déég where our older students manage during a full day workshops for children of the last year of primary school (K-12). Students from the IIB2 (the "special math section") were introduced by C. du Fays and F. Massen from the Computarium into the art of Abacus calculus and Logo programming. We used for the first time our notyetquite-vintage HP Thinclients running WIN7e and the excellent FMS Logo. See album.|
|29 Apr 17||Link to the presentation given by Francis Massen at the conference on Analog Computers mentioned below. (PDF file)|
|25 Apr 17||
Francis Massen will give a conference the Friday 28th
April at 20:00 on analog computers.
Start is 20:00 in the Robert Bohnert room of the Lycée classique de Diekirch. Entrance is free. Click on picture for a full view of the flyer.
|09 Apr 17||
I was able to buy two items at the "old stuff market" in
Diekirch: a rather strange abacus, sort of a hybrid between japanese and
chinese model (the chinese abacus has two heaven and five earth beads, the
japanese 1 heaven and 4 earth beads).This model has one heaven and five
earth beads! Actually it seems to be a
(copy of a)
Mutsudama type Soroban which
was introduced in the early Meiji
The second item is the old XY plotter sold as a children's game. This model was sold by the French company Joustra and made in China (manufacturer unknown). To erase the drawing, one has to flip the device face down and shake it thoroughly. Just to make things more interesting: the right knob moves the pen in the Y direction, and the left in the X direction.
|28 Feb 17||New video by Francis Massen on the Duffing chaotic oscillator, a very simple electronic circuit which goes into chaotic behavior when a relevant parameter (here the amplitude of a forcing oscillator) changes by a very small amount. Simulation done with Multisim (Electronic Workbench).|
|02 Feb 17||Colette Heirendt and Francis Massen visited the new NAM-IP computer museum in Namur. Outstanding! See album!|
|30 Jan 17||
Gérard Franzen, an ingenieur teaching at the
Technique Privé Emile Metz) and a former donator of the Computarium, donated
a very nice Olivetti Logos 444 desktop printing calculator, in mint
condition. He also assured that we received from the LTPEM a vintage
Siemens SPS S5 system (introduced in 1979) with a very nice PG675
programming portable computer running CP/M86-2.2. Some quick first tests
showed that this computer (probably from 1983) works fine, even if I have not yet read the manual
and am unable to access the command line prompt.
04 Feb: With a new built cable, the communication between PG675 and the S5_100U unit (see lower picture, empty battery has meanwhile been replaced) is working now. We also have now several working CP/M diskettes for the PG675.
|21 Jan 17||A group of 8 people celebrating their xxth anniversary of quitting primary school visited the Computarium. C.Heirendt and F.Massen gave explanations and made some practical hands on work with them, with an introduction in operating abacus and Brunsviga machines.|
|09 Dec 16||
Théo Duhautpas, a former director of
Restena and a retired professor at the
University of Luxembourg, donated a very rare CODEX 9600 multiplex modem.
This was the first
modulated 9600 bit/s modem of the world, manufactured in the USA from 1971
to about 1975. This specimen was used by REUTERS to establish communication
between computers/terminals in Luxembourg and Frankfurt/Main, via a leased 4
wire line. It can drive either a single 9600 communication, or by
multiplexing 4 communications at 2400 bit/s.
The oscilloscope shows the 16 different bit pattern of QAM-16; it was routinely used to check the quality of the line. Many thanks!
|22 Oct 16||
1. The Computarium acquired a beautiful TODD
Protectograph, a device to write tamper-proof checks. See
2. Our member Ronny Heinz donated a very nice book "Commodore 64: a visual Compendium" which is another project of the kick-starter company Bitmap Books. This large compendium (474 pages!) has beautiful and stunning screen-shots of many famous C64 games.
|C. Heirendt donated for our "Euro-converter" exhibit an exceptional nice and stylish converter sold as a promotional gadget by Perrier. See album.||
|16 Oct 16||
1. Many updates to the virtual museum, more links to
2. Repaired (with C. Heirendt) a miniature Multifix E1R calculator that I drove by careless handling into a completely blocked state. See album of this very nice machine.
|21 Sep 16||
Pol Hoelzmer contributed again a lot of material; the
most interesting object is a rare IBM PC convertible (IBM 5140) from 1986,
without power supply but in mint condition. Some soldering to adapt a
standard powerbrick, some Internet research to find a PCDOS 3.30, and
presto, this laptop is back to life. The IBM 5140 was IBM's first laptop
(following the 5155 portable) and sold poorly, due to its difficult to read
passive LCD screen and lack of HD (it has only two 720kB 3.5" disk drives).
It was designed by the German designer Richard Sapper (see
and received many prizes, as the iF Industrie Forum Design Award
(Hannover 1988). More pictures in
Pol has finished successfully his secondary school studies, and we wish him good luck in his new endeavor!
|18 Sep 16||I added a short video on how to do multiplication on our Everest Multarapid printing calculator, which has a strange dial wheel. We graciously received a manual of the follow-up model from IFHB, which explained how to do the automatic multiplication and cleared up some of our preconceived foggy ideas..|
|17 Sep 16||
Our CH private collection increased by two rather rare
sliding rod calculators "made in France": a REBO from 1928 (manufactured in
Marseille), and a RAYMOND from 1948 (manufactured in Pernes-les-Fontaines).
