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Computer Chronology: Collection captures continuum of technology

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Computer Chronology: Collection captures continuum of technology

Photo caption: An Automatic Send and Receive (ASR) is an electromechanical teleprinter, also called a teletypewriter. This model, […] (Courtesy Photo/Rogers Historical Museum). Article by Becca Martin-Brown.

As millions of Americans sit staring into computer screens — working, video chatting, playing games, buying groceries — there’s a new exhibit waiting for the doors to reopen at the Rogers Historical Museum that couldn’t be more perfect. It’s titled “Personal Computers: Early 1970s to Late 1980s,” and it is largely the collection of one man who was born before a microprocessor was a gleam in Dell’s eye. Born three months before Pearl Harbor in Flint, Mich., Tony Militch started messing around with electronics when he was in junior high — “back in the ’50s before transistors,” he clarifies. “I never had a formal class in electronics or computers; it was all self-learned. Electronics was something I just wanted to do.” […]

And that interest, he adds, was the catalyst for his career. “Electronics got me into audiology, and audiology kept me in electronics.” Audiology is defined as “the branch of science and medicine concerned with the sense of hearing.” Militch started with a degree in elementary education, then a master’s in deaf education, then a doctorate in audiology in 1971. “In 1971, I also bought my first computer,” he says, sounding like someone remembering the first great love of his life. “They called it a ‘mini-computer,’ but it was like a big box, usually put in an equipment rack, and you could hardly lift it. And that was just the processor — no screens, none of that yet. […]

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