Is it time for an International Vintage Computer Association? Was: Yo

From: William Donzelli <>
Date: Tue Jun 27 16:00:23 2000

> Yeah, I have to agre with this sentiment. This "hobby" is about as
> official as you can get. It's definitely arrived. We don't need high
> prices established in order to make it any more legitimate.

How will the formation of an official group make prices go up? Please
explain, as I don't see any connection. If anything, most official
organizations _do_not_allow_ commercial dealing (generally outlawed from
the museums and journals). Prices are independent, under some other

> There is no such thing as an "amateur computer historian". I don't recall
> there being a degree program at any university strictly dealing with
> computer history. Anybody who's ever brought home an old computer for the
> sake of preserving it and put a lot of time and care into
> researching and restoring it IS a Computer Historian.

There is certainly room for amateurs. I have no history degree, but I am
welcome in several historical organizations.
> Absolutely. It's the hobbyists who are responsbile for uncovering the
> history of the machines. Even having them in museums doesn't guarantee
> they will be researched and preserved properly (lack of resources being
> the main problem). Individual machines in the hands of individual
> collectors who will appreciate the machine is the optimal scenario.

I must disagree here - machines in the hands of museums is better.
Museums are starting to recognize the history of computers, so many of
the horror stories we hear about computers being mistreated (or
vaporizing!) at museums are turning into just stories.

Museums offer far greater security for the artifacts. It takes a great
deal to destroy a museum and its contents. On the other hand, the death
or sickness of one person can destroy a whole private collection. This
happens all of the time - someone dies and the house is cleared out. For
all of the talk about including parts of wills that can deal with these
types of disasters - how many of us have _actually_ gone about doing it?

In fact, I would like anyone on this list to email me privately with an
answer if they have, and I will tally the results. I will keep individual
answers confidential.

Also, keep in mind that museums are public. Private collections are not.
While there are some private collections that do a great job of showing
off to the public, there are at least ten times that number that are very
closed and effectively hidden. What good do those collections do for the
advancement of knowledge? Not a whole lot. Certainly there are people on
this list with very rare, significant machines, software, and docs, but
they are not accessable in any way. Some won't even admit that they even
have the artifacts. I would also bet that not a whole lot of private
collectors would even entertain the thought of having a stranger view or
study an artifact.

William Donzelli
Received on Tue Jun 27 2000 - 16:00:23 BST

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