El Reg has a write-up on the amazingly beautiful and hopelessly impractical Honeywell Kitchen Computer. We’ve covered this bizarre piece of computing history before on OSNews, in my list of the ten most beautiful computers. For those that have no idea what I’m talking about, read on for more details. Trust me, you want to know.
The Honeywell H316 is a computer made for the housewife in 1969, which was designed to be used in a kitchen as a recipe storage device. It came with a built-in cutting board, and was accompanied by an apron. It was powered by a 0.6-2.5Mhz processor (reports are inconclusive), 4kb of memory (expandable to 16kb), and it didn’t have a display – it had a set of binary lights which conveyed the data. It had to be programmed by using switches, so when you bought this machine, you received a free two weeks programming course.
Programming the device was reportedly quite difficult. Combine all this with a pricetag of over USD 10000, and you’ve got yourself the greatest flop in computing history: not a single Kitchen Computer has ever been sold. Which is a very sad thing, because this means the H316 is very obscure, and very, very rare. I would give up quite a lot just to be able to see and touch one.
This thing walked straight out of Fallout 3.