The Geek Atlas: terrific tech shrines that every geek should see

This new book outlines the best places in the world for nerds and geeks to visit before they die. We selected some favorite places, including the HP Garage, the MIT Museum, and da Vinci's last home.

HP Garage, Palo Alto, California



When Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard decided to "make a run for it" and try to build their own business, they found a house for rent, complete with a garage, in Palo Alto. Dave Packard and his wife, Lucile, lived in the ground-floor apartment, and Bill Hewlett got to tinker in the garage and sleep in a shed.

Hewlett and Packard's first product was a simple audio oscillator, dubbed the Model 200A to make it sound as if the newly formed Hewlett-Packard (or HP) had been in business for a while. The Model 200A undercut and outperformed other oscillators on the market, and Walt Disney became an early, happy customer. The cheap audio oscillator was assembled in the garage, with the paintwork for its case baked on in the oven tended by Lucile Packard. Lucile also worked at Stanford University to help support the startup, and in the evenings she did all the domestic work and handled Hewlett-Packard's correspondence and bookkeeping.

In 1989, the house at 367 Addison Avenue was dedicated as the Birthplace of Silicon Valley. In 2000, the Hewlett-Packard company bought it and restored the house, the garage, and the shed. The HP Garage is not open to the public, but is easily photographed from the street.

Photo courtesy of Ger Muller, Wikimedia Commons.

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