[rescue] restorations and keyboards

Phil Stracchino alaric at caerllewys.net
Tue Feb 3 13:05:37 CST 2004

On Tue, Feb 03, 2004 at 10:55:05AM -0500, Sheldon T. Hall wrote:
> I draw a distinction between "restored" and not.  If you "restore"
> something, in my book, you make it _exactly_ as it was when new.  If it's a
> car, that means _every_ non-wearing part.  Tires, paint, all of it.  If it's
> not like the factory made it, it's "modified", or "old" or something, but
> it's not restored.  Someone claiming some car is "restored" when it's got
> non-factory _anything_ really gets my nose out of joint.
> Restoring things is a non-trivial undertaking.  Try finding the correct
> tires for, say, a mid-50s Messerschmidt bubble-car, or a working 424 MB disk
> drive for a SPARCstation IPX.
> I'm not offended in the least by someone's having, and showing, something
> that's not like the factory made it, as long as they don't claim it's a
> restoration.
> Same with computers.  If you claim your SPARCclassic is a "restoration,"
> it'd better have the same type RAM as the factory put in it, and in the same
> amount, etc.  And be running the OS it came with, too....
> Generally, though, I just like to have old stuff, and use it, so I don't
> sweat the authenticity.  Having been "in the biz" when these things were
> new, I know what they were like "back then," but I'd rather make them usable
> with today's software, in today's environment.

I could not help but think of my wife's take on historic preservation of
old buildings.  (She's studying to become an architect.)

Basically, you can only have just so many museums. If you locate Ben
Franklin's house, sure, OK, fine, preserve it just as it was, people
will come to see it.  But most historic-preservation societies don't
stop there.  They want every 18th and 19th century building in the state
preserved forever in its original state, untouchable, pristine, complete
with no running water, no sewer or other sanitation, no electricity, no
phone, and a wood-fired oven in the kitchen.  And while that's great for
keeping Ben Franklin's house as a museum, it's unusable as a
21st-century building.  So unless it's something of major historical
significance like Ben Franklin's house, no-one's prepared to pay the
cost of maintaining a historic building in a condition in which they
can't use it, so it doesn't get preserved, and the building is lost.

My wife figures that instead, what should be done with most old
buildings is what she calls historic restoration -- where you preserve
the external appearance of the building, you preserve as much as
possible of its character and feel and the original construction, but
you can make changes to the interior so as to bring it up to current
codes and make it actually usable as a living or working space.  That
way, the building stays around, because it's not just throwing money
down a deep dark hole, the restorer is getting a usable building out of
the deal.

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