Back around 1983 I was experimenting with Voice Synthesis in software on a Commodore 64, recording phonemes and playing them back. At the health club I worked in I met a gentleman who was a saleman for the Detroit-based Votrax company that created the SC-01 Voice Synthesizer chip. When he heard I was an electronic hobbyist he graciously gave me an SC-01 chip (which retailed for several hundred dollars as I recall).
I went right to work building a small amplifier/buffering board for this puppy so I could plug it into the parallel port of my C64. I still remember how cool it was to piece together human-sounding voice from that little chip!