PDP-8 Minicomputer


In 1957, Ken Olsen and Harlan Anderson founded a company called Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) with the goal of manufacturing and selling high-speed digital circuits. By 1959, the company was well established, and it introduced its first computer, the PDP-1 (The letters stood for "Programmed Data Processor"). The PDP-1 incorporated some of the engineering advances that would later characterize minicomputers, especially in its internal design and attractive packaging. About 50 were produced,; its price was $120,000. DEC soon designed and began selling other machines as well. The PDP-1 was followed by a series of other more powerful, but less expensive products in the PDP line.  

The PDP-8 was introduced in 1965. The first model sold for $18,000. Later versions of this machine that incorporated improvements in electronics appeared over the next decade. These became steadily smaller and cheaper, triggering a rush of new applications in which the computer was embedded into another system and sold by a third party (called an Original Equipment Manufacturer, or OEM). Some machines were specifically designed for time sharing and for business applications. Ultimately over 50,000 PDP-8's were sold (excluding those embedded as single chips into other systems).

Date Made: 1966

Maker: Digital Equipment Corporation

Place Made: United States: Massachusetts, Maynard

See more items in: Medicine and Science: Computers, Computers & Business Machines


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Digital Equipment Corporation

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1989.0521.02Catalog Number: 1989.0521.02Accession Number: 1989.0521

Object Name: Minicomputer

Measurements: overall: 32 1/2 in x 20 1/2 in x 20 1/2 in; 82.55 cm x 52.07 cm x 52.07 cm

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a3-b8ba-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_334635

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