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 spiral-bound document is a copy of the programing manual for Bunker-Ramo computer models 130 and 133. These models were the basis for the computers the company built for military applications.
- According to the donor who wrote programs for a BR-130, "The TRW-130 (also known as the BR130) was the most interesting machine that I have ever programmed. Normally the lowest level language is an assembler language. In an assembly language, each assembly instruction performs a single function, e.g. add, subtract, compare, branch, shift, etc. There are no more basic operations. These instructions are hardwired in the machines physical architecture. In those early days, the physical architecture was made up of gates, flip-flops, registers, etc., prior to integrated circuits. There were only a limited number of these component types, so the various hardwired instructions were made up of fixed combinations of these. Therefore there was significant duplication of these components. TRW engineering came up with a very clever idea. Could a lower level of software be used to implement the assembly level instructions by causing these components to be combined/reorganized in real-time to execute the entire instruction set? The answer was yes. It allowed for a cheaper and more versatile machine. I cannot remember, but I believe these lower level instructions were called ‘logans’." (The word “logand” was a computer acronym for “logical command” the intermediate level programming language planned in the design of the TRW-130 computer.)
- Nonccession file 2015.3097.
- Currently not on view
- date made
- Bunker-Ramo Corporation
- ID Number
- nonaccession number
- catalog number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History