Predicta?! -> philco computers

Brent Hilpert hilpert at cs.ubc.ca
Fri Oct 19 14:37:20 CDT 2007


Alexandre Souza wrote:
> > www.predicta.com
>     Dave, IS IT TRUE? I still cannot believe! :oD What is the price of a TV
> like this? Where is it sold? What a fantastic thing, these sets are
> absolutely BEAUTIFUL! :oD

Ah, the Predicta lives on (but where's my flying car?). In case you are
unaware, the original was the Philco Predicta from the late 50's. They were
quite the design statement but the originals had reliability problems and
(by some accounts) killed Philco the company. Very famous (or infamous) in the
vintage radio/TV community.

Bringing this on-topic, Philco was also an early transistor and transistorised
computer manufacturer (I guess they figured a good market for lots and lots of
transistors would be computers):

"In 1954, engineers at Philco Corporation invented the surface barrier
transistor, the first transistor suitable for use in high-speed computers.
Philco set up a computer activity—eventually a computer division—and in 1957
introduced the Philco Transac S-2000, the first large-scale, transistorized
scientific computer system offered as a product by a computer manufacturer."
See
<http://csdl2.computer.org/persagen/DLAbsToc.jsp?resourcePath=/dl/mags/an/&toc=comp/mags/an/2004/02/a2toc.xml&DOI=10.1109/MAHC.2004.1299658>
for a first person account.

I'm not familiar with what happened to the computer division with the demise
of Philco but it could be interesting to speculate as to what would have
happened to Philco computers if the Predicta hadn't killed the company.



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