IBM 2401, 1964
IBM 729, 1956

Guide to Computing

Computing Machines 1945-1990

“There was a time not so long ago when computers were not thin, stylish, devices you slip into a pocket or wear on your wrist, but enormous, fabulous machines with flashing lights and spinning fans. These behemoths filled rooms and captured imaginations with their promise of the future.

Docubyte’s ongoing series Guide To Computing is a love letter to the technology of yore. His bright, colorful photos bring a graphic look to computers from the 1940s to the 1980s and remind you of just how prescient Gordon Moore was. That MacBook in your bag or Nexus in your hand is the distant relative of the Harwell Dekatron that weighed 4,500 pounds and used punch tape.

CONT

His delightful images present every dial, button and screen in exquisite detail. The computers in Guide to Computing are quaint—slow and stodgy by today’s standards—yet fascinating. They are the precursor to the machines so central to your life. Appreciate their importance, but also their beauty.”

Jenna Garret, Wired

docubyte Guide to Computing IBM 360/195, 1969
IBM 360/195, 1969
docubyte Guide to Computing EAI Pacer 700, 1974
EAI Pacer 700, 1974

“In the future, computers may weigh no more than 1.5 tonnes.”

 Popular mechanics, 1949

docubyte Guide to Computing BESM-6, Soviet Supercomputer, 1968
BESM-6, Soviet Supercomputer, 1968
docubyte Guide to Computing IBM 7090, 1959
IBM 7090, 1959

“You’re a very impolite machine I must say…but he’s an awfully rapid calculator.”

CBS’ Charles Collingwood, Election Night, 1952

docubyte Guide to Computing UNIVAC 1 Console, 1951
UNIVAC 1 Console, 1951
docubyte Guide to Computing Solartron Minispace, 1958
Solartron Minispace, 1958
docubyte Guide to Computing Telefunken RA1, 1955
Telefunken RA1, 1955
Xerox Alto, 1973

“…you had already stolen it!”

Bill Gates to Steve Jobs on their ‘collective borrowing’ from Xerox

docubyte Guide to Computing IBM 360, Model 20, 1964
IBM 360, Model 20, 1964
docubyte Guide to Computing HDR 75, 1975
HDR 75, 1975
docubyte Guide to Computing Telefunken RAT 700/2, 1959
Telefunken RAT 700/2, 1959

“Never trust a computer you can’t throw out of a window”

Steve Wozniak

docubyte Guide to Computing ICL 7500, 1970
ICL 7500, 1970

‘Select card reader and catch fire”

An enlightening software failure of the ICL 2900/7500 mainframe series ,  from ‘An ICL Anthology’, by Hamish Carmichael 1996

docubyte Guide to Computing Pilot ACE, 1950s
Pilot ACE, 1950s
docubyte Guide to Computing Scientific Data Systems (SDS) 920, 1962
Scientific Data Systems (SDS) 920, 1962
docubyte Guide to Computing

“Last week, Control Data … announced the 6600 system…I fail to understand why we have lost our industry leadership position by letting someone else offer the world’s most powerful computer.”

IBM President, Tomas Watson, internal memo 1963

Control Data Corporation (CDC) 6600, 1964
docubyte Guide to Computing Small Scale Experimental Machine (SSEM) 'Manchester Baby', 1948
Small Scale Experimental Machine (SSEM) 'Manchester Baby', 1948
docubyte Guide to Computing Robotron D4a, 1966
Robotron D4a, 1966
docubyte Guide to Computing EAI Pace TR-48, 1960
EAI Pace TR-48, 1960
docubyte Guide to Computing Olivetti Elea 9003. 1959
Olivetti Elea 9003. 1959

“When I was young, all we ever heard about was functionalism, functionalism, functionalism. It’s not enough. Design should also be sensual and exciting.”⠀

Ettore Sottsass, designer of the Olivetti Elea 9003

Telefunken RA770, 1966

“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”

Thomas Watson, president of IBM, 1943

docubyte Guide to Computing LINC Computer, 1962
LINC Computer, 1962
docubyte Guide to Computing Guide to Computing
Guide to Computing
docubyte Guide to Computing Endim 2000, 1963
Endim 2000, 1963
docubyte Guide to Computing Guide to Computing
Guide to Computing
docubyte Guide to Computing PDP 7, 1964
PDP 7, 1964

“IBM brings you a new concept in general purpose accounting. Look at it go!”

Dan Hillyard, IBM 1401 Promotional Film, 1959

docubyte Guide to Computing IBM 1401, 1959
IBM 1401, 1959
PDP-1, 1959
docubyte Guide to Computing IBM 7030 'Stretch', 1961
IBM 7030 'Stretch', 1961

“We are going to take a good, fat loss on Stretch…If we get enough orders at this price, we could go out of business…”

Thomas Watson, president of IBM. Ultimately IBM sold 9 units, the project going down in computing folklore as a spectacular failure

docubyte Guide to Computing Altair 8800, 1974
Altair 8800, 1974
docubyte Guide to Computing Kenbak 1, 1970
Kenbak 1, 1970
docubyte Guide to Computing Data General Eclipse MV8000, 1980
Data General Eclipse MV8000, 1980

“Going to work for the Eclipse Group could be a rough way to start out in your profession.”

The Soul of a New Machine, Tracey Kidder, 1981

docubyte Guide to Computing Ferranti Atlas, 1964
Ferranti Atlas, 1964
docubyte Guide to Computing SGAE Operators Console, 1963
SGAE Operators Console, 1963
docubyte Guide to Computing Elliot 803, 1963
Elliot 803, 1963
docubyte Guide to Computing Meda 42ta, 1973
Meda 42ta, 1973
docubyte Guide to Computing Uniservo, 1951
Uniservo, 1951
docubyte Guide to Computing Harwell Dekatron (WITCH), 1952
Harwell Dekatron (WITCH), 1952
docubyte Guide to Computing ODRA 1305, 1973
ODRA 1305, 1973
docubyte Guide to Computing Colossus, 1943
Colossus, 1943
docubyte Guide to Computing UNIVAC 9400 Series, 1969
UNIVAC 9400 Series, 1969

“We wanted to let the machine speak for itself.”

Connection Machine designer, Tamiko Thiel

Connection Machine CM-1, 1985