The Cybertub

When people are nostalgic for the 90’s internet, it seems like they’re often thinking about personal sites that are built around silly purposes. Being fascinated with this era means I get to stumble across these sites such as the Cybertub. This was a site created in the mid 90s just for measuring the temperature of a hot tub in Ypsilanti, Michigan. The Cybertub was created by Paul Haas in early 1994 and by the beginning of 1995, appears to have been getting 1000 visitors a day. The earliest coverage I can find of the site is from the Ann Arbor News in January, 1995. The article has an interview with Paul about how the Cybertub is just a fun little personal project that he made to make sure the hot tub’s water doesn’t drop to freezing temperatures, as well as other parts of his site like the temperature monitor for his fridge. The site seemed to have continued growing in popularity where even the New York Times covered the site in late 1995.

The site seems like it went down sometime in 2009, but luckily the Internet Archive saved it. Not only can you view the temperature of a hot tub during the mid 90s, but you can also check the temperature of Paul’s fridge and see the site that let you wave to his cats using a robotic hand.

I’m not sure when the popularity of the site started to decline but the legacy of the Cybertub lives on. At BornHack 2019, a hacker camp in Denmark, a large wood-fired hot tub used an internet connected temperature sensor, and if you look at the comments you can see someone from the camp thanking Paul. “I am proud to call Paul Haas one of early mentors. Thank you Paul.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *