Monday, January 20, 2014

Big Briar Inc. Model 331 Touch Plate "Greatest Invention Since The Wheel" ad, Keyboard 1983


Big Briar Inc.'s Model 331 Touch Plate "Greatest Invention Since The Wheel" black and white 1/4-page advertisement from page 85 in the December 1983 issue of Keyboard Magazine.

So, one of the main reasons I've been taking a break from blogging was that I was finally feeling the pull of the studio. But, after six or seven months I've finally started to feel the pull back to the blog. Creativity, in and out of the studio, is a fickle thing. I find I need a spark to help initiate that pull...

...something that gets me exited...

And this time, that excitement - the pull back to blogging - started as a seed that was planted back during the holidays while I was researching some hardware interactive design ideas for a studio  project. That, of course, led me to Google, which then led me to Microsoft Research's Bill Buxton's collection of input and interactive devices.

According to the About page:
"Bill Buxton is the author of Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design. A Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research, he has a 30-year involvement in research, design, and commentary around human aspects of technology. He was a researcher at Xerox PARC, and Chief Scientist of Alias Research and SGI Inc."
Well Bill, your Web site is the bee's knees and I want you to be my friend. Seriously - your Web site makes me cry - mainly because I want all those toys. I am a *big* fan of calculator/digital watches and that page alone made me pee a little. Now add Nintendo gloves, Etch-a-Sketch, Kraft System Joysticks... the list goes on.

With that in mind, you can imagine how excited I became when, under the touchpad section, I found some really nice up-close-and-personal photos of Big Briar's Model 331 Touch Plate.

And Bill's note underneath:
"This is a reminder that makers of electroacoustic instruments have been making touch sensors for years. This one was made for me by Bob Moog of Moog Synthesizer fame."
Heck yeah!

It was then that I recalled seeing this Big Briar ad while flipping through the December 1983 issue of Keyboard to find that Synthony holiday ad with the hand-drawn groovin' Santa Clause that I posted on Christmas.

This is one of the earlier Big Briar ads in Keyboard that Bob Moog created for his then not-so-new company, and it looks to have appeared only twice - in the December and January issues. Earlier ads mostly featured Synton equipment, with the name Big Briar appearing as the distributor near the bottom of the ad (see ad at right).

This ad is a great exercise in the benefits of size and colour. As gorgeous as that touch plate looks in black and white, the small footprint of the ad (1/4 page) and lack of colour really don't do the Model 311 justice. I think the wood grain and pop of blue that can be seen in Bill Buxton's photos would have really helped sell this thing. Or at least help keep it front-of-mind.

I also love the fact that Bob Moog would build these touch plates in all shapes and sizes. Really large touch plates would have made for some great live performances, just as the touch-screens of iPods and iPads, and now larger and larger touch-screen MONITORS, are now appearing more and more often on stage.

Now *that* gets me excited.

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