Harvard Mark I Tape Transport, IBM ASCC

Harvard Mark I Tape Transport, IBM ASCC

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Description
This is the control panel and tape transport for the IBM Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator (ASCC), known otherwise as the Harvard Mark I. The Mark I was one of the first machines that could be programmed to carry out calculations automatically. Initially designed to solve scientific problems, it was used during World War II to carry out computations for the United States Navy. It was a one-of-a-kind machine. After the war, IBM would greatly expand its activity in computing to include electronic computers. Harvard began one of the first degree programs in computer science. People who had worked on the Mark I, such as Grace Murray Hopper, also went to work for other early computer manufacturers. More generally, many scholars and ordinary people first learned about "giant brains," as early computers were called, through workshops and press releases of the Harvard Computation Laboratory.
The cast iron object has gearing drive, card holder, electrical connection, and weight. Four drums carry punched tapes with programs.
References:
I. Bernard Cohen and Gregory W. Welch with the cooperation of Robert V. D. Campbell, Makin' Numbers: Howard Aiken and the Computer, Cambridge and London: MIT Press, 1999.
I. Bernard Cohen. Howard Aiken: Portrait of a Computer Pioneer, Cambridge and London: MIT Press, 1999.
Object Name
Computer Component
Electromechanical Computer Component
Other Terms
Computer Component; Electromechanical Computer Component; Tape Transport Unit
Date made
1944
maker
IBM
Harvard University
place made
United States: Massachusetts, Cambridge, Harvard University
Measurements
overall: 44.5 cm x 35 cm x 47 cm; 17 1/2 in x 13 3/4 in x 18 1/2 in
ID Number
MA.323581
accession number
248831
catalog number
323581
Credit Line
Gift of President and Fellows of Harvard University
subject
Mathematics
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Computers & Business Machines
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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