Front panel switches - what did they do?

Cory Heisterkamp coryheisterkamp at
Thu May 26 08:24:34 CDT 2016

On Tue, May 24, 2016 at 4:43 PM, Sean Caron <scaron at> wrote:

> On Tue, 24 May 2016, Swift Griggs wrote:
>> It probably still impressed the suits when they walked the data center.
>> I've done data center tours with row after row of HP or Dell x86 servers
>> and it's not much to look at.
>> -Swift
> It's true, modern computers are pretty dull to look at, but you can still
> find some stunning views in the data center from time to time.
> A fair bit of what I manage is storage and I have several rows laid out
> such that there is basically nothing but racks of JBOD disk down all one
> side, or even both sides of an entire row. When my end users make the
> equipment sing, it's fun to switch off the lights on the floor and watch it
> dance.
> All the JBODs could be used as a crude dot matrix to spell out a phrase. I
> need to write a little script for that ... ;)
> Best,
> Sean
Swift, see if you can track down a digital copy of "Programming Univac
Systems - Instruction Manual 1". I think the copyright was '53. In the
hardcopy version there's a pullout of the complete control panel layout
with a description of every switch and indicator. The manual also goes into
enough detail to walk you through startup, the instruction set, and how to
operate the machine. Pretty cool stuff.

While the Univac II was essentially the same machine (but with core instead
of mercury), the control console became a little more refined and some
photos I've seen show a nixie tube display in place of certain lamps. I
never have found a reference to those refinements. -C

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