Perspective on 10 Year Rule
caveguy at sbcglobal.net
Tue Aug 29 12:18:43 CDT 2006
Ok just what is Classic ?
First the question is if something is Classic by design or by construction ?
There are many modern examples of Classic designs and styles being manufactured all the time, retro is in again
don't you know ;-)
Defining Classicness by age, is a moving target that it is bounded by Contemporary or Modern on one side and
Antique on the other. This often included the period we often call Vintage. I have found that the pattern of third's fits
this timeline. The first 1/3 of most technology timelines are considered Antique, and the last third is considered
Contemporary or Modern. Leaving Classic to describe the mid life or development cycle of a lifecycle. Most
notably the early period of public awareness or adaptation.
Lets first look at some examples.
EAA uses the following for judging aircraft:
Antique is from first practical flight about 1910 until the end of WWII Sept 1 1945. Classic has been split for
judging into the 10 year period between the end of the war and 1955 and the 12 year Contemporary period
extending the cutoff of Modern Aircraft until 1967.
Classic Radio is a period between the 40's and 70's thus it too gets older every year.
Classic Cars need only to be more than 15 or 20 years old for most insurance and registration purposes. Yet I
find the 70's is a common cut off date for Classic car lists. The Antique Automobile Club of America conceder 25
years the moving cutoff point. The more restrictive Classic Car Club of America limits Classic from 1925 to 1948.
Classic Motorcycles are for the most part were built pre-1975. (mark 856-2222)
A Classic book is one written in ancient Greece or ancient Rome between 7bc to 5ad, and shows how extreme
the Classic timeline can get.
So how does this relate to Classic Computers ?
This list was formed in 1997 and the 10 years rule back then put 1987 as the cutoff point. This was a time when
computers from about 1967 were to 1987 were the topic and those new fangled micros were modern and to be
avoided. For many of us the earliest examples in our collections are tubes and unit record examples from the
It is now almost 10 years latter, do we shift the cutoff date to 1997 or leave it at 1967?
Using the 1950 date, the dawn of commercial computing as a starting point, 1987 fits the thirds rule nicely making
1968 the cutoff point, of dare I say it, Antique Computers.
Using the accepted 50 year definition of Antique it should be closer to 1957. But 1967 makes sense for several
reasons. It is interesting that IBM created the first floppy disk in 1967 and Intel was formed in 1968. The year
1987 was the point where LSI chipsets first appeared on motherboards to replace discreet logic and IBM sent
first clone manufacturers letters demanding licensing fees. This is the same point in history when Microsofts hit
$100 a share on the stock market. That same year Sun introduced the SPARK processor and IBM introduced
If on the other hand we compromise and only shift half the distance and make the new cutoff 15 years back not 10,
then we are right at the introduction of Linux and the birth of the World Wide Web along with the first release of
PGP and Truetype. In 1992 VESA local bus was introduced to better present the emerging graphical user
interfaces that were taking over office and engineering applications. At the same time Intel released the DX2
chips with the clock doubler in an attempt to keep up with the commercial and graphic software explosion that
was taking place at that time. The Gamers had begun to drive the consumer marker demanding faster
processors and better graphics.
If we hold true to the 10 year rule than 1996 would be the new cutoff date. The year Intel introduced the P6-200,
Microsoft introduces Diredt-X, NEC merged with Packard-Bell, in an attempt to produce the lowest cost computer
that could be sold at discount and appliance stores to the mass market. Apple Stocks hit a 10 year low about the
same time WebTV was introduced and Tandy closes 36 Incredible Universe and Computer City stores due to
poor consumer sales. Not such a good time in the computer business and I am sorry I do not think the Pacard-Hell
will ever be a classic.
The 10 year rule worked in the beginning but does not age well, 15 or 20 is more fitting to todays conversations.
Just some food for thought, find composing these little mutterings therapeutic
it helps me to keep things in perspective, feel free to delete and move on, at least it is on-topic no matter what the
cutoff point is :-)
The other Bob
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