LEO (1950)

Rod Smallwood RodSmallwood at mail.ediconsulting.co.uk
Mon Jul 16 16:17:23 CDT 2007

I just caught a part of a TV program showing pictures of and the use of
a computer called LEO.
It was made by and belonged to a UK company called Lyons. 
They imported and sold tea, ran a chain of tea shops and restaurants,
made and sold ice cream.
I should know, my father worked for them and we had our own ice cream
freezer just like shops.
Boy were we popular in the summer.!!
Any way LEO (Lyons Electronic Office) took four years to build and was
up and running in 1950.
They showed a large room with closed racks, a console with meters and a
scope of some sort.
Also a punch and printer machine room.
Two applications were featured. A tea blending system and a stock
control system for the tea shops.
The tea shop application was telephone to punched card in real time.
Each teashop had a phone in time slot.
>From there it printed picking lists, allocated the stock and even did a
van route setup with LIFO loading.  
It must have been all valve and would need cooling. However Lyons was an
ice cream company and refrigeration would not have been a mystery to
To quote an American actor "I have got to get me one of those!!"
Anybody know of another real commercial electronic computer before 1950?
Rod Smallwood

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