Wang Model 370

Rick Bensene rickb at
Thu Jul 16 16:37:56 CDT 2015

Earl wrote:
> A Wang Model 370 Calculating System with a Model 372 Data Storage
> System.
> Gotta say this is the oldest thing I've picked up (1967 it came out).   No
> idea if it powers up or not...
> Definitely needs a cleaning (basement, fairly dusty unit) but before I did
> anything, was wondering if there are any experts out there that have
> worked on one of these before who'd be willing to share any helpful hints
> on verifying this is working...

A great find!   However, if you just have the 370 keyboard/display unit and the 372 storage unit, it isn't of much use.

The 370 has to plug into a 300-series calculator electronics package, preferably a 362E (best), 360E (OK), or 360SE.
One of these serves as the calculator brains for the 370.
Also, to program the 370, you really need a model 371 punched card reader.  The 370 is programmed entirely by punched cards.  You can hang up to four 371 card punch readers (daisy-chained) off the 370 to make programs up to something like (IIRC) 320 program steps.    The 372 Data Storage System connects into the 370 keyboard unit as a peripheral to the calculating system.  It programs magnetic-core storage registers that augment the storage registers within the 300-Series calculating unit.  The 372 memory is addressed through a I/O instructions that are executed by the 370 keyboard unit.

Before powering any of it up, electrolytic capacitors in the power supplies of everything should be checked out, and reformed or replaced.  Check all fuses, and if any are blown, figure out why before proceeding.
Power up over a period of at least an hour slowing ramping up the power with a Variac.
I strongly suggest removing all circuit boards and cleaning both the circuit board edge connector fingers and sockets with a good contact cleaner like De-Ox-It.  Wang cheaped out and didn't use gold plated edge connector fingers or sockets.
Tin oxidizes and causes resistance that can wreak havoc on these machines.

I've got a working 370/371 system connected up to a Wang 362E Calculator Electronics Package in the Old Calculator Museum's collection.  It's quite a beast.  I  haven't had a chance yet to document on the museum's website, though.

The 370 was built as a rush-job to try to provide real programmability with looping and conditionals to the 300-series calculators after Dr. An Wang was invited to a private showing of HP's 9100A prototype.  Dr. Wang knew the days of the 300-series were numbered one the HP machine was on the market, so he rushed a project through to make the 370.  It really didn't do all that well and paled in comparison to the HP 9100A.    Along with the 370, Dr. Wang also redirected a project intended to allow Wang to compete with IBM in the computer marketplace to turn the computer that engineering was developing into a new programmable desktop calculator.  This ended up being the Wang 700-series, which were very capable machines, but still not nearly as elegant as HP's 9100A/9100B.  By the time the 700-series was on the market, HP had introduced the next generation (9810/9820) calculators, which, though larger, were very powerful.

Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions about your find.  I'm more than happy to help out however I can.

Rick Bensene
The Old Calculator Museum

More information about the cctalk mailing list