This rudimentary analog computer 'kit' was offered in several magazines in the 1950's and 1960's. These included Popular Electronics, Popular Science and Boy's Life magazines. The kit consists of basic cardboard casing enclosing a battery pack, headphone (or analog meter), and three potentiometers wired together with alligator clips. When constructed, the computer acted as a simple calculator; doing various multiplication, division, trigonometric, and logarithmic calculations via the interchangeable potentiometers.
The entire kit came with an instruction manual, parts list, and an excerpt from Popular Electronics detailing an introduction to analog computers. Various sample experiments are included in the manual, as well as in-depth information covering the background of the math behind the device.
Because the kits were made primarily of cardboard, it is unlikely that many of them survived. The one in our collection is in very good condition and still operates.
The American Basic Science Club (ABSC) kits were designed and sold by James S. Kerr and sold for anywhere between $2.00 and $5.88. A quick search of the web will show comments by engineers, scientists and professors who point to the ABSC kits as being their inspiration.
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