earliest graphics display system in your collection?

Brent Hilpert hilpert at cs.ubc.ca
Wed Apr 19 03:33:25 CDT 2006

Richard wrote:
> OK, what's the earliest graphics display system held by any of you
> collectors?
> "graphics display system" is anything that creates a graphics image
> with a display: calligraphic, storage tube, plasma, raster, etc.
> Block character graphics don't count (or I would include my Commodore
> CBM 8032 and all the stupid terminals :).
> My timeline goes like this, based on year introduced:
>     196?: Evans & Sutherland PS-300 terminal
>     197?: Tektronix 4010 terminal
>     1974: Tektronix 4014 terminal
>     1977: Hewlett-Packard 2648A terminal
>           Hewlett-Packard 1350A graphics translator
>     1979: Atari 800 microcomputer
>     1981: IBM PC CGA microcomputer
>     1983: Televideo TS-803 microcomputer
>     1984: Megatek Whizzard 1645 terminal
>           Diser Eve workstation
>     1984?: Tektronix 4105 terminal
>     1985: Sun 3/110 workstation
>     1986: Hewlett-Packard 2397A terminal
>     1988: NCD 14p X terminal
>     1989: Evans & Sutherland ESV workstation
>     1991: Evans & Sutherland Freedom accelerator
>     1993: SGI Indigo^2 workstation

Well, it's not like I have either of these in my possession, but perhaps they
count for additions to the list:

- early 50s: Whirlwind had a large CRT display attached to it, which would
become the graphics displays of the SAGE system.
Other machines of the era had CRTs attached for things like monitoring memory
accesses / machine state, but I suspect the Whirlwind display was the first
CRT display for actual graphical presentation of programmed output.

- circa 1980: The Comtal Colour Image Processing System (another piece of
equipment I haven't seen mentioned in many years). A desk sized unit with a
giant wire-wrapped backplane and CCD memory. Had an RGB monitor for display,
keyboard and trackball, and also connected to a host computer. I don't know
too many details but it could do various transformations and manipulations on
raster-based images that it held in the CCD memory, in real-time. Kind of like
the predecessor to the video-graphics-chip sitting between the main processor
and the screen of today's computers.

More information about the cctech mailing list