Re-Used Props - Miscellaneous Equipment
by Jörg Hillebrand and Bernd Schneider
Many props of Star Trek were later modified or even recycled without changes to represent equipment for a different purpose or of another civilization. Here are quite a few examples of devices of which some defy a classification. Please note that every statement made here should be taken with a grain of salt. There is no need to seek for explanations. Certainly we are not supposed to watch closely enough to notice that the same props are used for just every conceivable purpose.
Nomad & Co
Nomad, the famous deadly robot from TOS: "The Changeling", was later redressed with a new spherical central section to appear as Flint's M-4 in TOS: "Requiem for Methuselah". We can see parts of Nomad also on the Romulan cloaking device in TOS: "The Enterprise Incident".
Dr. Graves has something in his office that looks like a primitive robotic dog (probably rather as a nostalgic decoration than as a display of his present work). The same prop can be seen in Ard'rian's house on Tau Cygna in TNG: "The Ensigns of Command". Here it is obviously meant to be something modern by the standard of the planet's technology, like the other robots that almost make even Data smirk.
The Exocomp from TNG: "The Quality of Life", one of the rather prominent props, reappears as a medical apparatus from the repair station in ENT: "Dead Stop", now painted silver. It has another appearance in ENT: "Future Tense" and as Xindi device in ENT: "Anomaly" (albeit it is just a picture this time).
Pralor body parts
in VOY: "Prototype" B'Elanna assembles the Pralor prototype unit using an arm of Johnny Five from the movie "Short Circuit". The foot looks like it is taken from "Terminator 2".
Artificial intelligence and more
The same device appears as the artificial intelligence in VOY: "Think Tank", as an unknown device in VOY: "The Voyager Conspiracy", as the photonic field generator in VOY: "Flesh and Blood", as the Malurian mining device in ENT: "Civilization" and as the central computer of the repair station in ENT: "Dead Stop".
The transparent dome of Lazarus' shuttle in TOS: "The Alternative Factor" was later re-used to cover the three Provider brains in TOS: "The Gamesters of Triskelion". A console was integrated into the existing hemispherical cut-out in the dome.
In TOS: "I, Mudd", "The Immunity Syndrome", "Obsession" and (modified) in "Elaan of Troyius" there is a strange strobing device that we call the "CD rack" because it looks like one (yes, we know there weren't CDs in the 1960's). The fourth appearance looks to have been modified with the orb thing from the Romulan cloaking device (later used in conjunction with Nomad to form the robot M-4 in "Requiem for Methuselah").
The pump from TOS: "The Devil in the Dark", a device composed of bars in a cylindrical arrangement, reappears in Norman's lab in "I, Mudd" and in McCoy's lab in "Obsession" (on the two latter occasions together with the "CD rack").
Sphere and pedestal
Three spheres (of which one would later act as the Romulan cloaking device) serve as receptacles for Sargon and his people in TOS: "Return to Tomorrow". The tripod pedestal of Sargon's sphere, now turned upside down, reappears on Mr. Atoz' desk in TOS: "All Our Yesterdays".
Treatment (torture) chair
The same chair can be seen on Tantalus in TOS: "Dagger of the Mind" and on Elba II in TOS: "Whom Gods Destroy".
Wheelchair & control chair
Admiral Jameson's wheelchair in TNG: "Too Short a Season", designed by Andy Probert, later appears in "Conspiracy" as the control chair Dexter Remmick sits on when he is killed by Picard and Riker.
Engineering rack & examination couch
A rack used for the construction of the prototype unit in VOY: "Prototype" later appears as an examination couch on Dr. Gegen's starship in VOY: "Distant Origin".
Alien & Starfleet reactor
The reactor stolen by the Gatherers in TNG: "The Vengeance Factor" seems to be essentially the same design as the reactor of the duck blind in "Who Watches the Watchers", only it is mounted sideways here. The device reappears on Valo II in TNG: "Ensign Ro".
Rutian inverter & Starfleet device
The Rutian space-folding would continue to be re-used in various forms in many later episodes. It can be seen in the warp nacelle in "Eye of the Beholder" and as USS Voyager's main computer processor in "Concerning Flight".
Alien & Starfleet field generator
Here is the alien field generator that Bashir takes to the Enterprise for closer investigation in TNG: "Birthright, part1". The prop was simply turned by 90 degrees and slightly modified to look more "Starfleetish" and to serve as Voyager's polaron generator (the one that causes the paradox in the first place) in VOY: "Time and Again".
Harvester annihilator & temporal field generator
The container devised to destroy the Harvester weapon in DS9: "Armageddon Game" was repainted, and additional antennae were added to serve as the temporal field generator on Golana in DS9: "Time's Orphan". On both devices the central part is extendable, to insert the Harvester cylinders and to activate the time portal, respectively.
Blinking tubes without function
This is the ultimate re-used prop, and there is not a single of its numerous appearances where its purpose would be explained or only hinted at. The fist time we see the blinking tubes is in the Regula lab in "Star Trek II". They are also visible in the Enterprise-A's shuttlebay in "Star Trek V".
Furthermore the tubes appear in a number of TNG episodes, like in TNG: "Datalore", "Suddenly Human" and "The Quality of Life".
The tubes also show up in VOY: "Retrospect" and "Inside Man". Finally the prop, now with blue light (because lately blue has become a more fashionable color for light effects), can be seen in Soong's hideout (with red tubes) as well as on the research station (with blue tubes) in ENT: "Cold Station 12".
The prop was not custom-made in the Star Trek Art Department, but it is available from a company called Modern Props. The prop is described as "dual generators with rotating neon lights inside an acrylic tube; light-controlled panel with knobs and buttons." It can be rented from the company, although we would expect the Art Department to finally build a similar prop of their own. The tubes appear in other science fiction series and movies as well, such as "V" (the 1983 miniseries), "Airplane II" (with William Shatner) or "The Last Starfighter".
The Romulan graviton field generator in TNG: "The Next Phase" will later be modified and reappear as a Federation cloaking device in "The Pegasus". After that, parts of the prop will be seen again as a Kinjal polaron modulator in the Voyager episode "The Void" and, coming full circle, as part of the arming mechanisms of a Romulan mine in "Minefield".
Chronodeflector & power generator
The chronodeflector shown in VOY: "Endgame" later serves as a power generator in ENT: "Precious Cargo".
A large glass (or rather transparent plastic) tube was used as a quarantine unit in ENT: "Cold Station 12" and as an agony booth in the Mirror Universe in ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly" (the latter inspired by the TOS episode "Mirror, Mirror".
Some screen caps from TrekCore. Thanks go to Simon Allen for spotting the temporal device from "Endgame", to Liquidcross who found the quarantine chamber re-use, to Leroy Brown for finding the re-use of the artificial intelligence from "Think Tank", to Paul I for spotting the device in "The Voyager Conspiracy", to Shawn Havery and Michael Minnick for spotting several more of the props and to Robert Heckadon for the hint about the transparent dome and the Exocomp!