"Single instance" machines

From: Jay Jaeger <cube_at_msn.fullfeed.com>
Date: Thu Dec 10 21:14:12 1998

Boy, does that bring back memories. When I was in middle school, a fellow
from 3M (I think his name was Doug Kinney) visited our school with a couple
of computers. One was quite large - in a rack, and used decimal
arithmatic. The other was a binary computer, and was much smaller. It was
named "Little Binary Joe".

He left behind a schematic for some JK flip flops built out of Motorola
2N554 power transistors, and it used #49 light bulbs (not the more common
#47 bulbs). A friend of mine convinced me that we should try and build it.
 We scrounged for parts, wrote letters, etc. Got a free dial from the
telephone company, free resistors from Hamilton Hall in Milwaukee, but
Motorola would not come thru with the transistors. We eventually had to
save up and order them. We got about 4 flip flops built.

That got me started in electronics, from which I jumped into Computer Science.


At 02:55 AM 12/10/98 -0600, you wrote:
>On Wed, 9 Dec 1998, Aaron Christopher Finney wrote:
>> And the 1/3 part is in the form of the "electronic" computer I'm building
>> from the January 1960 issue of Electronics Illustrated...(flip-flops,
>> light-bulbs, and a rotary phone dial - woo-hoo!) I'm about 1/3
>> completed...
>One of my favorite early personal computers! I regret that the designer
>didn't give it a name, though. Specs:
>Name: "Electronic Computer"
>Intro: Jan 1960
>Price: approx $35
>Technology: discrete transistors
>Memory: 6 bits
>Input: rotary telephone dial
>Clock speed: as fast as you can dial
>Output: 12 incandescent lights
>Programming language: patch cords
>The author describes how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide on this
>box, but it's really more of a calculator than a computer since it doesn't
>have control logic or a clock.
>I hope to do a web page some day that describes this machine and several
>other home computers from the 1950's and 1960's.
>-- Doug
Received on Thu Dec 10 1998 - 21:14:12 GMT

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