Visit the museum of Vintage Lasers and Holograms

Originally published at:


Dr Evil Laser GIF


The Museum of Holography in NYC is also worth a visit. I went a few times in the '80s and went again last year. The proprietor asked what brought me there – basically, he said, there was a 17-year period when holograms were cool but now the field (as an artistic medium) is long dead. In particular, nobody makes the best lasers for the task any more.

BTW this is pretty mind-blowing:


When I read “vintage lasers” in the title, it brought to mind my very first pocket laser pointer. It was an early production penlight device made by Applied Laser Systems in Grants Pass, Oregon in July, 1992.

It does still operate, using 2 AAA cells. Its semiconductor laser output is 3 mW at 670 nanometers wavelength.

At the time of its first sale, the volume price was over $100. That is, you had to be buying hundreds to thousands of them to get them that cheaply.

Nowadays, these things are very inexpensive and generally serve as good cat toys.


Not only are they so much cheaper, but their power supplies so much more svelte.

That pistol Arnold used in The Terminator in 1984 had a laser mounted on top. They had to run wires down the grip, into the sleeves, with a 10,000 volt power supply and a switch for the left hand to activate it.


Austin Powers Shark GIF by reactionseditor


That’s a bit of a mistake. If it was laser light, you wouldn’t get that multicoloured effect, because laser light is all one wavelength, due to how it is produced.

If you go back to the source you’ll see that the image was made with white light, but lasers are going to be used to manipulate the mirror. Very interesting concept.



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