5 NEW IBM PRODUCTS (Nov, 1959)

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DELIVER MORE DATA PROCESSING PER DOLLAR WITH IBM BALANCED DATA PROCESSING Out of IBM’s continuing program of research and development, proved by months of rigid testing, come these great new products to serve business, industry and science. And with them, IBM adds new emphasis to the concept of Balanced Data Processing—a standard for all data processing based on measuring the value of data processing in terms of net results, rather than speed of individual units.

What is Balanced Data Processing? It is systems and services . . . machines and men. It is systems with compatible input, processing and output speeds. It is customer services ranging from everyday maintenance to the most advanced research. It combines systems and services inseparably to produce performance in the best traditions of more than 45 years of IBM experience. It means more data processing per dollar for you.

IBM 1401 DATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS for the first time . . .

large computer advantages at low accounting machine cost * Never before has so much powerful data processing ability been built into such low-cost systems! For in these 1401 Systems, IBM has drawn on its unequalled experience in developing the world’s largest and fastest computers to incorporate electronic features that make it possible for fewer machine units to do more jobs . . . at higher speeds . . . with greater accuracy and reliability … at lower job cost than ever before.

IBM 1401 Systems are solid state, all-transistorized, alpha-numeric systems with logical ability. Magnetic core memory makes up to four thousand positions of storage available. Variable length instruction format permits the full use of memory for useful information only. The 1401 Systems feature an exclusive new concept of printing. A horizontally rotating chain prints perfectly aligned, high-quality copy. A dual-speed carriage that permits document printing at the rate of 600 lines per minute also skips blank paper at 27,000 lines per minute to produce more documents per dollar. These, and other advanced features, are combined to offer the utmost performance and flexibility. As your business grows, your IBM 1401 System can grow with you—practically and economically.

1401 CARD SYSTEMS With stored programming, 1401 Curd Systems do the work of a combination of accounting machine, summary punch and calculator, but with far greater speed! Cards are read at the rate of 800 per minute. Output can be printed at the rate of 600 lines per minute and punched into cards at up to 250 cards per minute. The 1401 accepts data and instructions of variable length, making maximum use of storage. Models with 1400, 2000 or 4000 positions of magnetic core storage are available. Automatic checking of input, internal data flow and output assures accuracy.

1401-1210 BANK SYSTEMS Linked with the IBM 1210 Sorter-Reader with magnetic character sensing, IBM’s 1401 Systems offer banks complete on-us demand deposit accounting and account reconciliation, including extensive float and account analysis. These low-cost bank systems automatically calculate charges and prepare management reports, as well as prove, sort, post and write statements and journals. High-speed input of 800 cards, 900 magnetically inscribed documents per minute, micro-second processing ability, and output of up to 250 cards and 600 printed lines per minute provide a powerful and economical data processing tool for many banking applications. Magnetic tape units can be attached to provide tape input at speeds up to 62,500 characters per second.

1401 TAPE SYSTEMS Capable of reading or writing tapes at speeds up to 62,500 characters per second, 1401 Tape Systems also combine card and tape input for maximum thru-put with high-speed processing and production of card and tape output. Printing is done at the rate of 600 lines per minute. Powerful print editing ability provides another unique feature. IBM 1401 Tape Systems are also valuable as off-line auxiliaries to large data processing systems. For instance, the 1401 Tape System makes possible a tape-oriented IBM 7070 configuration that provides higher speed input and output and makes for job cost improvement at lower systems cost.

  1. relaxing says: April 14, 20085:52 am

    In October 2006, respected indie label 4AD put out an album by Icelandic avante-garde musician, Jóhann Jóhannsson. The album is called ‘IBM 1401, A User’s Manual’. The concept is based upon work done back in 1964 by his father, Jóhann Gunnarsson, chief maintenance engineer of one of the country’s first computers, and Elias Davidsson, one of the first programmers in the country. The album was originally written for a string quartet, organ and electronics and to accompany a dance piece by long-standing collaborator friend, Erna Ómarsdóttir. For the album recording, Johann has rewritten it for a sixty-piece string orchestra, adding a new final movement and incorporating electronics and vintage reel-to-reel recordings of a singing IBM 1401 mainframe computer found in his father’s attic.

  2. fluffy says: April 14, 20089:56 am

    4096 words of storage! Amazing!

  3. Blurgle says: April 14, 200811:27 am

    The first two are “Daisy, Daisy.”

  4. Mike Smith says: May 19, 200810:54 am

    “4096 words of storage! Amazing!”

    “Amazing!”??? Well, yes it was.

    Listen up young wippersnappers and I’ll tell you how it was back in the olden days…

    I first learned to program on an IBM 1401 system (c. 1963) and it was not what you think it was. It was much better. Much, much better.

    For a “few Dollars more…” the basic system could be augmented with another 4k of memory. Think of it! A whole 8k of memory to play with. AND… Customers could also buy a separate “multiply/divide” unit…about the size of the basic system itself and 3 times as fast as doing the calculations with software. Yeah, that was amazing! So amazing that by the mid-1960s, there were more IBM 1401 computers installed than ALL other systems combined, including other IBM 1400 systems. That’s pretty amazing.

    Programmers were required to be much more skilled back in those days. We wouldn’t let anyone write programs unless they could write their own “bootstrap and load” program (about 200 bytes-3 cards). How many of today’s programmers have ever written a bootstrap program?

    The 1400 code to read a card and transfer it’s data to main memory (bytes 001-080) was “1”. Yeah, that’s it; that’s the entire code. A program to read a deck of cards and print it consisted of: “1m0012012b333”. Try doing that in C++.

    Do I miss it all? Not a bit! Wouldn’t go back to that world “for all the tea in China” (we said stuff like that back then). Of course, the girls were much prettier then…as I remember. 🙂

  5. Stuart Feigin says: June 30, 20083:31 pm

    That wasn’t 4,000 words. It was 4,000 bytes. Not even 4096, just 4000. And that was the upgraded model. The basic mode had 1400 bytes. And we are not talking 8-bit bytes here. They were basically 6-bit bytes plus a parity bit and word mark bit per byte. That meant one of the bytes could store one of 64 characters, not all of which were printable. There were about 60 printable characters.

    When one referred to a word on the 1401 it was a variable length field made up of one or more of those bytes.

    I wrote some very nice programs on a 4,000 byte 1401. One of my friends wrote one of the first ever word processors. Like Mike Smith said, programs were very compact. You got to be very inventive. If things went wrong, debugging was a piece of cake. You just turned on the core dump switch and the entire contents of memory were printed out on a few sheets of paper and you debugged at your leisure at your desk, or occasionally in my case under a tree or at the beach.

  6. Duncan Kunz says: August 2, 20109:39 am

    I went to work for IBM-Federal Systems Division in Maryland in 1967, when the 1401 had already been superseded by the System/360 machines. But they still used this one to do division payroll, and I was hired to run it because I had experience in EAM plug-boards, and they also had a 407 summary punch machine there, too. When I first saw the blue box, I noticed that it had a loaded 1406 Auxiliary Storage Unit, which brought the total core up to 16k, as well as five 729 Tape Drives. I turned to the guy I was replacing and said, “16K? Well, what on earth do you need the tape drives for??”

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