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Prehistoric Tech: Hasbro’s Think-A-Tron, The Electric Question and Answer Machine (1960)

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Straight from the Eisenhower Era comes this beloved toy of a generation: Hasbro’s Think-A-Tron, “The machine that thinks like a man.”

This gray hunk of plastic allows the user to slip small question cards into a slot. Then, the machine answers the question put to it…in blinky lights (at least if you have two D batteries handy.)

The questions themselves were provided by the “Editors of the Book of Knowledge” Children’s Encyclopedia and awarded the seal of approval.

 

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A couple examples:

A potter works with: a) rubber, b.) clay, or c.) oil.

An elephant’s tusk is a type of a.) tooth, b.) antler, c).horn.

The Think-A-Tron would not only provide the right answers to these questions, it would “think” and “remember” them for you.

What a difference half-a-century makes.

 

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The Think-A-Tron “The Electric Question and Answer Machine” is often termed a computer, and yet it is so big and clunky, and does so little that we now expect of such a device.  My son and I occasionally haul out the old Think-A-Tron for fun, but the thrill of playing with it wears off after about a half-hour.

Still, once upon a time, the Think-A-Tron was THE FUTURE

  • NGO

    Love it! Were all the questions provided for the youngster, or could they come up with their own? Do you remember the Odyssey Game system from Magnavox. My Father toiled all Christmas Eve and most of Christmas Day to get that thing to operate. It finally worked, kind of. We played with it for maybe twenty minutes before it was utterly forgotten about.

    • John Kenneth Muir

      Hi NGO: All the questions were on the cards, provided by the game. So youngsters would insert the machine, after looking at the question and then try to guess the correct answer (which the machine provided). I do remember Odyssey! I would love to get my hands on one of those game systems!