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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > Star Trek - Original Series

Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old May 30 2008, 04:12 AM   #1
RobertScorpio
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TOS replicators?

My friend and I had a debate at work today. Were the food processors in TOS, like the one next to the transporter, or the ones they show in TRIBBLES in the dining area, were they Replicators and just called Food Processors?

And if they weren't replicators, and were food processors, then what the hell is a food processor???

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Old May 30 2008, 04:27 AM   #2
Swarles Barkley
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Re: TOS replicators?

Wondered about this myself. My take on it is that the food processors in TOS do not operate in the same way as the replicators in 24th century Trek, which, as I understand it, use something similar to transporter tech to reorganize matter at a molecular level into food and drink. In TOS, (I think it was in "The Squire of Gothos", but I may be wrong), the Enterprise crew seems quite impressed that Trelane has the ability to not only convert matter into energy and back to matter, but to change its form as it is rematerialized. So apparently such capabilities were beyond 23rd century Federation tech. Ergo, the "food processors" must work in a different way. Plus they got all gummed up with tribbles. That also suggests a more primitive mechanism.

So basically they were glorified Automats (for all you old farts out there).
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Old May 30 2008, 04:28 AM   #3
gastrof
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Re: TOS replicators?

On ENTERPRISE it was established that the food dispensers used base material and restructured it. Seemed to have its limitations.

What was used on the original 1701 seemed to be not much different.

Twenty-fourth century replicators seemed to be very much like the transporter, creating stuff by running energy thru "patterns", causing a material object to appear.

The object could be a dish of ice cream, a guitar, or anything in between.

The 1701 food dispensers seemed to be food only and much more limited in what they could do. Again, more than likely just a bit more advanced than what was seen on ENTERPRISE.
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Old May 30 2008, 04:51 AM   #4
Nerys Myk
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Re: TOS replicators?

I seem to recall Chapel having cards she could pop into a slot in the "food processor" when ordering ice cream for the kids in "And the Children Shall Lead". I assume the cards let the machine know what food and flavor she wanted.
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Old May 30 2008, 01:09 PM   #5
Timo
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Re: TOS replicators?

That's pretty much what Chapel said:

"All right, children. Each card is a different flavour. You take your pick, and the computer will mix your favourite combination. Now, what would you like? Call out your favourites."
Apparently, this is a game for the benefit of the children: each card will hold one known flavor, and either the other one is secret, or then the computer will do a lottery on what the other flavor should be. It's not how the food dispensers normally operate, of course, as it would not make any sense to dedicate an entire memory disk to just carrying the name of a single ice cream flavor, or a mix of two.

Normally, our heroes don't always insert a card. And when they do, it might contain their special dietary requirements, record their choices for later analysis and improvement, or act as a credit card.

As argued above, these devices probably differ from TNG replicators in operating principles, and are a bit clumsier in practice. Similarly, the ENT devices probably again differ in principle, and have a still narrower range of options. What our heroes would choose to call these respective devices is up to them, though, and not dependent on the technology behind the machine.

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Old May 30 2008, 02:18 PM   #6
The Squire of Gothos
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Re: TOS replicators?

Since everyone seems to eat little coloured cubes, they've either got very primitive replicators, or chef sits downstairs squeezing out and cutting up big tubes of Federation ersatz food.
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Old May 30 2008, 02:21 PM   #7
Christopher
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Re: TOS replicators?

According to The Making of Star Trek, the food processors took actual raw ingredients (stored and perfectly preserved by advanced methods) and processed them mechanically in a sort of automatic "kitchen" system, then delivered them to the food slots by dumbwaiter. Presumably when dishes arrived instantly, it's because they'd been prepared in advance and were just waiting to be delivered (just like an automat, indeed). The food cards probably represented the menu of available options for each day.

In the context of ENT and its "protein resequencers," it seems likely that the TOS-era system included those as well, that the raw materials were a mix of resequenced proteins and stored foodstuffs -- as was no doubt the case on NX-01 as well, but the job that was performed by "Chef" on ENT had been fully automated by the TOS era.
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Old May 31 2008, 09:41 PM   #8
EEE
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Re: TOS replicators?