Click on the pictures for full size views.
|13 Sep 16||We received today from the CTIE (Centre des Technologies de l'Information de l'Etat) a very old IBM 3420/6 tape unit from ~1977, which is exposed at our main gallery. The sliding glass panel covering the tape reels was broken during the transportation, and I will try to find a replacement asap. Many thanks for this very nice object! The capacity of this "storage monster" was a max. of 45MB per tape reel. The unit was part of a large IBM 370 system.|
|12 Sep 16||We bought a vintage OSBORNE 1a portable computer (1982), which is in a very good condition. The CP/M II system disk is easy to duplicate with CopyIIPC.. As there is no application software joined, I will make 5.25" disks from disk image files asap (video). The model is a variant of the first mod.1, distinguishable by the coiled keyboard cable (mod.1. had a flat ribbon cable and can only handle single density (SD) diskettes). The processor is a Z80 at 4 MHz, memory is 64 kB.|
|01 Sep 16||
I am nearly done with the update of the section 3 of our
virtual museum (mini/microcomputers). Many new machines were added, and
nearly all photos are now originals made at the Computarium. I switched to
iSpring Converter version 8.3, which seems to create much faster Html5 code.
This update is heavy work, as the machines have to be cleaned, tested, opened (to make pictures form the inside, many more pictures are made of each machine than displayed on the web-site) and eventually repaired. There surely remain some errors; please send me an email if you detect one!
|29 Aug 16||M. Serge Pletgen, who visited our workshops in Brandenburg, donated two Schubert DRV pinwheel calculators from the end of 1950's. Both needed some work (see here) to come back to working state. Many thanks!|
1. Busy time making pictures of machines, updating the
virtual museum and doing repairs.
2. I added to the LIBRARY (PDF section) two files from the Microsoft public archive of the The Computer Museum. These are poor gold: a treasure of original articles and photos of vintage material and computer pioneers. Look here and here (large files!).
|17 Jul 16||We participated to the "Branebuurger Maart". More on "Exhibitions" page.|
|20 May 16||Pol Hoelzmer, one of our most prolific contributors, donated quite a lot of interesting stuff: a HP Jornada720 (working), a few computers and many calculators (also all working) with an HP21 among them. As the rechargeable NiCad battery was dead, I carefully slit open the case and replaced the 2 NiCd AA batteries by alcalines: yes this works and does not harm the calculator.! Many thanks!|
|28 May 16||André Schwarz is a most prolific writer on computers and the biographies of computer pioneers. He gave the Computarium the full text of all his contributions in the cultural section "Die Warte" of Luxemburg's main news paper "Luxemburger Wort" (which gave us the permission to publish these articles). You will find all the articles in the "Library of the Computarium", PDF section (click here). Many thanks to André and the Luxembourger Wort.|
|22 May 16||
On this second day Claude Boes, Claude du Fays, Colette
Heirendt, Francis Massen and Anouk Neven were present. The attendance was
about the double as yesterday, and all visitors showed great interest.
Nevertheless we all find that well-needed publicity was nearly absent, as
well as the distribution of brochures which went well in Luxembourg-City,
but seemed to have forgotten Diekirch; also the City of Diekirch which
proudly sells itself as the "Ville des Musées" did not make any visible
publicity on the electronic public boards or on its Web site.
|21 May 16||
The first day of the nation-wide "Invitation aux Musées"
day is finished; the number of visitors was clearly enumerable ("dénombrable"
in French). We installed everything on Friday afternoon, and Saturday
Colette Heirendt, Florence Massen, Ronny Heinz and Francis Massen staffed
Workshops covered Napier bones, Genaille-Lucas rulers, abacus, Logo on vintage BBC Masters. For fun there were some vintage games running on emulators and several original Pong's.
M. Pierre David, a former programmer at EAI (Brussels headquarter) donated a nice EAI slide-rule, some memorabilia and several flow-chart rulers from well-known companies (Bull, Burroughs...). Many thanks!
|11 May 16||The LCD Science Déeg had an attendance of about 200 pupils from neighboring primary schools. See album.|
|04 May 16||Training session with 10 students of the II B mathematical session for the upcoming LCD Sciences Déeg. Colette Heirendt showed how to use Napier Bones and Genaille-Lucas rulers, Francis Massen how to program in LOGO (Turtlegraphics) on vintage BBC Master computers.|
|22 Apr 16||Students from an Erasmus+ project follow two workshops on Napier/Genaille-Lucas rulers and Brunsviga calculators in the Computarium. See album.|
|20 Apr 16||
I found by chance this digital "sliderule" from Lucas-Nülle,
a German company which makes educational material, mostly for scientific and
technical education. The disc fell out of a journal, probably donated by
The back side shows the digital states of various flip-flop types.
I did not find a date of manufacture for this nice disc. Any help will be appreciated!
|Our regular contributor Pol Hoelzmer donated quite a lot of interesting material, among them a Compaq Armada running WIN96 ! (did you know that this version exists?). See the contributors page for more details. Many thanks!|
|30 Jan 16||Yet another restoration: this time a very simple line-tracking robot has been restored. See the WORKS section for more.|
Our member Ronny Heinz participated to the Kickstart
project of Bitmap Books to publish a book on the games of the Sinclair ZX
Spectrum . This very colorful book is a great pleasure to look at. Ronny
donated the book to our library: many thanks!
This is the book #3 of Bitmap Books. Look here for all the books from this company.