Daves Blog

Daves Blog - I post items about our "Land for Sale by Owner" & "Chantilly Farm" & "Tiny Homes " and my interest Historical Computers. This is a continuation of my Blog about my historical Computer Collection. All 13,000 items in the collection are now located at the "Computer Museum of America" in Roswell, GA. I will continue to post Computer Museum news about microcomputers, hobbyist, robotics, computing, Bugbooks, Computers in the Old Bugbook Historical Computer Museum collection, & amateur radio staion N4USA .

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Vintage Computers -First PDP computers from Digital Equipment Corporation early 1960's

     
 
 Lyle Bickley tell story of how Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) started to make their first Minicomputers.

Digital Equipment Corporation DEC
DEC
Bugbooks
Bugbooks
How and why Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) started to make minicomputer in the early 1960's. DEC was already making digital modules for science and industrial use. These consisted of the usual AND , OR , NOR, NAND , NOT gates and various filp-flops. Other special modules were made for instrumentation as well. 

Having all this digital capability DEC engineers wanted to use the modules to make a computer. Management resisted this for fear of competition from big Blue (IBM).  Management finally gave in however the computer could not be called a computer it was called a "Programed Data Processor" or just PDP.  The first was the PDP1 soon followed by the PDP8. Folks began calling them minicomputers.

These early PDP computers  are in great demand by collectors however it is believed only 3 PDP1's still exist and the only one operational is at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.  Later models are available but the very early ones - PDP8, PDP8S are difficult for collectors and computer retro  folks to find. I was very fortunate to have acquired several original PDP8, PDP8S and PDP11/70 computers. My interest is more with historical microcomputers. The PDP minicomputers in the "Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum" have now been pasted on to other retro collectors of minicomputers. You will some of my past blog posting about these transfers/collectors.

PDP1 Minicomputer
PDP1 Minicomputer 
Photo of DEC PDP1 minicomputer at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.  Lyle Bickley (seated at the control panel) is on the PDP1 restoration team at the museum.  This is the only operational PDP1 in the world.

Video of the PDP1 restoration story by Lyle Bickley 'CLICK'

Photo L-R My wife Gaynell Larsen - Bob  Rosenbloom and Lyle Bickley. This visit was in October 2013.


KK4WW
David Larsen
Thank you Lyle Bickley for allowing me to make this audio story and publishing it on my blog post.  The recording was made while touring the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California --- lots of background noise however I found the story very interesting and I hope you do as well . Thank you for taking a look - listen.

 "by David Larsen"  KK4WW Computer Collector Historian   
   Send Message CLICK   Like us Click




9 comments:

  1. Hi there my name is Daniel J Weasner - I found an old digital Celebris GL 6200 computer out on the street of Welland. Everything is complete in the computer, except for the power supply, and the harddrive. I had an old power supply at my home, and have a couple of harddrives aslo. This computer came with old IBM memory. I have to reflash the bios to get it to post properly !
    Bye for now Danny !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Danny - An interesting place to find a computer - I do know a number of folks have found some good keepers by dumpster diving. A lot of good old junk has been put out for trash. Thank you for the comment and keep looking - Dave

      Delete
  2. Hi Dave I had a AMD 286 cpu on a I think a socket 7 motherboard in a digital small desktop computer box. The tranformer kick the bucket, and took the AMD 286 along with the motherboard ! Still have the empty DEC computer box, and I am looking for another motherboard for a replacement. I took the old burn out AMD motherboard to the computer store to recycle it !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi I am not sure just what computer you have but sorry to hear it went out on you and hope you find another mother board. Good that you recycled the old mother board. We all need to do more recycling. My wife and I are doing more here at the house. Thank you for reading my Blog. Dave

      Delete
  3. I found an old digital Celebrity GL 6200 computer out on the street of Welland. Everything is complete in the computer, except for the power supply, and the hard drive. Thanks for sharing this nice post

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi - You never know where a good computer find will show up. I have found a few myself by dumpster diving. Thank you for commenting and good luck with the GL 6200.

      Where are you located in MD ? I have children there.

      Delete
  4. Thanks.I have been a regular visitor of this site and I love reading blogs posted here.They are truly very well written,precise and to the point.

    Thin Client Hardware & Zero Clients

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ricky - thank you for the nice comment - I hope you can visit our museum in Floyd Virginia sometime. I do enjoy doing these blogs -- they do take me some time to compose but fun. Dave

      Delete
  5. Mini computers are always an interesting topic for me to read about its information.. I have read about them long time ago.. But your article interested me greatly... Enjoyed Reading thanx...

    ReplyDelete

I look forward to your comments and will respond.