Researching IBM rare equipment from 50s to 80s

Randy Dawson rdawson16 at
Fri Dec 14 16:09:09 CST 2018

I worked with an ex-IBMer who told me about this thing.

It was nick-named "The Noodle Snatcher" - with a puff of air it wiggled the mag tape and wrapped it around a drum for read/write.

It had a nasty habit of mis-handling the tape.

He told me that during a sales presentation  to a customer, this happened, it wrinkled the tape wrapped it around the drum, and then put the crumpled tape back in the holder.

The IBM salesman, without missing a beat, said, "and when it finds BAD data..."
From: cctech <cctech-bounces at> on behalf of Jay Jaeger via cctech <cctech at>
Sent: Friday, December 14, 2018 1:04 PM
To: cctech at
Subject: Re: Researching IBM rare equipment from 50s to 80s

On 12/14/2018 4:41 AM, Peter Van Peborgh via cctech wrote:
> Fellow geeks of more mature vintage,
> Do any of you guys know whether it is possible to find out to whom any IBM
> equipment was sold back in the day? (Still chasing IBM 2321 Data Cell - I
> never learn!)
> Many thanks,
> peter

Well, if your intention is to actually find one, can't help.

I do know that Wisconsin DOT had one back in the day, on an IBM 360/50,
but it was gone before I started work there.  I think that I have a
large negative of the beastie lying around somewhere.  No, it is not
stuffed anywhere.  Indeed the building that formerly housed it (and was
home for me during my career) was razed just this year.

In general, even if IBM still had such records, I am sure that they
would not release them, and doubt that they would be indexed in fine
detail such that you could find customers of any particular machine type
(unless they fed them to Watson ;) ).  Leased units would have been
turned back into IBM.  Purchased units would have been mostly traded in
and scrapped.

A Google Search found these instances of customer units (there may well
be more - I stopped after a few pages)


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