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The Evening Times, Trenton, New Jersey, Wednesday, July 26, 1967.
Teenagers Work Computers
RESISTORS: Youthful Science In A Barn
by Eric Blitz, Staff Writer
Amid the prosperous-looking farms outside of Pennington the "Red House" on the Pennington-Mount Rose road in Hopewell Township appears to be just another barn - until you go inside.
Inside are two big computers, a priceless collection of electronic equipment ranging from the latest touch-tone telephones to music boxes circa 1880, and the Anna Russell Memorial Theater.
The barn is the headquarters of a group of scientifically-minded teenagers who call themselves the RESISTORS or Radically Emphatic Students Interested In Science, Technology or Research Studies.
Only A Fraternity
The organization was formed last November by students at Hopewell Valley Central High School, but until the group was offered the use of the barn and its equipment by co-owners Claude Kagan and George Furnish, the RESISTORS was little more than a fraternity.
Today, although they still hold an occasional discotheque, the RESISTORS have really begun to live up to their name as they prepare the computers for operation and act as custodians of the electronic museum.
On a typical day last week the teenagers were active in both roles, programming tape for the computers and taking visitors on a tour of the barn.
Andy Walker, 17, who bills himself as the chief assistant programmer and "head spieler" of the club, began with a piece of modern art sculpture by Furnish entitled the "Great Bicycle Wreck of the 1860." The award-winning work, which Furnish said was "a study in circles," consists of different parts of a bicycle attached to a pole.
Furnish, a professional artist, also contributed the barn's Anna Russell Memorial Theater, which has featured plays, dances, and various unusual lectures. Ann Russell is a singer-danger-comedienne who has made occasional appearances there.
The barn community also includes two donkeys names Andiamo and Adi-Viderla, but the tour really comes to life in the mazes of electronic equipment which Kagan, a research leader in the Western Electric Engineering Research Center at Princeton, has collected.
Among the antiques which are strewn about the room are a stereoscope, an old phonograph speaker, a primitive cash register, an adding machine, and a switchboard from the last manual telephone office in New Jersey.
There are also several music boxes which can still play such 19th Century favorites as "Among the Sugar Cane" and "Where is My Darling Now?"
In an adjoining room, Laurie Lamar, a pretty 15-year-old candidate member, was typing out instructions for the nine-ton Burroughs 205 computer, a Datatron built in the early 1950s.
For their first project, the RESISTORS are preparing a computerized dating service in which they will match up Hopewell teenagers on the basis of questionnaires submitted to the computers.
Two other projects being considered are a "dress selection service," which would enable women to have a record of what they wore to different occasions and who saw them, and a project for the Educational Testing Service in which they would match up students with the colleges best suited to them.
While Laurie was typing zeros on a Flexowriter for the Burroughs 205, other RESISTORS were experimenting with the Packard Bell 250, a 1961 solid state computer.
Although the Packard Bell is not as impressive-looking as the Burroughs 205, which has 1,000 tubes and rows of auxiliary memory banks, it is reportedly a more efficient machines.
As turquoise lights flashed on the front of the Packard Bell and blue and orange patterns jiggled across an attached oscilloscope, Andy Walker put the machine through its paces by adding seven and one.
It Was Right
Although the machine came up with a total of 10, Andy explained that this was the correct answer in the Base Eight System.
Neither Andy nor any of the other RESISTORS had any previous computer experience when they were introduced to the use of the machines by Kagan.
The club's president Chris Brigham, 16, is now at Indiana University on a Science Foundation Scholarship, designing electronics for nuclear magnetic resonance experiments.
Other members of the club are Doug Timbie, vice president; Steve Payne, secretary; Bob Skillman, treasurer; Mark Grossman, social secretary; Charlie Ehrlich; Bill Weasner, Jim Yost and Bill Lang.
Other candidate members are Larry Owen, Marty Brigham, and Cindy Cole.
1. Andiamo, one of two donkeys who share the barn with the computers, doesn't seem to share Dough Timbie's interest in electronic equipment.
2. Claude Kagan (back to camera) gives Andy Walker some pointers in the use of the Packard Bell 250 as other RESISTORS work on auxiliary equipment.
3. Martin Brigham peers into an old-time stereoscope. An antique cash register and a switchboard from New Jersey's last manual office contribute to the electronic wilderness which surrounds him.
[Article courtesy of Chuck Ehrlich. Click here for larger JPEG image of the first page, here for the second page, or here for the third page. Click here for a larger JPEG image of the donkey at the top of the page.]
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