And also like a lot of people, I wanted to know a little bit more about a person who would go to such lengths to collect and display old Macs. So I emailed soyburger (real name Jeremy Mehrl) to ask him to tell me more. Here’s what he said.
I have 67 macs on display in the basement. Thirty of them make up the Mac Classic Bar. I definitely have more than enough Macs, but there are a few systems I would like to have. A Lisa I, an Apple I and an Apple III come to mind. But I don’t see me getting those systems anytime soon, especially the Apple I and the Lisa I. I’ll probably never own them.
I mainly use the systems in my collection for nostalgia. I can fire one up any time an play a classic game without having to configure an emulator. The row of iMacs is used for LAN games.
The iMac wall and Mac Classic bar are not practical, but I like the look and it allows me to have more on display than if I put them all on desks.
I’ve been asked why I collect them by several people over the years and I’m not really sure. I have a combination of reasons, but I don’t think it really gets at “why” I do it. One reason is I really hate throwing away old technology, it takes up a lot of space in landfills and it still works for what it was designed for. Another reason I collect is for education. I like getting a computer I never owned like my Lisa II or my NeXT cube and learning about the way it works. My collection would probably be a lot smaller if I had some time with these systems. I also like collecting cool looking computers and with a couple of exceptions Apple has that market cornered.
I displayed them because I want them to look good. I’m not a fan of clutter and I want to be able to walk up and use any of the systems when I want. The iMac wall was born out of me loving the look of walls of television sets and me wanting to own every color of iMac.
I have never invited strangers over to just to look at my collection. I think that would be very uncomfortable. I have had several friends come over just to see it. I don’t know what the total cost for the whole basement is because it happened slowly over time. I know all the IKEA furniture cost around $4000, but I don’t know what I spent on the computers themselves. Probably around $10,000, but that could be way off; I really don’t know.
So there you have it, kids. If you want a basement like that, you need to be very dedicated, have a eye for creative presentation, and be prepared to spend a significant amount of money.
(Thanks to Jeremy Mehrl for his time, willingness to share, and permission to publish the photo above.)