Home > Uncategorized > Alas, poor mouse, I knew him well…

Alas, poor mouse, I knew him well…

February 28, 2010

I was cleaning up in the basement and found this 1992 Microsoft mouse, and before throwing it out decided some procrastination was in order.  So I photographed it in various stages of disassembly. 

From my photo album; Technology

I don’t know why, exactly, except that I always thought it was a clever mechanism.  And it’s interesting to contemplate the days when a computer mouse cost over a hundred dollars, and how they had to be taken apart occasionally to remove fibers from the optical encoding disks. 

Today we all use “optical” mice, but as far as I know the mouse has been an optical device since the first prototype in 1963.

It’s also neat to see the fine engineering that went into this device.  It had considerable heft – the ball was finely rubber-coated steel and its internal steel frame added weight as well.  The encoding disk was sharply cut on the emitter side but had angled ports on the sensor side to prevent internal reflections, resulting in a more defined signal.  And so on.  I uploaded 7 photos to the album, in case you are giving a lecture on technology history and need illustrations or something.  Or just want to make jokes about mouse balls.

I’m going to use the microswitches in my next little project, which is to convert a Nintendo Wii-shaped candy dispenser into a 5mw green laser pointer.  A little piece of the past living on in a toy.

OK back to cleaning up the basement now.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. February 28, 2010 at 17:54 | #1

    Most mice are female these days:  No balls.


  2. February 28, 2010 at 20:57 | #2


    I keep a micro-museum of “Old PC Equipment” at my office, including a 286 Motherboard, a 3.5” floppy disk drive, a 2400 baud modem, and an old MicroSoft Mouse with a steel ball (no rubberized coating on this puppy).

  3. Cindy
    March 1, 2010 at 20:53 | #3

    I wonder if we still have that Apple IIe lying around somewhere?!

  4. March 3, 2010 at 23:41 | #4

    Could you be any cooler.

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