Tubes & Computers of Olden Days

Roger Holmes roger.holmes at microspot.co.uk
Fri Feb 19 12:46:17 CST 2010


> 
> Gene Buckle wrote:
>> On Thu, 18 Feb 2010, William Donzelli wrote:
>> 
>>> 
>>> The chances of more tube computers coming out of the woodwork is very,
>>> very slim, but it has happened in the past few years. It is actually
>>> reasonable to think that someone could have an IBM 650 or Bendix G-15
>>> tucked away in a basement or garage.
>>> 
>> Here's one that last I heard was in service with the RAF:
>> 
>> http://199.254.199.10/BehindTheScenes/lockheed.html
>> 
>> The company that owned it was bankrupted by the training market downturn 
>> after 9/11.  It was sold in 2003.
>> 
> I'm pretty sure Colossus is running again at Bletchley Park.  I only 
> wish I could get over there to see it in person.  There are some youtube 
> videos available.
> Later,
> Charlie C.

To say it is running again is a little bit misleading. A huge amount of work was done by my fellow members of the Computer Conservation Society, including some of the people who designed Colossus in the first place and it is great to have it but Winston Churchill had the Colossi(?) broken up into small bits and so this is a replica, an extraordinarily correct replica but a replica all the same, therefore it is now running, not running again.

Apparently they had less problems getting the difficult bits working as the plans had been released from UK government archives, than the off the shelf 'commercial' items, plans of which had long since been lost except for the odd hoarder like me and probably you. Also thing like switches were available off the shelf, with a high priority job they had first call on things and selected Spitfire fighter switches which were then being produced in good quantities and good quality.

Roger Holmes




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