If you want to check out Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak’s first ever product, book your travel to Michigan now!
That’s because The Henry Ford museum in Dearborn has acquired a rare 1972 Blue Box in an auction in New York City, and will be displaying it soon. The illicit device, which pre-dates the Apple-1 by four years, allowed users to make free long-distance phone calls by reproducing specific dial tones.
“Blue Boxes were the first joint business venture between the two innovators, three years before the founding of Apple Computer Inc. in 1976,” said Patricia Mooradian, president and CEO of The Henry Ford. “At the time when this device was created, they were just young adults who had an unbridled passion for learning how things worked, and making things for their own use. This artifact speaks to ingenuity, curiosity and resourcefulness and fits perfectly within The Henry Ford’s Archive of American Innovation.”
Despite being around 5,000 miles away from Cupertino, Michigan’s Henry Ford museum is a great place to check out early Apple devices. In addition to the Blue Box, which was purchased at a recent Bonhams’ History of Science and Technology auction for $125,000, they also have an original 1976 Apple-1 computer on display. The Apple-1 was bought for an incredible $905,000 at auction back in late 2014.
The Blue Box that forms part of the collection was originally owned by David Claxton, brother of Bill Claxton, who helped Steve Wozniak build the the boxes back in the early 1970s.
The recent Bonhams’ History of Science and Technology auction was a good place to pick up some rare Apple memorabilia, some of it at reasonable prices (well, kinda reasonable!). While the Blue Box went for around twice its estimated $67,400, an Apple-1 sold for “just” $355,000 — a far cry from the $905,000 paid by The Henry Ford back in 2014.
A partially completed Steve Jobs job application, written during his time at Reed College in 1972 or 1973 (“Access to transportation? Possible but not probable”) also sold for $18,750.