What's the rarest or most unusual computer-related item do you own?

Mike Stein mhs.stein at gmail.com
Wed Jan 18 16:21:42 CST 2017

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jeff Woolsey" <jlw at jlw.com>
To: "General Discussion: On-Topic and Off-Topic Posts" <cctalk at classiccmp.org>
Sent: Wednesday, January 18, 2017 2:59 PM
Subject: Re: What's the rarest or most unusual computer-related item do you own?

> On 1/18/17 5:57 AM, Mike Stein wrote:
>> A fine relatively rare machine, but not very useful without the other half, alas...  ;-( 
> Quite.   I did have the other half for a while, and it worked as well as
> we (philistines--college students having fun) thought it could.  We'd
> had enough fun with it and decided there wasn't anything more
> constructive to do with it, so we did destructive things to it.   We
> took it to pieces to see all the neat stuff in it.  I still have a
> couple parts, one being a cylindrical structure with lots of shafts and
> gears, and another being a short chain on a sprocket wheel/axle that is
> something to keep your hands busy when bored.
Yeah; that's basically a series F machine which was an incredibly complicated system of up to 18 mechanical registers and an accumulator and all the associated levers, springs and things. Had four of those and actually used one to compile a hit parade list for a radio program for a while...

For the E series they replaced the mechanical registers with rotary readout switches and moved the storage, calculation and programming to the electronic adjunct that you still have.

Although they were different in the sense that they were operated directly from the keyboard instead of from punched cards, they were similar in many ways to IBM unit record machines of the day; they both were decimal machines where numbers were represented by what part of the machine 'cycle' all the various gears or readouts were in. In the IBM world there were also electronic calculating adjuncts (602/604) but, being older, they used tubes.

It really is a shame that this area of early computing is so poorly documented... 
>> http://archive.computerhistory.org/resources/text/Burroughs/Burroughs.E1400.1966.102646238.pdf
> That's where I found out what model it was, though the printset differs.
>> The processor cabinets make nice work tables though...
> Mine's just holding stuff off the ground for now.
Actually, so are mine; one is holding up four heavy Cromemco boxes and two others are desks for Commodore PETs and Compaq servers...


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