IBM AD: A “Giant Brain” that’s Strictly Business (Aug, 1954)

I love that they put their logo inside a punch card.

A “Giant Brain” that’s Strictly Business

IBM’s new 702 Electronic Data Processing Machine brings to the accounting and record-keeping problems of business the speed and capacity of giant scientific computers.

It can absorb millions of facts and figures on its magnetic tapes (shown here), process this vast quantity of data, and turn out the results in the form you need. Payrolls, billing, manufacturing and inventory control, cost allocation, manpower scheduling, fiscal accounting —all the complex operations of modern business—are performed at high speed.

This is business automation at its highest development.

International Business Machines
590 Madison Avenue, New York 22, N. Y.

IBM – World’s Leading Producer of Electronic Accounting Machines

  1. rick s. says: May 16, 201110:20 am

    It was still a couple of years before they came out with the first commercially available hard drive. That thing was the size of a couple of refrigerators with 50 platters in it holding 100,000 bytes each (on both sides) giving the drive a storage capacity of 5 megabytes. Here’s a link to a description of it. Interesting.…


  2. Casandro says: May 16, 201110:26 am

    Ohh it actually has vacuum columns. Those are those 2 columns doing down from the transport.
    They are used to put constant tension on the tape.

  3. Andrew L. Ayers says: May 16, 201110:32 am

    At my first software development job (in 1992, when I was 18), I learned how to load a 9-track vacuum column open-reel tape drive. They can be finicky if you don’t have things “just right”…

  4. Toronto says: May 16, 201112:38 pm

    Casandro: And they made a wonderful farting noise as they unloaded, too.

    They were a piece of cake to load comparted to VTRs of the 1970s, but still had their foibles. I remember having to get a tape started when the operator broke the takeup reel (which had a finger hole in it for that purpose.) The trick was to use a long pencil, erasure end down, to hold the tape for the first revolution.

  5. Mcubstead says: May 16, 20116:19 pm

    Yep, it makes me wonder what the storage capacities of the 2050 will be like……

  6. Kosher Ham says: May 16, 20119:26 pm

    Once I had broken piece of tape accidentally get sucked into the vacuum column during the loading process– it got the attention of everybody in the computer lab. The other thing that I remember was just how cold those labs were. Everything was on a false floor that was pressurized with chilled air. We stuck pieces of foam rubber in the holes in the floor where that cables came out to the terminals.

  7. Toronto says: May 16, 20119:39 pm

    KH: I still venture out onto “raised floor” areas occasionally. They’re not as cold these days – heck, with blade servers and 1U 16 core machines, they’re often hard to keep to a reasonable temperature these days.

    I have several draft blocker bags with gen-u-ine IBM and CDC part numbers on them. They’re like 1-litre bean bags.

  8. vse says: May 17, 201112:24 am

    Hehe, I still have one of those bags sporting a large (rhen) red d-i-g-i-t-a-l logo.
    Several of those lived under our LA36 (some 25 years ago…)

  9. NefariousWheel says: May 17, 20116:42 am

    Where I worked we kept a huge cardboard box in the corner for throwing the write rings into once you unloaded the tape. I brought my toddler daughter in one Saturday and put her in the box with the write rings. They were all different colours and very flexible. She loved it.

    Now she’s 24 and just won a first prize in a film festival for an animation she did using flash and php. She carries a stack of thumbnail sized memory cards in her bag, each one of which could swallow many of those early magnetic tapes worth of storage.

    I am so proud of her, and of the human race for having advanced knowledge this far.

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