Tubes & Computers of Olden Days

CSquared csquared3 at
Fri Feb 19 22:27:14 CST 2010

Roger Holmes wrote:
>> 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:
>>> 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
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
Buried deeply somewhere in my brain I actually did know that, but thanks 
for the clarification.  I'm afraid that since AFAIK it has been rebuilt 
as nearly as possible to the original schematics, I tend to think of it 
as equivalent to the original.  I've followed the restoration (errr I 
mean re-creation - there I did it again!) as best I could from afar and 
have the utmost admiration for all the work that was done and for all 
those who participated.  Even though I certainly agree it is a *new* 
colossus, I am still jealous of those who can see it in person.  I do 
enjoy the video bits though, and always enjoy reading about the work 
that was done.  For me, having a new colossus is just as priceless as it 
would have been to have had an original to restore.  It is one of those 
things that is *just so right* - truly a national treasure.  And that 
viewpoint is from a guy who has only been privileged to visit England 
once about 30 years ago...
Charlie C.

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