Norsk Data Nord-10/S restoration effort on the way!

From: Tore S Bekkedal <>
Date: Fri Nov 12 23:21:42 2004

Allright, so I'm going to the movie theatres to watch Fahrenheit 9/11
(this was probably about two months ago). The movie theatre I pick also
happens to have a conference centre at the lower floors. I'm bored, the
movie doesn't start for 40 minutes, so I go down and behold the exhibit
I hadn't looked at since sixth grade or something. The conference
center, as the exhibit, is owned by Storebrand, a major insurance
company here in Norway. (Storebrand literally means "Big fire", hee hee)

And the exhibit is full of cool old office hardware (old IBM
dictaphones, mechanical cardpunches/sorters, etc). And amongst one of
the cards, I see a COBOL card - PICTURE XX99. Ah ha! The smell of
opportunity! And old punch card paper! (*sniff* Ahhh...)

I call around, and finally end up talking to a man named Dag Wold, who
is the archivist and historian at Storebrand, and he explained that he
was a retired insurance worker that kept tabs on the archive's

So, finally, I get to come over and look. And what a sight! Apart from a
metric buttload of cool old mechanical stuff and dictaphones and stuff,
a cool IBM 3270 terminal (I think I'm gonna start a thread on that
too :), a VT102 (what was the 2 for, again?), and a nice TI mini I tried
but failed to boot (The floppy I tried probably wasn't the boot floppy),
and some other cool stuff I really should take pictures of, the crown
jewel of the collection was definately (IMO :) a NORD-10/S minicomputer
with a 9-track Pertec rebrand tape drive. /S means "With various
enhancements, like cache" in Norwegian. Terse language, you see. :P

It's in excellent cosmetic condition. I powered it up, and everything
seemed to be working, but seeing how I don't know the first thing about
pretty much anything from Norsk Data, "working" means "didn't burst into
flames" :)

Enter Johnny Oddene, the webmaster of, ex-Norsk
Data-employee, hobbyist, and owner of what was left of ND after they
went bankrupt in 1993. (Pretty much just a warezhouse and a trademark)

I mailed him, told him a bit about the project, and asked him if there
was any documentation or anything availible. He wanted to see the thing,
and we decide to meet up at the Storebrand warehouse.

He powered it up and started toggling and talking with me about the
architecture. And what an architecture!! The most interesting feature is
the concept of levels, which was new to me.

The CPU had 16 levels, 0-15. A 'level' was pretty much a sort of what
IBM would call PSW and Intel called ..was it TSS? Anyway, it describes a
running task with all its registers. The interesting thing, is that the
registers that you'd normally get from RAM with a Load PSW isntruction
or an <Insert Intel equivalent> are actually registers inside the CPU!
You just do a level switch, one instruction, and it switches levels and
immediately continues the other level! Of course, with what ISTR being 6
GPRs and some things like PC and stuff, this would end up with a lot of
registers. But boy, was it fast!

In fact, some customers buying the ND-100, the sequel to the Nord-10,
noticed a significant decrease in performance due to this.

It also would BOOT OVER NETWORKS! IN 1972! In what was called OPCOM
(IIRC), which was a small bootloader in PROM, you could boot from
various devices.

It used to have a disk, but now it doesn't :\

I am impressed at how much he remembered about the machine. Reading his
homepage, I find that this was the first computer he used (And the first
is always special... I envy him starting on such an ingenious arch
instead of a sodding 286 like me)

He didn't, however, remember any instructions, so no toggling yet. You
could also tell the thing to boot from floppy using a terminal over
current loop. However, being the owner of the friggin' company, he of
course has a complete set of docs! And a terminal! Yay! He's promised to
call me when he's heading up to his warehouse so I get a peek, too. I
will of course take pictures if I can get to borrow my (What do you call
people living in the room next to you at an orphanage? Neighbour?)'s

I will of course start a webpage on this. For people wondering, the
PDP-7 is still where it's always been, and waiting for a wire-wrapper.

Thanks in advance for all the help you all probably will give me during
this project ;)

With excited rgds,
Tore S Bekkedal <>
Received on Fri Nov 12 2004 - 23:21:42 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Oct 10 2014 - 23:37:16 BST