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Visual tour: Top selling or innovative gadgets from holidays past

December 3, 2010 06:00 AM ET

This slide show accompanies our story From Pong to Furby, games and gadgets of holidays past.

Bytes for Bites: The Kitchen Computer

Why would anyone want a computer at home? Before the personal computer era and its avalanche of possible uses, the perennial answer was: "to store recipes." Neiman-Marcus took that literally. The cover of its 1969 Christmas catalog featured the Kitchen Computer. For $10,600 you got the computer, a cookbook, an apron, and a two-week programming course. Inside the futuristic packaging with a built-in cutting board was a standard Honeywell 316 minicomputer. But the console interface featured binary switches and lights. (Does 0011101000111001 mean broccoli? Or carrots?)

Bytes for Bites: The Kitchen Computer

Photo by Mark Richards, courtesy of the Computer History Museum.



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