It was an impromptu family reunion whose RSVP list grew rapidly. In celebration of the recent rebirth of two prototype Twiggy Macs, many legends of Cupertino relived memories and reconnected with old friends in a private party held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA.
Attendees, many of whom held Apple badge numbers in the single or double digits, included (among others) Steve Wozniak, Andy Hertzfeld, Daniel Kottke, Chris Espinosa, Guy Kawasaki, Jerry Manock, Terry Oyama, Larry and Patti Kenyon, Rod Holt, Randy Wigginton and Wendell Sander. The soiree was arranged by longtime Apple employee Dan Kottke and Gabreal Franklin, former president of Encore systems and owner of one of the resurrected Twiggy Macs.
Apple’s venerable alumni laughed and reminisced with each other while playing with the rare prototype, commenting on early aspects of the design and who did what. “It’s got an hourglass cursor,” Andy Hertzfeld said. “I don’t remember that. Hey, I wrote that. It seems slow to me.”
What made this event even more special is that few such gatherings had taken place before. Attendee Adam Goolevitch, owner of the second restored Twiggy Mac, told Cult of Mac this was the first reunion many of the Mac team members ever had with their former Apple colleagues.
Cult of Mac reported on the resurrection of two Twiggy Macs last month. These early Macs originally contained the same 5.25-inch floppy drive used in Apple’s Lisa computer, but their unreliable performance nearly derailed efforts to get the groundbreaking machine into homes across America. Apple instead opted for Sony’s 3.5-inch disk drive, and Steve Jobs ordered all Twiggy prototypes destroyed.
The oldest working Macs in the world then did one more insanely great thing: they brought together their creators three decades after birth.
Fortunately, a few Twiggy Macs survived. One resurfaced for sale online last year and made its way into the hands of Goolevitch, a private Apple collector. The other was owned by Franklin and sat for years unused in his office, for a while repurposed as a doorstop. Soon alerted to each other’s treasures, Goolevitch and Franklin collaborated and turned two non-working machines into a pair of fully functional systems.
The oldest working Macs in the world then did one more insanely great thing: they brought together their creators three decades after birth. The reunion at the Computer History Museum last week helped bridge those years.
“It brought back a lot of the happiness and the terror of working on the Macintosh,” said Randy Wigginton, author of MacWrite, “because you never knew when Steve was going to be in this horrible mood and say ‘this is terrible,’ or when he’d be in a great mood and say ‘this is awesome, it’s going to change the world.'”
Terry Oyama, on the Mac industrial design team, offered an example of the design sensibility that Jobs demanded and which lives on at Apple to this day. “If you feel the edge of the Mac, there is a textured surface on the side that makes it easy to find the on/off switch in the rear. Steve gave us the time to make it better,” he said.
But equipment was really secondary at this event. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak commented “I love to see old prototypes and the original equipment. But really, the people that were there have so much more meaning, and memories that it brings out.”
Here’s to the Crazy Ones!