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Electronics USA Vintage Digital Clock Museum

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Archerkit vintage clock with VFD display

vfd clock

ArcherKit Model 28-4040

Sold by Radio Shack as an electronic kit

Years produced: 1974 only

Original Price: $59.95

Availability rating: RARE

This is a really cool clock! It was sold by Radio Shack and offered only as an electronic kit. It was an interesting period in the history of digital clocks. LEDs were becoming more common, and Nixie displays were long gone by this time. But this ArcherKit clock used six individual Japanese manufactured DG-12H Vacuum Flourescent Display tubes to display hours, minutes, and seconds. These displays are beautiful to look at, especially in dim lighting. The clock used the now classic MM5314N clock chip from National Semiconductor.

Vintage digital clock kit

 Optoelectronics clock kit

Optoelectronics Inc. Model 850-4

Sold as an electronic kit via ads in electronics magazines

Estimated years produced: 1975 - 1977

Original Price: $23.50

Availability rating: RARE - see below

This is one of the first products produced by Optoelectonics Inc., a company that is well known today for RF test and measurement instruments. And it's a gem of a cool digital clock! They offered different kits for sale, but this was their "See The Works" model, a kit that caught the attention of many kit builders and electronics hobbyists in the mid 70's because it was really cool looking. The circuit board is mounted between two clear plexiglas panels. We rate it RARE because over time, the multiplexing transistors fail. This one was built in 1977, and four transistors failed over the years. So we really wonder how many of these are still ticking today. Sadly, I think many of them ended up as land fill.

Ramsey Electronics Model DC-5

Sold as an electronic kit via ads in electronics hobbyist magazines

Estimated years produced: 1975 - 1979

Original Price: $22.95

Availability rating: FINDABLE sometimes on the famous auction site.

I would venture to say this was the most popular low cost digital clock kit of the 1970's - iconic in this class of clocks. The beautiful aluminum machined case was a great selling point, and very difficult for the competition to beat! The case was available in gold, silver, bronze, black and blue (pictured). It was also lower in price than some of the comparable clock kits of this era. In my high school electronics class, in 1977, most of the kids bought this model. I was different because I built the above Optoelectronics 850-4, which I still think is cooler looking, but the DC-5 is certainly beautiful.

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