Stanford's PDP-6 ( was Re: Hardware Hobbyists vs. Emulator Jockeys)

Al Kossow aek at
Wed Jun 17 15:17:28 CDT 2009

John Foust wrote:
> At 11:55 PM 6/16/2009, Brent Hilpert wrote:
>> Rich Alderson wrote:
>>> On the other hand, the last PDP-6 in existence was destroyed by the Computer
>>> Museum in Boston about 20 years ago, so you're one up there.
> I have one of his signed PDP-6 gift-shop cards and an email from Gordon Bell 
> saying these "To my knowledge, the museum has never engaged in gutting 
> machines for components"

There is also the Usenet posting which you forwarded:

 > From: amartin at (Alan H. Martin)
 > >Newsgroups: alt.sys.pdp10
 > >Subject: Re: Working for PDP-10 En
 > >Date: 21 Feb 1996 13:12:21 GMT
 > >Organization: DEC
 > >Lines: 27
 > >Message-ID: <4gf5nl$kun at>
 > >References: <DMJ1IM.MuJ at> <1996Feb14.164932.1 at> <aldersonDMsnx7.5vM at>
 > >NNTP-Posting-Host:
 > >
 > >In article <aldersonDMsnx7.5vM at> alderson at writes:
 >> >>In article <1996Feb14.164932.1 at> stevens_j at
 >> >>(Jack H. Stevens) writes:
 > >...
 >>> >>>How about trying The Computer Museum, in Boston? (also at
 >> >>
 >> >>Bad idea.  The Computer Museum has buried any interesting (read "36-bit")
 >> >>hardware.  They were given, for example, the Stanford Artificial Intelligence
 >> >>Laboratory PDP-6 in 1984, after it was shown at the Fall DECUS Symposia (for
 >> >>the 20th Anniversary of 36-Bit Computing).
 >> >>
 >> >>It has never been made available for public view; as far as anyone can tell,
 >> >>it has disappeared from the face of the earth.
 > >
 > >I'm hazy on dates, but if the 6 in question was donated before the museum's
 > >move from MR2 to Boston, you ain't likely to see it in one piece ever again.
 > >They had a garage sale of unwanted items in the MR1 cafeteria one Saturday
 > >before the move, and were selling a PDP-6 module-by-module.  An S6205K
 > >"Arithmetic Registers" module (1-bit slice of AR/MQ/MB/<light buffer>) went
 > >for $7, autographed by Gordon Bell.
 > >
 > >I asked him whether read-in mode was implemented as a diode array encoding
 > >instructions.  He said no, and kindly recommended the 6205 as a particularly
 > >central module to have, instead.
 > >                   /AHM
 > >--
 > >Alan Howard Martin                AMartin at TLE.ENet.DEC.Com
 > >

The 'garage sale' is documented in one of the Museum's reports

At first I thought this was the smoking gun, except it happened
in the fall of 1983 (the 6 was shown at DECUS in June, 1984).

They did disassemble more than one PDP-6 at that time according
to the article.

So, the short answer is they had PDP-6 modules, but not from Stanford's

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