Artifact Details


Tinkertoy Computer

Catalog Number



Still Image


Black and white image of Tinkertoy computer with Danny Hillis, Brian Sillverman and Margaret Minsky. Even sticks and pulleys can be used to compute. The rules require to play tic tac toe are here built into 10,000 wooden parts, fishing lines and sinkers and brass pins. The wooden parts were taken from some 500 boxes of Tinker Toys. The nine green flags on the front of the machine show the current positions: Down: empty Left : X right : O The human player moves one flag to make his move. Then mechanical linkages cause the machine to respond instantly with its reply. The machine never loses, but played unreliably in practice because the fishing line tended to loosen and slip.

Verso: Paper sticker: "Please return to: The Computer Museum Photographic Archives 300 Congress Street Museum Warf Boston, MA 02210"
Small sticker with red ink " UC: Speed and Power 6-6 (A)"


Circa 1980

Identifying Numbers

Other number LB 101393 - copy Verso


8 x 10 in.


Identification photograph


Courtesy of Gwen Bell

Lot Number