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Retrocomputing

I'm keen on old registering gadgets. For the most part, machines were made before 1982, however with a couple of special cases. A portion of these machines are notable and was industrially effective. Others have blurred into lack of clarity, regardless of having progressed to the cutting edge. 


I've attempted to give some specialized data of a couple of the intriguing machines. Shockingly I have relatively little ideal opportunity to spend on this undertaking. 


As a rule, nothing recorded on this page is being made available for purchase, except maybe the things in the exchange segment.

Hardware: Advanced Micro Devices  AT&T Alpha Micro Apple Atari Commodore DEC the digital group Electronic Product Associates Epson Fortune Systems Friden Heathkit HP IBM IMS Intel Linn Motorola National Semiconductor Netronics Non-Linear Systems Noval OAE Ohio Scientific Osborne Panasonic Processor Technology Rockwell Sage/Stride Scion Sun Tandy/Radio Shack Tektronix Terak Texas Instruments Western Digital Xerox Zenith


Subject: What is a PDP?

In 1957, Ken Olson and Harlan Anderson founded Digital Equipment

Corporation (DEC), capitalized at $100,000, and 70% owned by American

Research and Development Corporation. Olson and Anderson had designed

major parts of the AN/FSQ-7, the TX-0, and the TX-2 computers at

Lincoln Labs. They wanted to call their company Digital Computer

Corporation, but the venture capitalists insisted that they avoid the

term Computer and hold off on building computers.


With facilities in an old woolen mill in Maynard Massachusetts, DEC's

first product was a line of transistorized digital "systems modules"

based on the modules used in building TX-2 at Lincoln Labs; these

were plug-in circuit boards with a few logic gates per board. Starting

in 1960, DEC finally began to sell computers (the formal acceptance of

the first PDP-1 by BBN is reported in Computers and Automation, April

1961, page 8B). Soon after this, there were enough users that DECUS,

the Digital Equipment Computer User's Society was founded.


DEC's first computer, the PDP-1, sold for only $120,000 at a time when

other computers sold for over $1,000,000. (A good photo of a PDP-1 is

printed in Computers and Automation, Dec. 1961, page 27). DEC quoted

prices as low as $85,000 for minimal models. The venture capitalist's

insistence on avoiding the term computer was based on the stereotype

that computers were big and expensive, needing a computer center and a

large staff; by using the term Programmable Data Processor, or PDP, DEC

avoided this stereotype. For over a decade, all digital computers sold

by DEC were called PDPs. (In early DEC documentation, the plural form

"PDPs" is used as a generic term for all DEC computers.)


In the early 1960s, DEC was the only manufacturer of large computers

without a leasing plan. IBM, Burroughs, CDC, and other computer

manufacturers leased most of their machines, and many machines were

never offered for outright sale. DEC's cash sales approach led to the

growth of third-party computer leasing companies such as DELOS, a

spinoff of BB&N.


DEC built several different computers under the PDP label, with a

huge range of price and performance. The largest of these are fully

worthy of large computer centers with big support staffs. Some early

DEC computers were not built by DEC. With the PDP-3 and LINC,

for example, customers built the machines using DEC parts and

facilities.


The Online Software Museum provides "hands-on" access to simulators via telnet

Memoir of a Homebrew Computer Club Member by Bob Lash

Vintage Computer Festival

Al's Minicomputer Orphanage

Jim's Computer Garage

Steve's Code Archive

Rich Cini's Classic Computing Resources

Blinkenlights Archaeological Institute

Stefan's Computer Collection

The Old Computers List

The Retrocomputing Museum

Computer History and Simulation

Kevan Heydon's collection

Carl Friend's Minicomputer Museum

corestack.com retrocomputing

The Computer Museum (Boston)

Online Computer History Bookstore/Museum by Mark Metzler

The Computer History Association of California (CHAC)

The Historical Computer Society

The History of Computing (Virginia Tech)

The Jefferson Computer Museum, including info on Terak, the UCSD P-System, and more

Museum of the Department of Computer Science, University of Virginia

The Machine that Changed the World (WGBH television series)

The Virtual Museum of Computing

Nixie Indicators and Decimal Counting Tubes by Tom Jennings

Fine instruments of the past by Tom Jennings has information regarding the Teletype Model 28 and photographs.

Belgian Microcomputer Museum



Image of Retrocomputing