Seeking disruptive tech

Eric Smith spacewar at
Wed Dec 10 21:48:07 CST 2014

On Wed, Dec 10, 2014 at 7:52 PM, Jon Elson
<jonathanelson at> wrote:
> On 12/10/2014 05:10 PM, William Donzelli wrote:
>>> Behind DEC's PDP-1, funky light brown paint and all, is presumably some
>>> contemporary innovation in packaging or fab process?
>> Actually, the DEC system modules used in the PDP-1 through the PDP-6
>> (I think?) were sort of a bad design. Expensive connectors, restricted
>> airflow, and towards the end they grew too large and unwieldy. The
>> Flip Chip was a huge improvement.
> Yup, the system building blocks were single-sided paper-phenolic
> boards with a crummy aluminum frame, and these blade-type
> connectors hand-wired to the board.  Germanium transistors,
> boards that were VERY easy to crack or damage when repairing,
> and I think no provision for airflow at all.

And yet in the late 1950s there weren't really any better logic modules
commercially available. It's unsurprising that early modules weren't as
good as later ones.

For all of the PDP-1's faults that are obvious today with the benefit
of hindsight,
it was still quite an amazing product at its introduction in 1960, especially
give its (then) low price.

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