Front Panel Update

Tue Jun 9 19:31:42 CDT 2015

Unisys   absorbed  Varian mini computers ie  the   V 77
nice  chart in this  pdf  of the family tree
by the  way the  purchase agreement  was  dated  1977 between  Uni and Var
 we have lots of manuals in the   catacombs.... unisys/varian/burroughs
Ed# _www.smecc.org_ (  
In a message dated 6/9/2015 3:45:11 P.M. US Mountain Standard Time,  
paulkoning at writes:

>  On Jun 9, 2015, at 5:58 PM, tony duell <ard at>  wrote:
>> WTF? Varian was a competitor of DEC. They  made minis themselves. Sounds
>> extremely strange that one would  take a DEC mini, and put a Varian badge
>> on it. Did someone try to  make a joke?
> I will always think of Varian as a maker of  (very high quality) vacuum 
> I am sure this was not  a joke. It wasn't just the name, the switch 
handles were all green, the  silkscreening
> was different, etc. It was a normal PDP8/e inside,  though. It was part 
of a piece of lab equipment (I forget
> what) and I  had to do a minor repair on the PDP8/e side (this was over 
20 years ago...). I  was pleased to
> see that apart from a custom interface board, the rest  of it was 
standard DEC boards, so the printsets I 
> had  applied.

Interesting.  Varian is a microwave equipment company; I  have one of their 
TWTs sitting on my H960 at home.  Vacuum equipment, I  could believe that.  
But yes, Varian made a 16 bit minicomputer; I had a  handbook for it at one 
time (now lost, I suspect).  And if memory serves,  the reason is that 
there was one in the Computer Science department at the  University of Illinois 
where I studied.  I remember nothing about the  architecture, other than the 
fact it supported user  microprogramming.

Possibly the OEM PDP8 predates that device.  Or  possibly it wasn’t enough 
of a competitor for DEC to stop doing OEM business  with Varian.


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