Early 360 machines (Was: Front panel switches - what did they do?)

Brent Hilpert hilpert at cs.ubc.ca
Thu May 26 12:33:36 CDT 2016

On 2016-May-25, at 6:14 PM, Jon Elson wrote:
> On 05/25/2016 05:31 PM, Noel Chiappa wrote:
>>     > From: Jon Elson
>>     >> I interned at IBM Bermuda, and they had a 360/20 as their main service
>>     >> bureau machine; it had (IIRC) ... a 4301 printer.
>>     > I'm guessing, maybe, that would be a 1403 printer?
>> Ah, right you are! The old grey cells are, well, old! ;-)
>> Those printers had an amazingly long life! They were first introduced in 1959
>> with the 1401 computer, and, like I said, the brand spanking new System 3
>> they got in ca. 1976 came with one! I wonder when IBM stopped producing
>> them?
> I believe IBM recycled them from retired machines for an amazing length of time.  Certainly, a number of 1403s were in use on 370 and even later systems.  I was recently surprised while digging at bitsavers to find out how ancient the 2821 controller was - all SMS cards and some very ingenious magnetic transformer tricks to do the address selection of the core stack with as few transistors as possible.  (The 2821 was the controller for the card read/punch as well as the 1403 printer family.)

A 1403 was in use at UBC for undergrad batch services up till the end of that service in 1979/80.

I used to get a kick out of pushing the button to raise the cabinet shroud. The big shroud would rattle and shake as the motor-chain drive raised it to expose the print mechanism, all while it continued to print, and the noise level would go up by some tens of db.

At least I presume it was a 1403, it looked like just like this:

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