• Please review our updated Terms and Rules here

What's this? (Possible Mark-8?)

tejones777

Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2022
Messages
23
Location
Minnesota
Hello:

Three years ago I was in Seattle's Computer Museum (or rather "Living Computer Museum") and I saw the following machine hidden away.

As a lover of the Mark-8, I instantly thought that looks a lot like a Mark-8 computer. The high/low address toggles, and the "jam" button to jam the data on the bus. I tried back then to inquire, but nobody with any knowledge would answer.

Below on the left is the computer I saw. On the right, is a Mark-8 very similar to the original on the Radio-Electronics cover. Has anyone seen this?

Sadly, the "Living Computer Museum" hasn't re-opened since the pandemic, and rumor is that it's fallen on hard times, and probably will never re-open. There's always hope that Microsoft, or other corporate entity, could save it.

- tj.
 

Attachments

  • 20190706_140111.jpg
    20190706_140111.jpg
    2.1 MB · Views: 25
  • mark8front.jpg
    mark8front.jpg
    53.7 KB · Views: 24
Last edited:

tejones777

Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2022
Messages
23
Location
Minnesota
Excellent Website Roland, and that's an amazing example of the Mark-8.

I like databases listing all known copies of rare things. The art community has done it for decades, keeping track of all known Van Gogh paintings, or all the Renoir masterpieces, and it helps make sure counterfeits don't show up out of nowhere, and find their way into the market. Provenance does matter.

For vintage computers, we have several databases of known artifacts:
  1. Mark-8 minicomputers are listed on but that hasn't been updated in 14 years, so it's not perfect.
  2. Apple-1 computers are very well documented at and this is very complete, currently with 87 computers well documented, and nine suspected.
  3. Commodore 64 computers are listed here: and they have 4304 different serial numbers documented!
  4. Kenbak-1 computers are listed at and it is fairly complete, currently with 14 documented, and a few more rumored.
The problem is that many collectors are pretty secret about their holdings, and I'm not sure why. I talked with Achim Baque who maintains #2 above, and he's had a terrible time getting owners to cooperate with details or serial numbers of their computers. And for over 15 years there have been rumors of other Kenbak-1s which are "super secret." Herbert Eisengruber, who tried tracking all Kenbak-1's around 2005 suspected most of the rumors were false, but Herbert himself won't tell who he sold most of his computers to.

Not sure why people are so secretive. Maybe they are worried about theft? Maybe they're hiding their purchases from their wife. Not sure.

Does anyone else know any lists of known databases of vintage computers? I really like this sort of thing.

- tj.
 

Roland Huisman

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2011
Messages
1,409
Location
The Netherlands
Hi tj,

I think that there is a big difference between hobbyists and investors... A while back I listed my MK14 for sale on a local craiglist here in the Netherlands. Someone from Switzerland wanted to buy it for a nice price. And he sent me pictures of his collection with piles of Altair 8800's. He has at least 10 of them. Lots of Imsai and other fun (expensive) stuff... Really an amazing collection. I asked if I could buy the worst looking and most incomplete Altair 8800 from him. But oh no, he didn't want to sell anything. buy buy buy, stacking up to the roof... A lot of blabla, but he never showed up here to get the MK14. So that MK14 is still in its original box somewhere in my basement... So I will put that on sale at a later moment...

When items move to these kind of collectors these are the 'black holes' where vintage machines disappear for years.

But even registered computers seem to move to new owners even when they are in the hands of museums... In the Netherlands is a database with national historic machines. One of these machines is now in my collection because that museum closed down. I restored it and upgraded the machine to the max. In the meanwhile the national database is corrupt so pictures are lost. And nobody seems to know that I have this machine... And the museum who is actually managing this database knows me in person... But I know there are a few more machines moved in the past few years...

So there does not seem to be an active tracking of these machines. And over time these databases are getting outdated... I think you need to put in a lot of effort in it to keep it up to date...

Another thing is a serial number for these Mark 8 machines. My machine does not have a serial number. How do you register that? Maybe you should put a label on it with a register number?

Regards, Roland
 
Top