View Full Version : Computing 40 years ago....

Terry Porritt
21-08-2002, 09:11 PM
The equipment shown in the photos at this website (http://www.cs.ncl.ac.uk/events/anniversaries/40th/images/kdf92/index.html) is almost identicle to the KDF9 set up we had at English Electric, Whetstone in the 1960s.

Note the size of the "input/output" equipment, and the paper tape flexowriters.

Chris Wilson
21-08-2002, 09:30 PM
OMG they had semiconducters even back then!

21-08-2002, 11:55 PM
I have core memory similar, 2k x 12 bit words, ex Burroughs E8000

22-08-2002, 07:21 AM
I wonder why web site authors can not prevent "eye whiplash" on text movement as the picture is getting downloaded, it is just so simple to cure and makes your web site look so much more professional.

22-08-2002, 10:30 AM
Even better.. though not quite as old..


Graham L
22-08-2002, 02:35 PM
Love the BRPE. Why's the sound cover closed ... could get paper jams like that? Was your papertape rewinder made from a hand-driven grinder too, Terry?

Terry Porritt
22-08-2002, 02:55 PM
LOL, yes, it does look like it.
The computer people didnt like non-operators or non computer techs poking their noses into the inner sanctum too much, so I wasnt familiar with the detail. Most of my contact was via the hatchway where we handed in work to be punched out, or to give them a "call" tape to call up a program on mag tape.

A few years later, I had a desktop German Diehl programable "calculator" with paper tape punch and reader, which was in fact quite powerful. It was possible to make endless tapes and for example iterate to solve finite difference equation problems in lubrication theory, and it could also do branching and loops.

Terry Porritt
22-08-2002, 03:36 PM
Please excuse another reminiscence...
When arriving at DSIR in the later 70s, I was a bit horrified at the homemade contraptions, but realised it was due to restrictions on overseas funds, so equipment was made in house rather than going out to buy. Thus the wheel was being continually reinvented.

I discovered that 10 years previously as a section head at EE, which was rolling in money relatively speaking, that I had had greater financial authorization, ie about 3000 pounds, than the Director Of Physics and Engineering Lab, who I think at the time I arrived had an entertainment allowance of up to $20/week, and some miserably small equipment expenditure authorization, maybe like $100.