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Pioneering tech up for auction

German hammer house to sell early Apple computer, first ever calculator

Pioneering tech up for auction
The Apple Lisa-1 was launched in 1983 and remained in production for only a year. It was the world's first mouse-controlled computer, and Breker estimates its worth at between $20,000 and $40,000.
Pioneering tech up for auction
In November 2012 the Cologne-based auctioneer made international news for selling an original 1976 Apple 1 computer for $640,000.
Pioneering tech up for auction
The first truly 'personal' computer on the market was the 1973 Nat Wadsworth Scelbi-8H (estimated to be worth $20,000 to $25,000), which was built around the first Intel 8-Bit microprocessor and fell within the budget of the average user. However it failed to charm the market and only 200 units were produced. Only 3 have survived.
Pioneering tech up for auction
The MITS Altair 8800 hails back to 1974 and is now considered by many to be the first commercially successful PC (estimated worth is $4,000 to 7,000). Ed Roberts’ Altair graced the front cover of Popular Electronics magazine in January 1975 and likely inspired Wozniak and Jobs in how to market the Apple 1. Bill Gates and Paul Allen built in an improved operating system called Altair BASIC, laying the foundation stone for tech history.
Pioneering tech up for auction
Three hundred years before the Apple founders' birth, French philosopher, physicist and mathematician, Blaise Pascal, designed the world’s first mechanical calculator with digital carry-over. In 1642 at the tender age of 19, Pascal started work.
Pioneering tech up for auction
The operator used a stylus to turn digit-wheels with engraved silvered scales (the 'keys') connected, via gears, to a paper 'display'. A sliding rule changed the function from addition to subtraction. Multiplication and division relied on the '9s complements' principal still used in computers today. The machine is estimated by Breker to be worth $30,000 to $50,000.
Pioneering tech up for auction
This telegraphone of 1909 was arguably the first example of a magnetic disk-recorder. Invented by Danish engineer Valdemar Poulsen, and thought to be worth US$20,000 to $32,000 today, it was unveiled at the Paris Universal Exposition in 1900 when Poulsen played a recording of Kaiser Franz Joseph’s voice.
Pioneering tech up for auction
Of course the foundation of the Qwerty keyboard, a staple in modern computing, lies in early typewriters such as this 1895 Ford typewriter with filigree copper grille, estimated at between US$13,000 and $20,000.
Pioneering tech up for auction
Without the invention of the telephone, computers would normally have remained standalone boxes with limited potential. One of the earliest was this 1905 L.M. Ericsson & Co desk telephone (estimated at $9,000 to $13,000), known as the 'coffee grinder' for its shape and crank handle.
Pioneering tech up for auction
Modern IT security, particulary encryption techniques, owe much to work done in the early 20th Century with mechanical encrypting devices like the Second World War Enigma machine. This model is estimated to be worth $20,000 to $33,000.
Pioneering tech up for auction
Another first is the portable copying press (estimated at US$4,000 to $7,000) by steam-engine inventor James Watt. Patented in 1780, this portable utensil was arguably the forerunner to several pieces of tech, including the laptop computer and the desktop scanner and was said to be used by American president Thomas Jefferson.
Pioneering tech up for auction
This is a precision working model of Watt’s steam engine by Parisian steam-engineer Eugène Bourdon and Breker estimates its worth at $13,000 to $26,000.
Pioneering tech up for auction
The 'drum table' Regina music box is estimated to be worth around $15,000 to $23,000. It was one of the alst models to be produced before this style was supplanted by the phonograph.
Pioneering tech up for auction
This 1900 Fortuna 'orchestrion' is not only a musical box, but also an organ, a triangle and a drum constituting early multi-channel playback in a single audio track through 26-inch steel discs. It is estimated to be worth between $20,000 and 32,000.

A German auction house announced this week it is to sell a range of antique technology curios, some of which date back as far as the 1600s.

Check out our gallery of a selection of items up for sale.

Last November, Cologne-based Auction Team Breker made international news when it sold an original 1976 Apple 1 computer for $640,000. On 25 May Breker will host another auction where another of the six surviving Apple 1s will be available for purchase as well as a host of other industry firsts and technology precursors.

One of the lot numbers is widely hailed as the first truly 'personal' computer on the market. The 1973 Nat Wadsworth Scelbi-8H (estimated to be worth $20,000 to $25,000), was built around the first Intel 8-Bit microprocessor and fell within the budget of the average user. However it failed to charm the market and only 200 units were produced. Only three have survived.

Also on Breker's roster is the 1974 MITS Altair 8800, now considered by many to be the first commercially successful PC (estimated to be worth $4,000 to 7,000). Ed Roberts' Altair graced the front cover of Popular Electronics magazine in January 1975 and likely inspired Apple founders Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs in how to market the Apple 1. Bill Gates and Paul Allen built in an improved operating system called Altair BASIC, laying the foundation stone for tech history, both in terms of OS and application development.

Three hundred years before the Apple founders' birth, French philosopher, physicist and mathematician, Blaise Pascal, designed the world's first mechanical calculator with digital carry-over. In 1642 at the tender age of 19, Pascal started work. Operators of his device used a stylus to turn digit-wheels with engraved silvered scales (the 'keys') connected, via gears, to a paper 'display'. A sliding rule changed the function from addition to subtraction. Multiplication and division relied on the '9s complements' principal still used in computers today. The machine is estimated by Breker to be worth $30,000 to $50,000.

The auction also includes early examples of audio players, magnetic disk readers, encryption devices and telephones.

Check out our gallery of a selection of items up for sale.

"This sale is unique in presenting masterpieces from the spectrum of antique technology, from the 17th century to the 21st," said Uwe Breker, founder of Auction Team Breker.

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