Glorious collection of control panel photos


Originally published at:



if you are into Control Panel Porn, I suggest a visit to the MODERN PROPS website:

The site is a terrible 1990’s thing but if you follow the directions and Search for a Category, choose “Fabricated Electronics” and go from there. I once visited the place in the late 1980’s and was stunned at all the stuff they had. I can always spot Modern Props rentals in the background of TV Shows and Movies.

If I could, I would make tons of these rack-mount fake displays and fill a room of my house with them.



Thing of beauty, really:


You could do some serious encabulation with these.


Primary photo: EMS VCS3, a.k.a. the “Putney.”

Oh how I have longed to own you, lo these many years now stretching into decades.


And retro-encabulation, while avoiding cross-fumbling!


OMG! Thank you!

This rack is in EVERYTHING: WilhelmRack

Seriously, it’s like the Wilhelm Scream of sci-fi background dressing. It’s in the first episode of Firefly. It was all over the place in the various Stargate shows. It was on the bridge of the new Battlestar Galactica, which isn’t really all that new anymore. I shows up in all of the SyFy shows (Eureka, Killjoys, Dark Matter, etc.) and most of the terrible movies they were making. It’s in just about every ‘lab’ area in Agents of SHIELD, only it appears to have gotten newer displays, as that middle one is really very 1024x768.

I might be a little obsessed with it.


The Modern Props site is down at the moment.

Maybe the server is an empty box with flashing lights on the front.


I have one of these squirreled away in my basement:

Every time I see it, I want to upholster all my electronics.


I wish I’d had the chance to make a photo of the breaker panel I stumbled on in the basement of a retail store years ago. The box was ordinary but it had been snarkily annotated with markers, crayons, scratches, etc.

My favorite went something like: “If you want to flood the north basement again, by all means, shut off this breaker ====>”


We get these posts, what, quarterly?


I wasn’t paying attention last quarter, so I’m happy to see it.


I turned my control panel fetish into a lifetime of modular synth building.

Sometimes I make music. But mostly I look at dials and gauges.


As times go by…

… all silicon returneth to the sand.

Nah, I whish. Panelpr0n might be nice and retro, but the bloody shit from the cold-war period is mostly problematic landfill nowadays.


And tape drives! Gotta have tape drives to prove that it’s a computer.


Or slogging its way up and down the Trans-Siberian.


I know, right? What a lazy bunch. Like it would kill them to post these monthly.


Love obsolete control rooms! (They’re always retro, even in service, because you never get the chance to take them down to do them over.)

I was an engineering lead on the crew that designed this one - there were six workstations just like that one, plus more stuff up in the supervisor’s mezzanine. Pic taken just before that room was decommissioned in 2009:

Eventually, all the racks come to look like this:

and the facility itself will come to look like this:


Wait, this happened in just nine years?

I’ve seen WW II bunkers in better shape. And unused Libyan-build police stations in sub-Sahara Africa, too.