Around 1960, somebody my father knew at the Harrisburg AMP factory gave me a chunk of plugboard bandsawed from a scrapped computer or industrial controller, because he knew I’d enjoy it:
He was right.
I spent months rearranging those little cubes (some with cryptic legends!) into meaningful (to me) patterns, plugging cables between vital spots, and imagining how the whole thing worked:
Long springs ran through the notches under the top of the blocks to connect the plug shells to circuit ground. The ends of the steel rails (still!) have raw bandsaw cuts, some of the blocks were sliced in two, the tip contact array behind the panel wasn’t included, and none of that mattered in the least.
Only a fraction of the original treasure trove survives. It was absolutely my favorite “toy” ever.
Quite some years ago, our Larval Engineer assembled the pattern you see; the hardware still had some attraction.
I’ve asked Mary to toss it in the hole with whatever’s left of me, when that day arrives …