Vintage Computing has put together a collection of the most delightfully wacky peripherals from the classic Mac era. Here are our favorites.
Since the early, locked-down Macintosh models could only be modified in use via external peripherals, several companies gamely rose to the challenge. Some of their creations were...inspired. Vintage Computing’s Benj Edwards explains his finds:
ErgoTron MacTilt (1985)
Judging by the photo, you might think the MacTilt turned your Macintosh into a bobble head — or made it blindingly drunk.
But no. It’s just a tilting platform for your entire computer.
While the all-in-one nature of the original Macintosh form factor made for an easy to set up (and marginally portable) computer, it did have a few drawbacks. Chief among them, it was stuck with a tiny monochrome monitor that was fixed in one position relative to its “stand,” which in this case is the Mac itself. For the low, low price of $150 (adjusted for inflation), the MacTilt fixed this problem.
Why it’s Strange: The Mac was never designed to move like that. It looks unholy and unnatural, like a giraffe on stilts.
Intermatrix MacPhone (1984)
Launched during the first year of the Macintosh’s lifespan, the Intermatrix MacPhone pushed Apple’s new computer into Bizarroland fairly quickly.
The MacPhone worked as a hardware/software combo that included the external telephone-like box you see here, which hung off the side of your Mac, and special software that maintained an ongoing log of outgoing calls and a database of frequently-used telephone numbers.
Plugging into the Mac’s external speaker jack, the MacPhone sent out DTMF signals that could quickly dial anyone using a software address book. Later versions of the software apparently used that same speaker jack to deliver canned messages to callers using synthesized speech. Sounds pleasant.
Why it’s Strange: It’s a telephone that straps onto the side of your Macintosh.
Check out the article over on Vintage Computing to feast your eyes upon more peripherals that are equal parts ingenious and head-scratching, and learn about how they came to be. One word of warning: the Hercules Computer Condom will haunt your dreams forever.
(Photo: Byte-Me Hardware)
Images via Intermatrix, MacWarehouse, Byte-Me Hardware. Article excerpted with permission.