len at shustek.com
Wed Jun 17 21:53:24 CDT 2009
> From: Al Kossow
> Sent: Wednesday, June 17, 2009 8:32 AM
> I'm resending this with a revised title so someone has a chance of finding
> this again in the future. I sent a similar message to alt.sys.pdp10 when
> the subject came up last time.
This issue resurfaces every few years. My first post related to it
was to alt.sys.pdp10 on 2/28/1996 2:54 PM. The last time I saw it
discussed was February of 2006. I have various messages on the
subject in my email archive, including those between Gordon Bell and
Rich Alderson in 1999.
This supposed dismantling of the Stanford PDP-6 predates even my
tenure on the board of The Computer Museum, which started in 1995, so
I can't make a personal testimonial. But like Al, I've searched the
files and spoken to people who were there. I have no evidence that
it is true, and I have gotten multiple declarations that it is
false. See, for example, the email below from Gwen Bell to me in 1999.
I don't know what else we can do. I'm sure this is not the last time
it will be discussed. In my 1996 posting I said,
> It pains me to read some of the recent comments about TCM's collection
> policy. I can't answer any of the complaints about specific items,
> because I wasn't involved. I do know, and this comes mostly from
> getting to know the Bells, that preserving computers in the context of a
> financially sound organization that can survive our lifetimes is their
> main priority.
And it is ours still today.
Chairman, Computer History Museum
>Date: Sun, 25 Apr 1999 19:09:13 -0800
>To: Len Shustek <len at shustek.com>
>From: Gwen Bell <bell at computerhistory.org>
>Subject: Re: [Fwd: The Computer Museum did WHAT????
>Cc: gbell at Microsoft.com
>The story of the "sale" of the PDP-6 boards is pretty simple. The
>original Museum was in the MR-1 and MR-2 facilities of DEC. These
>were the engineering/manufacturing locations for the PDP-6. The
>Museum had access to the "trash", the boards that were discarded
>for use in the computers to be sold. We held them and sold them
>at a single yard sale. I can get the VPs and Engineers in Marlboro
>at the time to attest to this version. The Museum did not "strip"
>any workable PDP-6 machines, these boards were already "surplussed",
>whatever that meant ... but they were not used. And, like the Apple I
>boards that we not sold, they would have been shredded and recycled.
>This can be attested to by Alan Kotok (part of the 6 project now at
>MIT), Ulf Fagerquist, who was engineering head of large computers,
>Bob Glorioso, as well as Gordon who was their boss at the time.
>The Museum folks essentially scavenged the bays of boards that were to
>recycled or just discarded in the dump to sell to "collectors." This
>was clearly a market or purpose that the company did not see. But
was approved for the purpose of history .. and building a body of
>other collectors and establishing collectables, something that happens
>for all kinds of technology museums.
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