So far, I have written three lisp machine emulators, two of which actually survived to public release. I had also never seen an actual lisp machine in real life.
Until these arrived:
On the left is a CADR, the first production lisp machine. The other two are Lambdas,the CADR's children. These came from a garage out east, where they had been stored for the past 20+ years. There was a hole in the roof of the garage, so the machines were exposed to outside air and its moisture. They were also stored with a number of bankers' boxes full of paper, most of which degraded to a sticky moldy mud that got into and all over everything close to the ground. Not even mice could live there; several abandoned mouse nests were found. None of this was known to us, or even the person who had stored them - His age made it impossible for him to enter the garage. It didn't help that the weight of the mud and fallen items against the door had bent it, making it unable to be moved on its track. I am working with him on a lisp-machine related project, and he mentioned their existence in passing, but couldn't understand why I would want them as they were certainly useless after being stored unattended and in the cold for decades. Eventually he agreed to let me pick them up for restoration. I was on dialysis then, so it wasn't something I was able to do myself. I happened to run across someone who would be traveling from near the site to near here to attend VCF Midwest; He agreed to pick the machines up for me and bring them along for the ride to Illinois. He was experienced in the recovery of heavy equipment, and would have someone along to help him who was similarly experienced. This would be a simple pick-up and go type thing. None of us had any clue what we were getting them into.
It took a full day's work for them to get the garage cleaned out enough to even move the machines; Nobody had been prepared for this much work, or mold at all. The fact that they stuck it out without complaint is astounding to me. In addition to the machines, 4 consoles, 2 keyboards, an assortment of spare boards and cables, and a several boxes of papers and tapes were rescued and transported successfully to Illinois for resurrection.
Now the Fun begins.