Hacked Gadgets Forum

April 22, 2012

Old 16 Segment Display on top of The Great Coal Mine, Coney Island

at 6:11 pm. Filed under Vintage Electronics



Bruce sent in a link to this cool picture of a very old display in this 1901 picture (top of the tallest building in the picture). It looks to be a primitive 16 segment display. The building is The Great Coal Mine, Coney Island. I wonder what the display was used for? Below you can see the modern version of this display.

“The Great Coal Mine was a 1,500-foot-long dark ride that enabled visitors to travel on coal cars through several levels of a dimly lit simulated mine. It opened in 1901 on the north side of Surf Avenue at West Tenth Street, was not very popular, and was soon replaced by L.A. Thompson’s Oriental Scenic Railway.”



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7 Responses to “Old 16 Segment Display on top of The Great Coal Mine, Coney Island”

  1. I. Robert Says:

    They’re also know as starburst displays; the Speak and Spell uses them.

  2. Bill Says:

    Interesting 🙂 I wonder when the ’16 segment starburst display’ was patented?


  3. Lew Says:

    This is a total Photoshop! The close up shows IC chips, and is obviously a modern photo – the vehicles in the picture are horse-drawn. IC’s were many, many decades later.

    The company I worked for years ago used large, electronic displays that drove solenoid operated segments that were brightly colored and illuminated for use in truck scale application. This allowed the driver to see the weights from their vehicle cab.

  4. Farle Says:

    Lew *cough* ‘Below you can see the modern version of this display.’ *cough*

  5. David G Says:

    You can tell by the power lines its old guys. there is a post card on ebay that’s color that you can see it as-well.

  6. ba12348 Says:

    Not sure what (or if) they used it for on the ride, but I would guess that a real mine could use it as railroad signals, perhaps they just included it for accuracy?

  7. Fuming Solder Says:

    In this particular location on the building it could be used for nothing else but advertising. But even though I don’t believe it could actually be a dynamic display (they probably had to patch every message manually with cords), it is darn impressive! I had no idea people thought of segmented displays this long ago. I guess, it really isn’t exactly rocket science, just never occurred to me they had the need. But here’s an illustration of the need, too: how would you like to climb ontop of the roof every time you need to change the message?

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