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
- This two-sided WANG rule has spacing guides for horizontal and vertical measures. It was used in the 1980s by the museum’s Office of the Registrar to design typed forms (not computer printouts).
- The front of the rule has four different horizontal scale divisions. Along the top edge are a 14 inch scale marked in 16ths and a 168 space scale marked 12 spaces to the inch. The bottom edge has a 140 space scale marked 10 spaces to the inch and a 210 space scale marked 15 spaces to the inch. The back has three vertical scale divisions. Along the top edge are a 110 space scale marked eight lines to the inch and a 350 mm scale. Along the bottom edge is an 84 space scale marked 6 lines to the inch.
- The museum acquired a WANG minicomputer system in 1982 -- a VS80 with two 75mb hard drives (each one was about the size of a modern dishwasher) and 14 workstations. The minicomputer was used for word processing, email, and data entry. This particular rule was given away with the minicomputer but not used in designing computer printouts. Instead, in the 1980s the Office of the Registrar made an effort to design forms that could be completed on a typewriter. The designs had to be precisely spaced horizontally and vertically so that each line/field would accurately line up when using typewriter tab and/or carriage return keys. This rule was used to ensure that accuracy.
- Currently not on view
- date made
- ca 1982
- ca 1980
- Wang Laboratories
- ID Number
- accession number
- catalog number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History