How one teen amassed an 'orchard' of historic Apple products
When he was 10 years old, Alex Jason got his hands on his first Macintosh computer by trading a minibike and a snowblower for it.
He couldn't help but tinker with his new iMac G5, upgrading it as much as he could.
After reaching the G5's limit, he had an itch to do more.
"I decided I really loved working on these computers and fixing them," Alex told Mashable. "I went on Craigslist and bought one or two from the early 2000s, and I realized how cool they were because they were, to me, retro."
Cut to five years later: Alex now has a collection of more than 250 "significant" Appleproducts, dubbed the Apple Orchard, and the majority of it is located in his family's basement. If you add up the mice, keyboards, wires and everything, Alex said the number reaches about 500.
Sitting in the basement are rows of Macintosh and Apple II computers, PowerBooks, iMacs, iPods and more. Alex even has an impressive number of "extremely rare" prototype computers, keyboards and mice that never made it to store shelves.
Building the collection
Alex has obtained all the pieces from different places, starting with Craigslist and Uncle Henry's — a classifieds website that's like a Craigslist for Maine. He avoids Ebay because it's often too pricey.
"From Craigslist I met a guy who owned a collection right here near my town, and I used some of my lawn-mowing money to pay for that," he said. "I think I got 50 or 60 computers from that."
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Not everything in the collection is a computer or computer part though. Along the basement walls hang posters from throughout Apple's history, and there's even an original copy of Woz Pak, Steve Wozniak's own coding notes for the Apple II.
One of Alex's most prized pieces, the Apple I, sits offsite for security reasons, but it's not the only computer he loves.
"I have a really soft spot for the Lisa 2/5," Alex said. He received a restored and refurbished Lisa 2/5 from a friend, which Alex built a special acrylic case for.
Making a museum
Alex isn't going to just keep his Apple Orchard to himself — Alex's dad, Bill Jason, said they are in the process of fundraising to run their own museum, the Maine Technology Museum.
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"[Alex's] Apple Orchard collection will have a small wing in 15% of the space and the other 85% of the museum will be cool, interactive and engaging technology exhibits for renewable energy, engineering, computers, space exploration and everything else related to technology to inspire everyone to invent, create and innovate," Bill said.
The museum will be located in the Good Will-Hinckley Carnegie Library in Fairfield, Maine. Bill said it will require some renovation before the space will be ready to use.
In the meantime, Alex is still looking for a Lisa 1, which is an extremely rare computer. Alex said they're so rare because they came with Apple's custom "Twiggy" drives, which weren't very good, and Apple offered a free upgrade to the Lisa 2 for customers, taking most Lisa 1 computers out of circulation.
That kind of knowledge just comes with the territory.