I wonder if Steve Jobs labeled my Apple II motherboard...?

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It's Saturday night, I'm home with a cold, the kids are asleep, and I'm surfing the net...when I come across a link to an article about Jerry Manock, the industrial designer hired by Steve Jobs back in early 1977 to design the case of the Apple II:

http://www.7dvt.com/2012jerry-manock-mac-designer

Included in the article (which, by the way, is a great read if you haven't seen it) is a scan of the actual contract signed by Jobs for Manock's work. Under his signature Jobs jotted down a brief calculation of balance due, and when I looked at his numbers it suddenly occurred to me they look A LOT like the handwritten serial number on my very early Apple II rev.0 motherboard.

The motherboard is serial number 1-120, which I believe is the 20th production board assembled based on Dan Kottke's comments in the past about numbering starting with 100 and from an old post on MacRumors from the original owner of 1-129 who believes his board is the 29th made:

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=954360

Anyhow, I always figured my board, like his, was stuffed by Woz himself and that the serial number was written on there by Woz.

But now I wonder...maybe one way Steve Jobs participated in the assembly of these earliest boards was helping to bench test and then mark them with the serial number?

I doubt Woz himself would even remember such a detail if asked. So it's just something fun to muse about. I've thrown together a rough montage jpeg showing the similarities between the two examples. See attached.

Howie

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Handwritten Apple II serial no.jpg576.92 KB

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Re: I wonder if Steve Jobs labeled my Apple II motherboard...?

epoxy2600 wrote:

I doubt Woz himself would even remember such a detail if asked.

Shoot him an e-mail. Woz is cool like that.

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Re: I wonder if Steve Jobs labeled my Apple II motherboard...?

I'd love to email Woz and ask him, but I don't know how; woz.com website has a statement saying he's inundated with emails and has a request that people hold off from sending more. (Although I'm sure he gets tons every day regardless). Then again, I think that message has been on the site for over a year now...so...

Can someone PM me with his email address so I can try?

Thanks,
Howie

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Re: I wonder if Steve Jobs labeled my Apple II motherboard...?

Its good to see the popularity of woz increase in recent times. It will continue to do so till it eclipses that of of jobs, a mere shadow of greatness.

Woz did all the technical work, while jobs just sat around and say, "let's sell that!"

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Re: I wonder if Steve Jobs labeled my Apple II motherboard...?

Hmmm. While I didn't care for his style or lack of interpersonal abilities, it would be an error to underestimate SJ's talent and skills. I would say that his strong points lie in interface design and emotional servicing with his product design and execution.

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Re: I wonder if Steve Jobs labeled my Apple II motherboard...?

epoxy2600 wrote:

Anyhow, I always figured my board, like his, was stuffed by Woz himself and that the serial number was written on there by Woz.

But now I wonder...maybe one way Steve Jobs participated in the assembly of these earliest boards was helping to bench test and then mark them with the serial number?

I´ve spent a little time to take a very careful look at the picture and i´m sorry that several indications lead - at least me - to the guess that you might get disappointed....
at beginning remark is, that just comparing numbers is rather difficult due to the fact that in graphology for statements usually a larger base of data is used....
but there are several differences:
first if you take a look at the "1"s : those from steve are written top to down with a vers small bow and "lifting uptail" of the pen at the bottom end resulting small "tails" to the right... the serial "1"s are without that slight bend and seem to be written bottom to up and without that bend ( i.e. very straight ).....
second if you compare the "2"s those from steve are again written top to down and the down of the 2 is very straight and the bottomline again is very straight... and at the beginning of the top the "entry" where the pen hits the paper first there is little more ink ( like a very tiny darker point ) and the bow of the "2" is rather rounded... and for example the "2"s in the writting of jobs ( there are several "2"s in the doc all tend at the "bottom-line" to "lift upward" at the end instead of the "2" in the serial that clearly is directed downward to the bottom at the end....
compared to the "2" at the serial the "straight parts" have more "bowing" downward and at the bottom line and the "entry-point" seems to be at the bottom ( look very close to the end of the bottomline and recognize the darker amount of ink there where the pen hits first the paper ? )
and third is to the "0"s too: the zero from steve is more and smother rounded at the top while the compared zero at the serial has its smother rounding at the bottom and an early "lift-off" at the right top....
and just even the straight lines compared as in the "-" or "/" at jobs writting are "very straight" and more accurate to the "straightness" than the "straight lines" in the serial in themselves... just even in the "-" with a "lift-off" slightly to the top.....

therefor my guess would be, that both writings are from different persons... i just even would guess the one to be right-handed and the other to be "left-handed" due to the difference of the writting orientation....

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Re: I wonder if Steve Jobs labeled my Apple II motherboard...?

Hi speedyG, while my curiosity about the serial number was enough to motivate me to throw together that comparison image, it was more of an amusement thing, and I didn't expect anyone to give it much thought or analysis. But since you did, thanks! And it's interesting to read your opinions. In the spirit of fun, I have some counter-arguments:

speedyG wrote:

I´ve spent a little time to take a very careful look at the picture and i´m sorry that several indications lead - at least me - to the guess that you might get disappointed....
at beginning remark is, that just comparing numbers is rather difficult due to the fact that in graphology for statements usually a larger base of data is used....

Yes, I definitely agree that with only a mere few handwritten numerals to compare with, this is far from meeting any kind of serious analysis. But it seems like examples of Jobs' handwriting, with the exception of his signature, are very hard to come by. So again, this is more speculation than anything else, but hear me out...

speedyG wrote:

but there are several differences:
first if you take a look at the "1"s : those from steve are written top to down with a vers small bow and "lifting uptail" of the pen at the bottom end resulting small "tails" to the right... the serial "1"s are without that slight bend and seem to be written bottom to up and without that bend ( i.e. very straight ).....

