Orbit x-y Ball Tracker Xerox Star Mystery mouse - wheels instead of a ball Hawley Mark II X063X Lisa mouse Gibson light pen Logitech P7 Mouse Systems Optical M1 Mac M0100 serial Tablet with stylus Microsoft 'Dove bar' Internet scroll mouse Kensington Trackball notebook Trackball joystick 2-button mouse scrolling 2-button mouse NeXT mouse Kidz mouse Macintosh mouse




ORBIT X-Y Ball Tracker

Orbit Instrument Corporation made this homely old heavy heavy-duty Trackball. Orbit said that this trackball was issued in 1966. It was installed in a control panel in a Military Air Traffic Control Tower as in the air traffic control photo below.

Orbit Instrument Corp. specializes in products for the Military and Air Traffic Control Systems that require a high degree of operational reliability over extended periods of time. The top plate is approx 8" x 8" and weighs approx 4lbs. The ball looks like an 8 ball. This will not hook up to a PC.

It seems a logical leap for the bright former naval radar technician, Doug Engelbart, to invent the first mouse in the mid 60s...

On the right are some scans of this pre-mouse. A ball mouse, after all, it just a trackball upside down—much smaller than this one.

The label says:
Orbit Instrument Corp.
ORBIT X-Y™ Ball Tracker
PART No. [handwritten, illegible]
SER. No.[handwritten, illegible]
a white field for more ID [handwritten, illegible]

Notice that the trademark symbol is subscript rather than superscript. The O in Orbit encloses a crosshair (+). A rocket tail and rocket off the O complete the logo.

The file name "AIRTRAFC" for the below photo [from MS Office 97 clipart] is its only identifying information. Note the round display screen and the person using a trackball to maneuver (the cursor?). [larger view]

MS Office 97 clipart labeled 'AIRTRAFC' - no date

top of the ORBIT X-Y Ball Tracker
The top of the approximately 8" square ORBIT X-Y Ball Tracker pointing device.

side view of the Orbit X-Y Ball Tracker
The bulky ORBIT X-Y Ball Tracker recessed into a counter top. This is the view from below.

label says 'ORBIT X-Y Ball Tracker'
Orbit label [text transcribed left]