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
- By the late 1940s, the calculations and printout of IBM accounting machines were determined by setting a plugboard like this one and then feeding in data punched on cards. This control panel was used specifically in an IBM 403 tabulating machine, a device introduced in the late 1940s and distributed at least into the late 1960s.
- The object has a rectangular metal frame with a metal handle on one of the long edges. It is divided into three sections, each containing a plastic circuit board with numerous holes. Many colorful plastic and cloth-coated wires are plugged into the holes. The board is wired for calculating invoices.
- A red tag attached under the handle reads: 403 INVOICE. A tag glued under the panel reads: MFG. BY (/) MAC PANEL (/) COMPANY. This tag also reads: HIGH POINT (/) N. C. and: TYPE 913. A mark stamped at the bottom of one circuit board reads: TYPE 402-403 22573 PRINTED IN USA.
- According to the company website, MAC Panel Company was founded in High Point in 1958.
- This example came from a programmer who worked with punch card equipment and computers from 1940 until 1985.
- IBM, IBM 402, 403 and 419 Accounting Machine Manual of Operation, New York: IBM, 1953, pp. 4–7. This is 2006.3088.03.20.
- Accession file.
- M. Campbell-Kelly, ICL: A Business and Technical HistoryOxford: Clarendon Press, 1989, pp. 90–92.
- Currently not on view
- date made
- ca 1960
- International Business Machines Corporation
- MAC Panel Company
- ID Number
- accession number
- catalog number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History