Where did these old (possibly 1990s) icons come from?
February 6, 2015 9:36 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone identify the origin of these icons?

I'm especially interested in the books (fourth from right) if they aren't all from the same source. I've been able to find them in a few places using reverse image search tools, but I'm wondering if anyone can pinpoint an early-mid 1990s program, OS, etc. where they were first used.
posted by pullayup to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
At first glance this reminds me of icons that would be in Windows Help.
posted by Buttons Bellbottom at 10:05 AM on February 6, 2015

That checkmark screams "Borland", but I can't place my finger on that particular set.
posted by JoeZydeco at 11:23 AM on February 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

The books remind me of WinRAR/WinZip type stuff.
posted by oceanjesse at 11:59 AM on February 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

The first four look like they're describing ways to view files - so possibly from a file manager? That page has a huge list and describes which ones have which features, so it might be a jumping off point if you want to figure this out the hard way.
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:23 PM on February 6, 2015

I'd drop this guy a note (if that's not you) since he's using them all and might know where they came from.
posted by jessamyn at 12:23 PM on February 6, 2015

I'd drop this guy a note (if that's not you) since he's using them all and might know where they came from.

Not me. The image I posted is actually a screenshot of that guy's site.
posted by pullayup at 12:47 PM on February 6, 2015

Looks like they're from some sort of programming development environment to me, and the content of the site you grabbed it from would seem to support that.
posted by ckape at 1:35 PM on February 6, 2015

The rightmost one: Yes, that checkmark is very much Borland's. However the application icon looks very much like Microsoft's default application icon. (The arrangement of buttons on the title bar of the generic application icon makes it Win95 or later; win 3.1 didn't have a close button; you had to double click the more-prominent application button in the top left)

I could have missed something for sure, but all the Borland icons I can find from that time show an application with an actual menu but no title bar buttons. But both Borland's checkmark and Microsoft's default application icon were very readily available for use and redistribution by developers. Sometimes I think it was hard for people to develop a Borland app that didn't have those stupid checkboxes all over. Anyway, I suspect that icon was made by a third party, neither Borland or Microsoft. It could certainly have been almost any app made with Borland tools. Or it could have just been something that guy jessamyn linked to made himself for his web page.
posted by aubilenon at 3:50 PM on February 6, 2015

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