Oldest original proper computer (stored program etc)
roger.holmes at microspot.co.uk
Mon Oct 18 12:46:52 CDT 2010
I have looked it up again and what I was referring to was CSIRAC, in Melbourne.
> Is your 1301 older than TNMoC's Elliot 803? I'm pretty sure that's 1962, too,
> but I'm not sure which month...
The 803 is another project of the Computer Conservation Society and the chap who told me my machine was the oldest (Rod Brown) had just come back from a committee meeting of the CCS, so I presume they think mine is older but I would not like to argue that point, I was only nine years old myself in 1962. I know my 1301 was installed in time for program development to be finalised before it went live to handle the University of London's undergraduate matriculation in 1962. The reason the University got a prototype machine was that they threatened to tell the world there would not be any new undergraduates in 1962 and that a company called ICT was responsible. A machine destined for internal software development was quickly diverted to the university. Every few weeks a team of engineers would take over the machine for few hours and implement the changes made to all the other six prototypes at GEC telephones Coventry and ICT Putney and maybe elsewhere too.
I am not interested in machines which have not been powered up for more than a year, even if they were operational when stored, the likelihood of them working when turned on again is low. Expansion and contraction, static electricity, chemical reactions especially in old electrolytic capacitors take their toll. Computers were built to be used, one which cannot be operated is no more interest to me than the hull of an old ship. I love the wonder of small children when they see how big, heavy, noisy and yes, smelly old computers used to be than the modern things they are used to. I love getting them to type their name on a Teletype, feeding the tape into the computer and have it print their name in legible tape (aka ClearWrite). Later on I hope to have it print their name on the 600lpm line printer, maybe in some fancy way with big letters made of lots of small letters or some such. Next year I might make it punch a legible card as that now works once more.
Thanks for your thoughts.
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