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Museum gives new life to obsolete technology

A former IBM employee digs into the manual of a 1961 machine.
Emma Jacobs / WSKG
A former IBM employee digs into the manual of a 1961 machine.

In an old ice cream factory outside downtown Binghamton, two teams are at work restoring mid-century technology from the Southern Tier. Retirees from IBM and Singer-Link, which made flight simulators have begun restoring a 1940s era flight simulator and a quarter-ton computer from 1961 to full operation.

Why are these men using their retirement to fiddle with the machines they once worked on for a living?

"I'm retired and it keeps me off the street," says Jim Herz.

He works on the restoration along with Gordon Ruston. "We were all quite fortunate to do things that we enjoyed for a living," Ruston says.

The group is working against a deadline though. On August 20th, their home, the Center for Technology and Innovation will hold its first open house in its permanent location, the 30,000-square foot factory, built in 1912.

Susan Sherwood, the museum's director, wants what she calls the "amazing things" the former technicians have accomplished to inspire visitors own innovations.

"Somewhere under those white [haired] heads ... are the answers, or the suggestions or the strategies for effective management of technology," she says.

You can see more pictures of the museum's "senior technology specialists" at work.



Former WRVO/Central New York reporter for the Innovation Trail.