ICT 1301 computer

Contributed by Roger Holmes

This computer was made in 1962, not of integrated circuits but individual transistors etc. I bought it in 1978. I and another member of the Computer Conservation Society are restoring it.

We are all very familiar with modern computers, but this shows how large (700 square feet), heavy (five tons), noisy, hot and hungry for electrical power (13kVA) the early computers were, their huge cost (about 250,000 pounds) and how much work it took to make them, program them, operate them and feed them with data. In the flesh, it also reminds those who worked on them of the unique smell of mainframe computers. It reminds us how cheap labour of the time was replaced by automation, on one hand freeing up clerks, managers, typists etc to do less boring work, though of course for many, redundancy seemed the end of their careers at the time.

The machine was envisioned by the company (BTM) which made many of the machines which cracked German enigma codes, and at the time the UK was one of the leaders in computer development.

The machine's logic elements were made by GEC Telephones in Coventry.

Later almost all the British computer companies merged and became part of F

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  • 1. At 16:48 on 3 November 2010, Floriella wrote:

    I enjoyed reading this story, Roger, and especially loved the photograph. This is definitely what a computer SHOULD look like - ie, something from a 1950's Sci-Fi novel, and policed by men in white coats. Although I didn't start working in IT until the 1980s it also brought back memories of those days.
    Have a look at this link for some more memories.

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  • 2. At 20:39 on 5 February 2011, jtwebb wrote:

    I thought there was a 1501 as well as I thought it was one that college got time on for me at Putney as the 1301 bought by the college was late on delivery.

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