2023 Author: Gordon Kinson | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-06-01 01:17
British photographer James Ball, also known as Docubyte, has created a series of photographs that depict ancient computers in unexpected light. Ball says he always had a soft spot for the first machines that ushered in the digital age. “I love looking at vintage photographs of an entire room of computers and huge first computers on the Internet,” the photographer admits.
Despite his passion for old photographs, Ball decided to immortalize the first computers in a modern style and present them to the world in a completely new light. Going in search of future "models", he found that most of them are in museums. In official requests for permission to shoot, the photographer indicated that he intends to introduce the first computers in a hitherto unseen way. “I'm sure that my idea sparked interest in museums, which laid the foundation for the project,” says Ball.
Together with the production studio INK, the photographer created 10 stunning images, each accompanied by historical information about the computer depicted.
The Harwell Dekatron, also known as the Wolverhampton Instrument for Teaching Computing from Harwell (WITCH), was created in the UK in the 1950s. His work relied on relays and weighed 2.7 tons. Harwell Dekatron has twice entered the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest working digital computer. The Harwell Dekatron is now housed in the UK's National Museum of Computing.
The Pilot ACE is one of the first computers created at the British National Physics Laboratory in the early 1950s. It ranks among the first computers with stored program, along with the Manchester Mark 1 and EDSAC released at the same time.
The Pilot ACE was designed by the "father" of computer technology, Alan Turing, who left the lab before the project was completed. Pilot ACE ran on 800 vacuum tubes and was able to perform the operations with floating point numbers necessary for scientific research.
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The IBM 1401 is a variable length word processing machine. Released in 1959, the device was the first member of the successful IBM 1400 series to replace the punch card-based method.
In total, over 12,000 devices were produced, and some of them were used until the 1980s.
Used from the late 1950s to the mid 1960s, the legendary IBM 729 was designed for storing large amounts of data on magnetic tape. The length of such a tape was over 730 m, and it was wound on spools up to 27 cm in diameter.
EAI Pace (TR 48)
The EAI Pace is a desktop computer created in the early 1960s. True, the device 1.2 m wide and 0.6 m high differs significantly from modern desktop systems. Depending on the configuration, the weight of the computer ranged from 145 kg to 193 kg. Essentially, the EAI Pace is a table that can accommodate up to six patch boards.
The TR 48 was the most complete analog desktop computer of its time and was even used by NASA's Apollo program.
Control Data 6600
Designed by American engineer Seymour Cray, the Control Data 6600 is the first successful supercomputer to deliver up to three megaflops per second. From 1964-1969, the Control Data 6600 was considered the fastest computer in the world.
The ENDIM 2000 analog tube computer was manufactured in the German Democratic Republic. A total of 20 devices were released. The machine that has survived to our time is now in the Technische Sammlungen Dresden Information Technology Museum in Dresden (Germany).
The Meda 42TA was one of the last analog computers produced in the now defunct Czechoslovakia. The device was produced in the 1970s and was used in the USSR and the countries of the socialist camp.
HDR 75 is a small analog hybrid computer created in the German Democratic Republic.
The ICL 7500 is a series of terminals and workstations released by the defunct UK company ICL in the 1970s. In terms of its dimensions, the computer resembled a tower-type system unit, however, unlike it, it was located not vertically, but horizontally. The ICL 7500 series was designed for office use. By the 1980s, specialized versions of these computers made it possible to play the latest video games at the time, such as PacMan and Space Invaders.
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