What struck me about the "1"s, and all numbers in fact, was the slight rightward angle they were written. In fact the "1"s in both examples seem to be close to the same angle. I think that is consistent with being from the same hand...my "1"s for example are straight up/down. I don't agree that the digits appear written "bottom-up"...I think the spot of darker ink at the bottom is not where the pen first touched, but rather where it paused before lifting, such as if the digits were written slowly and deliberately since this is a label. I don't believe many people write bottom-up anyhow (maybe I'm wrong?). I also think that "lifting uptails" could occur when digits are written casually, for example as part of a calculation, rather than cleanly without such artifacts, again such as a serial number label.

speedyG wrote:

second if you compare the "2"s those from steve are again written top to down and the down of the 2 is very straight and the bottomline again is very straight... and at the beginning of the top the "entry" where the pen hits the paper first there is little more ink ( like a very tiny darker point ) and the bow of the "2" is rather rounded... and for example the "2"s in the writting of jobs ( there are several "2"s in the doc all tend at the "bottom-line" to "lift upward" at the end instead of the "2" in the serial that clearly is directed downward to the bottom at the end....
compared to the "2" at the serial the "straight parts" have more "bowing" downward and at the bottom line and the "entry-point" seems to be at the bottom ( look very close to the end of the bottomline and recognize the darker amount of ink there where the pen hits first the paper ? )

Interestingly, I find the "2"s to be the strongest point that made me think this might be his writing Smile Reason is that the "2"s all have a long straight diagonal descent that comes to a sharp point (not a loop as many would write a "2") that ends up farther left than the starting point above it, before heading to the right. I agree the last horizontal part is curvy in the serial number while straight in the comparison that I copied & pasted, but as you pointed out there are several "2"s to choose from and in fact one DOES show the hint of an up/down wave. And again, I don't think the slightly darker bit of ink at the end suggests that the author of the serial number writes his "2"s right to left and bottom to top...that would seem more than a little unusual to me.

speedyG wrote:

and third is to the "0"s too: the zero from steve is more and smother rounded at the top while the compared zero at the serial has its smother rounding at the bottom and an early "lift-off" at the right top....
and just even the straight lines compared as in the "-" or "/" at jobs writting are "very straight" and more accurate to the "straightness" than the "straight lines" in the serial in themselves... just even in the "-" with a "lift-off" slightly to the top.....

I actually think that the narrow oval shape of the two "0"s being compared are remarkably similar, and again the nearly identical angle that they lean is (to me at least) uncannily similar suggesting a common handwriting style. As far as the "lift-off" near the top of the serial number "0", I think that is just a spot where 34 year old ink has worn off, not a feature of how the numeral was originally written.

speedG wrote:

therefor my guess would be, that both writings are from different persons... i just even would guess the one to be right-handed and the other to be "left-handed" due to the difference of the writting orientation....

Your points are well appreciated; I wouldn't bother thinking about counter arguments if I didn't respect that you'd given this some thought. I think one interesting exercise is to grab a piece of paper and pen, and quickly jot down "1-120". When I do this, I am struck by how much closer the two examples under comparison are to each other than to my writing. Given that in the early days of 1977 when this board was made, it most likely would have been Woz, Jobs, or Mike Markkula who would have labeled this board. For that reason I find the evidence compelling.

But hey, honestly, if it ain't Jobs' writing, it's probably Woz's, and I'll accept that with a huge smile as well.
If turns out to be Markkula, that wouldn't be as cool.

Howie

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Re: I wonder if Steve Jobs labeled my Apple II motherboard...?

Hello Howie,
at several points i do agree that it´s anyhow useless to really be taken for serious.... i also didn´t recognize within any former published text a part that would mention if "one of the three" is righthanded or lefthanded and therefor it probably might only be researched by photographs, where for example probably the solderingirom might be at the right side from Woz instead of the left side as indication or with which hand steve jobs grabs an item....
but allthough some points are just amateur guesses ... some are not: for example the thing about the "tails" and the darker part of ink at the "touch-down" of the pen... this i learned from a friend of mine working at the BKA in Germany ( a similar to the FBI - and he specialy is located in a forensic dept. similar to CSI at the police.... ) ..... he gave me few years ago a short brief introduction to graphological basics, while we were discussing a case he had, that was related to a handwritten testimony that turned out to be faked...
another point you just mentioned is the unusual orientation - but that exactly is a difference resulting from beeing righthanded or lefthanded... just watch how a left-handed person writes and you´ll recognize the differences very fast.... another point my friend spotted out in that brief introduction is the so called "familiar-exercise" ... an accountant might probably write numbers with more flux than a person that usualy writes text - and vice versa.... ( this regards specially to the "2" in the images and i´d guess the 2 in the serial to be less "familiar" with writing "2"s than those written by Steve Jobs ... his "2"s are very clear with "smooth fluence" - the "2" in the serial isn´t at all ... at the "top bow" the fluence is missing totaly... ) and a person that has written a lot of text has more fluence in the written text that a person that works with a keyboard.... and - this is a key to graphology : some character issues have influence to the manor of writing... people with more adressing to precesion or pedantic write with more readable precesion rather than persons with less attitude to this characteristics and a person with less schooleduacation would rather more be "drawing" alphabet instead of writing with fluence....
- but just as i also had explained - i´m far away from claiming to be well known with graphology and just spotted out some guesses.... just take it for a brief thought at the evening in a discusion with a gless of wine beside...
sincerely speedyG

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