LET'S RESOLVE THIS ISSUE was (Re: Made a deal to get a Vax6000,2 Fujitsu Supercomputers and TOPS10???)

From: John B <dylanb_at_sympatico.ca>
Date: Thu Nov 25 11:04:11 1999

-----Original Message-----
From: Christian Fandt <cfandt_at_netsync.net>
To: Discussion re-collecting of classic computers
Date: Thursday, November 25, 1999 12:18 PM
Subject: Re: LET'S RESOLVE THIS ISSUE was (Re: Made a deal to get a
Vax6000,2 Fujitsu Supercomputers and TOPS10???)

>Upon the date 10:47 AM 11/25/99 -0500, Allison J Parent said something
>><That's life. I *really* find it hard to understand why scrapping a Vax
>><11/780 would break your heart when there are probably at least 100,000
>><in mills out there... and no one wants them!
>>As a collector I'd think you'd at least know the numbers produced and the
>>current population. 11/780s have actually become quite scarce being 20
>>years old, slow by even microvax standards and power hungry. I'd bet
>>finding more than one or two would be less than easy.
>>The question is, do you know if it's common or scarce?
>Allison has hit right on the mark in reply to your suggestion there's 100k
>or so 11/780's still out there, John B. How can you say there are that many
>when we hear of only even a few more recent vintage 11/750's coming
>available for example?? I would wager 750's had been more common in their
>day than 780's were for various reasons. Were there even 100k 11/750's
>We've got quite a few sets of eyes and ears sensitive to looking for minis
>on this list, not just micros --including folks with close connections to
>scrappers-- and there are relatively few alerts raised as to 780 or 750
>(and other big iron mini) availabilities vs. your contention many types are

Obviously not, If you have eyes and ears out then your home, storage,
family relative homes , local school, and probably a few hundred thousand
square feet of local storage would be filled *right now* with large
minis... Let me tell you what was available *this* month:

Ketchikan Pulp and Paper
Ketchikan AK, USA
Rack fulls of Accuray electronics containing Honeywell? minis. At least 32
cabinets of electronics (over 10,000 pounds). You must take them all and go
through the liquidator. (This site has probably been chopped up already).

Thorold Pulp and Paper
Thorold, Ontario
4 old mills are being scrapped. 8 Honeywell Minis and PDP-11/05s are there.
Well over 30 cabinets of electronics holding the minis. You *must* take
everything. I know the stuff is still there. and I am taking them for the
Honeywell 316s.. Needless to say I am shredding 28 bays of electronics.

Simpson Paper Company
Eureka CA, USA
Again entire mills with *massive* amounts of minis. These guys use minis for
industrial control... Don't know if they are still there... not going to fly
out and find out.. May have been junked already.

That is about 30,000 pounds of just industrial control minis available JUST
in the pulp and paper industry available right now!. That does not include
all the administrative systems, labelling minis, etc......

As ACCURAY is the standard for paper mill systems you can expect 1 mini/mill
+ 1 backup mini/mill (depending on age it gets worse)...

and you have *one* basement full of minis??? and no calls for minis

I won't even try and list the number of steel mills upgrading right now (in
Ontario) or the number of them scrapping their minis.... I can pull 10-15
minis/year out of the steel sector in Ontario alone/year.

You can also expect *most* sectors to upgrade their systems every 5 years
and store the stuff until they have time to get rid of it... The *small*
factory I am going into to pull these out have owned well over 30 minis over
the last 25 years... multiply that by the number of steel mills in Ontario
and you get an idea what I am talking about.

WHY AM I GOING INTO THESE PLACES??? Sometimes I get lucky and find an old
1960's mini that was never thrown out, sitting in storage. It happens more
often than you think. I will now be flying out to some mills to look for the
old minis as the value has increased enough to do so. I have throw
out/passed up over the past 7 years:

IBM1130 - E.L. Crossley High School.
refused IBM1401 [boat manufacturer] (won't refuse those anymore)
Vax 11/730s (2)
Honeywell 316s (5) [paper mills] - thre out another one this spring..
PDP-11/40s (3) -- just awful minis.
PDP-8e (at least 2), PDP-8L, PDP-8Ms, as, etc... (won't throw these out
anymore either)
IBM System 32s (school boards used them.. tossed them out)
MAI Basic 4 (Hydro upgraded and got rid of them.. 1 per CITY!)
refused 3 Vax 11/780s this year
PDP-11/70s (too many to list - Pennington Clothes, Hayes Dana, Ontario Asset
Disposal, and others I can't recall right now)
PDP-11/05s (every paper mill with accuray has at least 6 of them)

.........and just too many others to recall... Some of these were at
auctions... not including the ones I got calls about but refused.

>Case in point: at present I have up for adoption a VAX 11/750 which is the
>first one of these in months that I really recall seeing available. A

They commonly get sent to the shredder.. Even PDP-11 enthusiasts don't want
them due to their size and power requirements. Most Metlabs have them and
have been tossing them over the past 3-5 years. Microvaxes are a lot more
*spouse* friendly but if you notice they don't even fetch more than $300
each/system on EBay. Hence, most people will see that and decide not to pick
them up in the first place.

>fellow presently is interested but timing and distance for him to come get
>it is presently an issue and storage co$ts related to it are becoming an
>issue for me. I do *not* want to scrap it and part it out as it was a
>*running* system when I bought it amongst a truckload of other DEC gear.
>I'm a preservationist and really want to see it go to a collector who can
>have a running system. However, I'm off the beaten path for big iron
>collectors to readily come for it and there is a risk nobody can get it
>whole. Therefore there's a risk that a big iron VAX may die as a system.

I don't like to see that either.. but there is only so many minis one person
can hold.

>With that, it makes me seem like the "heartless" type who would scrap a
>working machine just to make room around here and I *don't* like that
>feeling one bit. Then I recall with shivers up my spine that if I had not
>discovered the availability of the truckload of DEC gear I bought, the
>original owner who had it would have proceeded to call a trash hauling
>company the next day to take it all away so he could clear out his
>ex-company office ASAP and fly back to his home in California. So at least
>I am able to have offered it plus other surplus DEC gear to everybody here
>plus save out a big batch of stuff which gives me a rather decent DEC
>Yeah, well I see John B's point in simply scrapping a machine to a
>_limited_ extent. In my mind that doesn't quite forgive unilaterally
>deciding to scrap a collectable machine, or even a more modern interesting
>machine like the Fujitsu, just because "they are common" or "too big", etc.
>Just let us know and and encourage us to pass the word around. There may be
>potential computer homes out there we don't know of. But if not, at least
>the thing has been given a chance to live.

I plan to do that. That's why I am posting the info here.

>I guess collectors have to try to keep doing the best they can in spite of
>logistics . . .
>Regards, Chris
>-- --
>Christian Fandt, Electronic/Electrical Historian
>Jamestown, NY USA cfandt_at_netsync.net
> Member of Antique Wireless Association
> URL: http://www.antiquewireless.org/
Received on Thu Nov 25 1999 - 11:04:11 GMT

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