Computers & Business Machines
Imagine the loss, 100 years from now, if museums hadn't begun preserving the artifacts of the computer age. The last few decades offer proof positive of why museums must collect continuously—to document technological and social transformations already underway.
The museum's collections contain mainframes, minicomputers, microcomputers, and handheld devices. Computers range from the pioneering ENIAC to microcomputers like the Altair and the Apple I. A Cray2 supercomputer is part of the collections, along with one of the towers of IBM's Deep Blue, the computer that defeated reigning champion Garry Kasparov in a chess match in 1997. Computer components and peripherals, games, software, manuals, and other documents are part of the collections. Some of the instruments of business include adding machines, calculators, typewriters, dictating machines, fax machines, cash registers, and photocopiers
- Programs and data were entered into many early computers, including those made by Univac and RCA, using reels of magnetic tape like this one. This particular tape carried a compiler for the programming language COBOL. It was used in December 1960, when a COBOL program first ran successfully on computers made by two different manufacturers. Thus it stands as a symbol of the birth of one of the first common programming languages. Computer programmers would come to expect that different brands of computers ran the same languages. COBOL became a routine tool for business programming.
- The reel is marked: UNIVAC. It is also marked: COBOL. A piece of tape attached to the back reads: 12/6/60 UNIVAC COBOL COMPILER 2319 UC.
- date made
- Remington Rand Univac
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History