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Vintage computers on display

Ian Harvey

An annual museum exhibition in Wall, New Jersey, has this year showcased a range of vintage computers and equipment from the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

Vintage computers [Via]

This year the Vintage Computer Festival East has exhibited a unique 1958 analog computer from MIT.

The computer, known as George, was built by George Philbrick in the 1950s. Since it was unique for its era and a first for computing, it was never given a formal name or model number.

Vintage computers A closeup of the vacuum tubes [Via]

Volunteers for the show spent many days and nights busy assembling the computer in the right way so that it could be exhibited. While it’s now fully complete and back together, it doesn’t actually function. Most museums tend to just ensure that any vintage computers in their collection are suitable for display, but the Festival aims to rebuild and refurbish all of its computers so that they can function.

The team of volunteers now hope to clean up the computer and try to get it working again in some respect. Their first task after cleaning is to update its 400 volt power supply to a more modern standard. (Arstechnica)

The computer is made up of several sections which are connected together with cables, with the functions viewable on the panel on each section. It is covered in cable holes to allow for all the connecting cables required to make sure each section can work with the others. The holes and cables are about the size we use for headphones today.

Each section had a specific purpose such as a multiplier and divider, and the arbitrary function.

Vintage computers Original 1976 Apple 1 Computer in a briefcase. From the Sydney Powerhouse Museum collection [Via]

Along with George, the Festival has a replica of an original Apple I and many other examples of early Apple computers. There are even robots that look like they’ve walked out of a 1970s science fiction epic.

The Mobile Digital Computer is also on display, which was created on a trailer and made it one of the first examples of a mobile computer. It needed two trailers to make it work since one would hold its computer, while the other would hold the power supply and generator which ran on petrol.

This mobile PC was funded by the US Military in the 1960s, since they wanted to look at ways to bring a computer to an issue rather than having to communicate long distances to solve a problem via telegraph or telephone.

Several versions were made, and the manufacturing company even produced some commercial versions.

Vintage computersPersonal Robot [Via]

 

Vintage computers Retrocomputing [Via]

 

Vintage computers Commodore PET [Via]

 

Vintage computers An Apple Lisa, one of the first computers to have a mouse and a GUI [Via]

 

Vintage computers The first Apple Macintosh [Via]

 

Vintage computers The first Apple Macintosh Portable [Via]

 

Vintage computers A Bendix G-15, a digital vacuum tube computer. It took punch cards and used magnetic reel to reel tape [Via]

 

Vintage computers UNIVAC 1100/2200 series [Via]

The Vintage Computer Festival East happens every April in Wall, New Jersey.