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Thread: Memorial Statue of Video Game Pioneer, Ralph Henry Baer, in Manchester, New Hampshire

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    Cool Memorial Statue of Video Game Pioneer, Ralph Henry Baer, in Manchester, New Hampshire

    If I had known about this Kickstarter project, then I would have backed it. Thankfully, not only did the project reach its fundraising goal, but they have already installed the 260-pound bronze statue in Baer Square within Arms Park as of May 10th, 2019.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The statue of Ralph Baer, who led a team that developed the first home video game while he was working in Nashua at the company that is now BAE Systems, is the culmination of efforts by family members and local fans to honor Baer in the city where he lived for six decades.

    “Dad only passed four years ago. Usually, these things take decades,” said Mark Baer, one of Ralph Baer’s sons and a driving force for the recognition.

    The placing of the statue, in what is now known as Baer Square in downtown Manchester, was also helped by the Queen City’s desire to be known as a technology hub. The fact that BAE Systems is expanding into Manchester, bringing as many as 800 jobs, didn’t hurt; the company is one of the major contributors to the project.

    About a dozen family members, including Baer’s children and many grandchildren, were on hand for Friday’s unveiling of the statue, as were many local business and government officials. The statue, which was inspired by a statue of former Celtics coach Red Auerbach sitting on a bench in Boston, was hidden until the unveiling inside a huge box painted to look like an old-fashion console television that had Baer’s version of electronic tennis being played on the screen.

    Ralph Baer’s parents, who were Jewish, fled Nazi Germany with him when he was a child. He served as an intelligence officer with the U.S. Army and after World War II become an engineer with interest in television systems. In 1961, sitting at a bus stop, he made the first notes about developing two-way interaction with TV sets.

    He worked in Nashua at Sanders Associates, the company that is now part of BAE Systems, for 30 years. During that time, he led a small team that in 1968 developed what has come to be known as the “Brown Box” system that could move dots around on a television screen. As Baer told it, the work was done out of view of senior management who didn’t see why a defense contractor was fiddling around with TV sets.

    Eventually the project became Magnavox Odyssey, the first home video game, and made Sanders Associates a lot of money.

    Baer was a prolific inventor on his own, mostly of electronic games and toys. He may be best known for Simon, an electronic pattern-matching game that was a huge hit in the 1980s.

    Baer’s basement workshop from his home on Mayflower Drive is now in the National Museum of American History, part of the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. David Allison, a senior scholar with the Museum of American History, said Friday that Baer’s history as an immigrant – somebody who “chose to be an American” – was important to the museum.

    “He wasn’t just a successful inventor. He’s a successful example of being a great American – that’s why he’s in the Smithsonian,” said Allison.

    Mark Baer put it this way: “You don’t have to come from a great background. ... You can still accomplish things. That’s what this is all about.”

    Also unveiled Friday was The Ralph H. and Dena W. Baer Scholarship Fund to benefit students from Manchester Central High School who are pursuing studies in technology-related fields. Gifts can be made online to the New Hampshire Charitable Fund to support this scholarship at https://give.nhcf.org/BaerScholarship .
    This would definitely be something cool to visit in New Hampshire!

    Sources:
    https://www.concordmonitor.com/ralph...er-nh-25439263
    https://assets.atlasobscura.com/plac...-baer-memorial
    https://www.unionleader.com/news/bus...2ab3ef84b.html
    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects...the-video-game

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    lucky they made it out of Nazi Germany. Makes me wonder how many others couldve gone on to be great inventors but instead died at the hands of the Nazis
    "I used to think my life was a tragedy, but now I realize it's a comedy." - Joker

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    As I've mentioned *cough*bragged about*cough* before, I, along with other members of the antique radio club I belong to, had the fine privilege of meeting Ralph a couple of years before his passing. I got to play him in "TV Tennis", and was handily schooled by the master. I'm hoping to visit the statue at some point, perhaps to take a 'selfie of me sitting besides Ralph holding one of my Odyssey controllers, sorta recreating these photo taken of us:


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    I know Len (http://www.rolentapress.com/) who posted here as rolenta I believe, and he was very close with Ralph. Thus I've followed the progress on this on his FB page.
    The Paunch Stevenson Show free Internet podcast - www.paunchstevenson.com - DP FEEDBACK

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