Interview with Jeremy Mehrle – Über Mac Collector

Recently a gallery of images of a basement that is part lounge and part museum surfaced on Flickr. I recently had a chance to talk to the man behind this undertaking and ask him a few questions.

Could you please tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Jeremy I’m a Video Editor, Graphic designer and 3D animator for a small production studio in St. Peters, Missouri.

How long ago did you start using Macs?

I’ve been using Macs since 2001 when the iMac G4 came out. I actually decided to start using a Mac when I got a Bondi Blue iMac off ebay to add to my small computer collection. After that I bought an original Macintosh form ebay and completely fell in love with the platform. Then at Macworld Jobs announced the iMac and I had to have one. I’ve been a Mac user ever since.

Did you start this as a way to display machines you already had, or did you aquire these Macs for this purpose?

Half of the machines I already had and half I bought just to display. The iMac wall and the Classic II bar were both purchased to display in that manner. The iMacs at the desks and the rest of the machines I had in my collection and I want to put them on display.

How long did it take to finish your basement display once you began?

Finishing the basement took a year and a half, but that’s mostly due to me trying to do it myself at the start and then hiring a bad contractor and finally a good contractor. The contractor and I spent most of the time wiring my house for CAT 5 network cable. The walls were the easy part. Putting all the computers on display and assembling the furniture took about a week. I had the bar assembled without the Classics II for a year while I tried to find someone selling a bunch in bulk. The bar is a scaled down of my original idea where I would have 3 whole walls of Mac Classics like at the end of the second Matrix movie (only I had the idea before the movie). With a raised backlit floor like in 2001: A Space Odyssey.” The amount of wiring and circuit breakers needed to pull this off became preventative. Not to mention finding that many Mac Classics.

How many machines are in the collection?

I have around 75 computers in the collection if you count the Classic II’s that make up the bar.

Do you intend to add to the collection? If so, which Mac are you looking for next?

I still want a Lisa I, an Apple III (although I had one once) and Mac TV for the collection. I have all the other collectable macs. Oh, I also need the case for my damaged NeXT Cube.

Outside of what you paid for the computers, how much did you spend on everything?

The shelving system and the the furniture probably cost me around $4000.00 so not too bad, that’s why I love IKEA.

What has been the reaction from friends and family towards the “museum”?

My friends like the collection because it makes for a great display when I have parties. Plus the iMacs still do pretty good at running Starcraft and Age of Empires II LAN games. My family likes it a lot, but I come from a father who has an extensive Ertl toy tractor collection.