Secret Life of Machines - the Word Processor


Just learned from Hackaday that the wonderful Rex Garrod has died, and so it seems appropriate to showcase one of his co-productions with the ever inventive Tim Hunkin: The Word Processor.

The “Secret Life” series had a very home made look but also served as great technical explanation and history. Hunkin feels like a personal connection to me, as his ‘Rudiments of Wisdom’ cartoons (comics) ran weekly in the Sunday magazine of The Observer. All those cartoons are collected in the book Almost Everything There Is To Know and also on Tim’s website where we find one on Computers:

Here’s another Tim and Rex production, from the Hackaday article, Electronics Explained:

Edit to add: some snippets from Tim’s obituary of Rex:

He also liked to make big bangs by mixing Oxygen and Acetylene in bin bags. He used to say it was harmless because the bags didn’t confine the gases. Then one went off while he was holding it. He didn’t get badly burned so he was sort of right, but I don’t think he ever tried it again.

He had destroyed the huge Van De Graff generator, the biggest prop we made in his workshop, in a fit of rage, but I remembered the fun we had getting it to work. At first it produced no sparks at all, but when he switched the lights off we could see tiny sparks on everything up to ten meters away. Most of the electronic devices which happened to be switched on in the workshop never worked again. Around the Van De Graff globe itself a faint green corona glow showed where the charge was leaking. It didn’t take long to get rid of the edges and rough patches that were causing the charge to leak and then it worked as it was supposed to, but it was never as exciting as that first attempt.