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Tuesday, 14 August, 2001, 09:20 GMT 10:20 UK
Cult coffee machine sold
The Trojan Room Coffee Machine - one of the first live web cam broadcasts
One of the first live web cam broadcasts
After 10 years of brewing coffee live online, the Internet's most famous coffee-pot has been sold in an online auction for 3,350 ($4,771).


Time moves on and we want to buy a shiny new espresso machine

Cambridge computer students
The Trojan Room Coffee Machine was originally purchased by Cambridge computer students in 1991.

It was the only coffee maker in the building, and researchers would sometimes have to go up or down several flights of stairs to get to it, often finding it empty.

The researchers decided to attach a camera to it and broadcast its pictures on the net, so that anyone looking at the images would know whether making the trip to the pot was worthwhile.

Photo, courtesy of Trojan Room Coffee Machine site, with sign saying
Sold: The final webcam image
The percolator soon acquired cult status, with hundreds of thousands of people logging on to watch it on one of the first ever web-cam broadcasts.

The Cambridge computer department decided to sell the broken old pot because it is moving to new labs and the students want a new coffee-maker.

"Time moves on and we want to buy a shiny new espresso machine," the students wrote in their offering on auction site eBay.

It was bought by the German news magazine Spiegel Online, where it will occupy pride of place in the Hamburg offices and on its website.

Dan Gordon, a scientist at Cambridge University, was quoted by Reuters as saying the site had attracted more than two million viewers since 1993.

"Once, some American tourists called into the tourist information centre (in Cambridge) and asked where (the coffee-pot) was so they could visit it," Gordon said.

"They took lots of photos. It's not really very impressive though, it's just a coffee-pot."

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