Computer Merit Badge Circa 1969

00.00.00 - Mark

The Boy Scouts of America have had Computers Merit Badge since 1967, and the old book is pretty amazing. Beautiful fonts, weird photos, even some really neat looking projects. Not everything is horribly inaccurate (considering it predates the Altair 8800 and the personal computer revolution by over 5 years) Even some of the original requirements are still in the modern version! I'm going to have to look for some other old requirement books for merit badges, I'm sure there's some neat stuff to dig up. Here's a PDF of the book (mirrored copy from Dave's Old Computers)

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Steve Wedell - 15:05:55 / 2012.04.11 #

Interesting to actually see the original Computer Merit Badge requirements book. The first Computer Merit Badge was awarded in June 1968. Geoffrey Botton, the committee chairman from the DPMA was the first counselor in Los Angeles and worked with the first badge awarded. A round oatmeal box with erector set was used to model a "drum storage" unit. A plywood card reader was built with 4 aluminum foil contacts reading cardboard cards with 4 rows of holes that lit up 4 lights. The scout showed Mr. Botton a printout of a Sunday School tracking program he had written (Fortran IID) and run at the old Valley Junior College computer center in Van Nuys, CA. Geoffrey Botton arranged for the first scout to receive the merit badge at a DPMA conference in Washington, DC that summer of 1968. Was a wonderful experience sitting next to the CEO of GE and other big wigs. So as you can tell, I remember these details very well because I was that first recipient.

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