Model of an IBM System 360 Computer

In 1964 IBM Corporation announced a new family of room-sized computers, the IBM 360 System. It included several models of differing cost and capabilities. These embraced a full circle of computer applications, from business data processing to sophisticated science and engineering; hence the name 360. To sell the new product, IBM salesmen used scale models like this one. It shows the smallest IBM 360 System, the 30. Depending on the components selected, it rented for between $2,700 and $20,000 per month. More powerful versions of the System/360 rented for around $115,000 per month.
Components include the central processing unit with control panel (attached is a desk with the printer-keyboard), a disc storage unit, three forms of tape drive, a disk storage drive, and a printer with paper. Most systems also would have included a card punch and a card reader. Each room-sized computer had its own staff who prepared programs on punched cards or magnetic tape, entered them into computers, maintained the circuitry, and delivered results. If an organization acquired one of the machines, most employees would never see it.
The IBM 360 proved a highly successful product worldwide. This model was used by Timothy J. Bergin first in teaching computer science and then in exhibits at American University.
IBM, IBM System / 360 Installation Manual - Physical Planning.
E. W. Pugh, L. R. Johnson and J. H. Palmer, IBM's 360 and Early 370 Systems, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1991.
Currently not on view
Object Name
computer model
date made
ca 1964
date received
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
paper (overall material)
overall: 15.2 cm x 74 cm x 47 cm; 5 31/32 in x 29 1/8 in x 18 1/2 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Computers & Business Machines
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Computers
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Thomas J. Bergin
Additional Media

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