Ferranti Mercury

From: Jules Richardson <julesrichardsonuk_at_yahoo.co.uk>
Date: Wed Nov 24 13:59:54 2004

On Wed, 2004-11-24 at 11:33 -0800, Tom Jennings wrote:
> On Wed, 24 Nov 2004, Jules Richardson wrote:
> > Does anyone have any info lurking online about the Ferranti Mercury
> > (specs, what roles the handful of machines that were made took on etc.)?
> >
> > The chap we got the BeBox, Lisa etc. from has an original programming
> > manual for one (although nowhere does it say Ferranti - just 'Mercury')
> > and it'd be nice to give him a bit more info about the machine itself.
> Holy crapola, a lot of the best software development in the
> world was done on Ferranti machines. English computers from
> that era (50's) had index regs, stacks and subroutine support
> back when the Americans were still trying to put square wheels
> on their wagons.
> The Mercurys (Mercuries?) were late 50's? developed
> versions of the Manchester thread machines. It had a fancy
> autocode. Transistorized I assume.

Now it would be interesting to know if it was fully transistorised for
the logic (core memory still, no doubt! :)

Both our big Marconi TAC and the Elliott 803 are transistorised machines
and date from circa 1959 - it'd be interesting to know what machines
using transistors were in use before then.

> I don't think I have any hardware descriptions of it, and it
> would take me some time to look at, but I do have this picture
> http://wps.com/archives/Ivall/Ferranti-Mercury-computer.jpg

That's the same pic everyone seems to have :)
You've got some interesting other stuff on there, though.

I know we've got various Pegasus, Deuce and Leo documentation at the
museum, but I've not seen anything of the Mercury so it's something of
an unknown to me!


Received on Wed Nov 24 2004 - 13:59:54 GMT

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