The Squire of Gothos wrote: View Post
Since everyone seems to eat little coloured cubes, they've either got very primitive replicators, or chef sits downstairs squeezing out and cutting up big tubes of Federation ersatz food.
That does explain why the crew was so happy and doing cartwheels about getting the real turkeys that once.
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Old June 1 2008, 12:57 AM   #9
exalted one
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Re: TOS replicators?

Remember how the computer made a right boot way too tight for McCoy in "Patterns of force"? I guess there are at least industrial-grade replicators available.
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Old June 1 2008, 01:12 AM   #10
Christopher
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Re: TOS replicators?

^^The Making of Star Trek referred to clothing fabricators that chemically broke clothing down into raw fibers and then reassembled them into the desired shapes. But it wasn't a transporter-based system, so it couldn't be called replication.
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Old June 1 2008, 01:14 AM   #11
Kryton
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Re: TOS replicators?

Who's to say McCoy didn't have a fat foot that day?
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Old June 1 2008, 08:16 AM   #12
gastrof
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Re: TOS replicators?

Christopher wrote: View Post
...In the context of ENT and its "protein resequencers," it seems likely that the TOS-era system included those as well, that the raw materials were a mix of resequenced proteins and stored foodstuffs -- as was no doubt the case on NX-01 as well, but the job that was performed by "Chef" on ENT had been fully automated by the TOS era.
Actually, in both the first season TOS episode "Charlie X" and the film Star Trek V, Kirk's Enterprise is said (and shown) to have an actual kitchen and chefs. (In the former, they'd put turkey-shaped meatloaf into the ovens, only to find real turkeys cooking a while later. When Charlie heard they'd found them already, he giggled.)
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Old June 1 2008, 01:55 PM   #13
Timo
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Re: TOS replicators?

As for eating colored cubes, that could be 2260s haute cuisine for all we know.

Really, people today eat things that look far more disgusting, synthetic or bland, and think it makes them classier.

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Old June 1 2008, 02:13 PM   #14
Christopher
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Re: TOS replicators?

gastrof wrote: View Post
Actually, in both the first season TOS episode "Charlie X" and the film Star Trek V, Kirk's Enterprise is said (and shown) to have an actual kitchen and chefs.
The Making of ST covered this. It said that in addition to the mechanical kitchens, there was a section where crew members could prepare their own meals, as a form of recreation rather than a basic necessity. Presumably an occasion like Thanksgiving would warrant the personal touch to the cooking, even if they didn't have genuine turkey on hand.

Timo wrote: View Post
As for eating colored cubes, that could be 2260s haute cuisine for all we know.

Really, people today eat things that look far more disgusting, synthetic or bland, and think it makes them classier.
I often eat colored cube-like things with meals, and they aren't synthetic at all. They're diced fresh fruit -- pineapple, melons, that sort of thing. I tend to think of the colored cubes in TOS as diced alien fruits and vegetables.
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Old June 2 2008, 09:07 PM   #15
Redfern
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Re: TOS replicators?

Christopher wrote: View Post
I often eat colored cube-like things with meals, and they aren't synthetic at all. They're diced fresh fruit -- pineapple, melons, that sort of thing. I tend to think of the colored cubes in TOS as diced alien fruits and vegetables.
I'm not sure what to assume anymore, but years ago, I accepted the cubes at face value being the fruit slices they probably were (maybe alien as you suggested, Chris'). One can hear an apple or pear-like crunch in one or two scenes when Shatner ate them on camera.

Let us also remember the set-up to the "drink off" in "By Any Other Name". The Kelvans talk about getting their nutrients from pills and seems confused as to why the "E" crew would eat "this bulk material". McCoy get defensive and suggests he try it rather than knocking it. It can't remember, were Kirk, McCoy and Scotty eating those darn cubes or something a bit more "conventional"? I know the Kelvan's platter seemed to contain "normal" food. The scene would have been awkward and not made as much sense had Kirk and co. been eating "space pellets", if you know what I mean.

Sincerely,

Bill
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