The Computer Museum History Center Collections Policy

From: Eric Smith <>
Date: Wed Nov 24 16:55:12 1999

Allison asks about the disposition of some of the Computer Museum's

> Specifically there are three DEC systems that TCM/Boston had, PDP-1, PDP-6
> and a PDP-7. Where are they and what is their current status?

The PDP-1 is definitely in the Computer Musuem History Center in Mountain
View. I've seen it with my own eyes.

When it was in Boston they reportedly fired it up once a year to
show Steve "Slug" Russel's "SPACEWAR!" game. However, as I understand
it they have not yet tried to operate it in Mountain View.

I hadn't heard about the PDP-7. The PDP-6 is the one that many of us
are indignant about. The "facts" seem to be:

1) DEC contributed a bunch of hardware to help found The Computer Museum,
    including a PDP-6.

2) The Computer Museum sold some PDP-6 modules in their gift shop. These
    modules may or may not have been from the aforementioned PDP-6.

3) The whereabouts of the PDP-6 are now unknown.

The conclusion that people have reached is that the PDP-6 was parted out.
Regardless of the veracity of point 2, no one has successfully explained
the chain of events leading from point 1 to point 3.

However, I would like to point out that if the PDP-6 was in fact parted
out, it almost certainly would have happened prior to the founding of
The Computer Museum History Center. It seems clear, based not just on
Dag's word but also on the experiences of several of my friends who
volunteer for TCMHC projects, that any sort of problem like this would
not be likely to happen today.

TCMHC is now expecting a shipment of more equipment from DEC, which
is claimed to contain one of every type of computer DEC made in the
early days. So perhaps if we're lucky there will be another PDP-6
that can be restored (if needed) and preserved.

Received on Wed Nov 24 1999 - 16:55:12 GMT

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