By Stuart Soffer
E-mail Stuart Soffer
About this blog: Growing up in Brooklyn, NY I lived in high-density housing and experienced transit-oriented services first hand. During high school and college summers I worked in Manhattan drafting tenant floor plans for high-rise office buildi... (More)
About this blog: Growing up in Brooklyn, NY I lived in high-density housing and experienced transit-oriented services first hand. During high school and college summers I worked in Manhattan drafting tenant floor plans for high-rise office buildings. This could have been a career option, but my interest in computers - unusual at the time - led me to the computer science program at the University of Wisconsin. A programming job on Page Mill Road brought me to Palo Alto after college. Since 1993 I consult on bridging law and technology, and serve as an expert witness in Intellectual Property litigation. We moved to Menlo Park's Linfield Oaks neighborhood in 1994. Neighborhood traffic issues motivated my initial volunteering as a Menlo Park Planning Commissioner, followed by a stint as a Chamber of Commerce board member and most recently a finance/audit committee member. I advocate community volunteering for meeting people, the neighborhoods, and understanding the myriad issues that somehow arise. As hobbies I collect contemporary art and vintage cameras. And? fly helicopters, which offer rare views of the nooks and crannies of the Bay Area. (Hide)
View all posts from Stuart Soffer
One of the unique and somewhat hidden neighbors in our local area is The Museum of American Heritage
). Part museum, part archive, part educational resource, MOAH presents aspects of household technology from 1750 – 1950. On a quarterly basis (I recall) they hold repair days where you can bring in broken appliances and devices, and challenge volunteers to repair your broken stuff. A bit of ‘stump the chumps.’
MOAH has just opened a new show traversing The Evolution of Film using about 40 cameras and projectors, from the amateur to professional. Part of the current exhibit highlights early sound film technology (the Visionola from 1931)
intended for the home in nice wooden cabinets (it needed to be furniture-like). Technically significant because the sound was provided on a flat record synchronized with the 16mm movie.
Another showstopper is the Scopitone – a video jukebox from the early ‘60s with bad kitsch content - some with a bit of exposed flesh. But stay focused on the technology.
Also included are a handful of sound film cameras from my own collection. This includes my own Auricon camera and magnetic sound amplifier used for news recording by NBC News at 30 Rock.
The show is at the Museum of American Heritage, 351 Homer downtown Palo Alto, is open to the public Friday through Sunday, 11-4pm, until February 26, 2017.