Prime-Tech Paperweight Displays off Operating 60s-era Skinny-Movie Electronics

[Ken Shirriff]’s research of an enchanting high-tech paperweight created via GE on the peak of the gap race is as informative as it’s amusing to take a look at. This instrument was once created to blow their own horns GE’s thin-film electronics generation, and whilst it’s horny sufficient by itself, there’s an added characteristic: as quickly because the paperweight is picked up, it starts emitting a satellite-like rhythmic beep. It is rather well-made, and was once potentially an outstanding novelty for its time. As same old, [Ken] dives into what precisely makes it tick, and stocks necessary historical past alongside the way in which.(*(*16*)*)

Skinny-film module with labels, due to [Ken]’s antique electronics detective paintings. Click on to amplify.

Within the transparent space of the paperweight is a thin-film circuit, accompanied via a type of an early satellite tv for pc. The module implements a flip-flop, and the flat conductors attach it to a couple further elements throughout the compartment at the left, which incorporates an influence provide and the vital portions to create the beeps when it’s picked up.

Skinny-film electronics lowered the desire for particular person elements via depositing subject matter onto a substrate to shape such things as resistors and capacitors. The ensuing weight and area financial savings might be really extensive, and close-ups of the skinny movie module positive appear to be a precursor to built-in circuits. The interior of the left compartment incorporates a tilt transfer, a battery, a antique earphone performing as a small speaker, and a small block of elements hooked up to the thin-film module. This block incorporates two oscillators made with unijunction transistors (UJTs); one to create the beep, and one to keep watch over every beep’s length. The development and general design of the instrument is well recognizable, even though one of the vital portions are actually out of date.(*(*16*)*)

In case you’d like slightly extra element on precisely how this instrument labored, together with circuit diagrams and historic context, be sure you click on that first hyperlink, and be aware of the notes and references on the finish. One more thing that’s transparent is that useful electronics embedded in transparent plastic shapes merely by no means move out of favor.(*(*16*)*)