At an auction RRAuction in Boston sold one of the first computer mice in the history of Engelbart, created by Douglas Engelbart in the late 60 of the last century. An unnamed buyer paid $178,936 for the device.
Engelbart’s mouse was paired with an encoder that was designed with five keys. The mouse itself is made of white plastic. There were three black buttons at the top of the case and two metal disks at the bottom, which allowed the cursor to move vertically and horizontally across the screen. The panel with five encoding keys supports 31 combinations of keystrokes and allows you to enter letters and some punctuation marks.
According to Smithsonian Magazine, Engelbart’s invention of the computer mouse was not initially seen as a groundbreaking innovation. In fact, it took several years for the mouse to gain widespread adoption, as early computers did not have graphical interfaces and were mainly used for number-crunching tasks.
However, with the introduction of the Xerox Alto computer in 1973, which featured a graphical user interface and a mouse, the device began to gain popularity. Apple’s Lisa and Macintosh computers, introduced in the 1980s, further cemented the mouse as a standard input device for personal computers.
It’s also worth noting that Engelbart’s mouse was not the only pointing device developed in the 1960s. In 1963, Ivan Sutherland created a device called the Sketchpad, which used a light pen to draw images on a computer screen. However, the light pen was not as practical for everyday use as the mouse, which could be easily maneuvered on a desktop.
The mouse sold at this year’s auction was reportedly the most expensive ever. Another Engelbart mouse was auctioned off for $34,479 in 2020. Curiously enough, at the time it was estimated that the final value of one of the first computer mice would be around $800. It can be assumed that if another of Engelbart’s original mice comes up for auction, its value will be even higher.
Douglas Engelbart himself was one of the first researchers on human-machine interface and the inventor of the computer mouse manipulator. He was also the author of a number of other inventions, such as the graphical user interface, hypertext, text editor, etc. During the years of his research Engelbart authored more than 25 works and received 20 patents for his inventions. He has received numerous awards for his achievements and was inducted into the IEEE Intelligent Systems Hall of Fame. Douglas Engelbart died in 2013 at the age of 89.