This is my personal collection of old computer stuff. It focuses on stuff that I particularly like:
old IBM stuff,
old military computers,
old encryption devices,
and miscellaneous technically interesting stuff.
The collection long ago outgrew my home office and now lives at Centaur Technology Inc.
(where I work) and where it can be see by visitors.
Most of it is in a museum room, but some is overflowing into the Centaur lobby and halls as shown here.
Some of the stuff I have (plus a lot more) can be
found in the many real computer museums, but some of my
items—especially old military things—seem to be rare.
Some logistics: except for a very few exceptions (which are noted),
the pictures are of things actually in the museum.
Three levels of image detail are provided: a small thumbnail on the page, a medium size "popup" picture (mouse over the thumbnail),
and a full size picture (click on the thumbnail).(Not all thumbnails have the popup pictures yet).
Warning: the popup method does not seem to work right on IE's before IE8!
The full size images are quite large in order to show the detail of the devices.
My categories are somewhat arbitrary: some items logically go into multiple categories, some don't fit well into any that I chose.
They are organized such that each item appears in only one category.
I don't known the function or usage of some of the items, so I'd appreciate any data you might have.
Feel free to write me here if you have comments, questions, etc.
This is favorite category: pre-transistor era (1940-1960) special-purpose electro-mechanical "computers" (almost all military devices).
These are bombsights, gunsights, fire-control computers, navigation computers, air-data computers, and so forth.
Some of these are quite sophisticated. They all represent lost computing technologies.
Similar to the above category, but transistor-based: bombsights, gunsights, fire-control computers, navigation computers, etc.
Less visually impressive then the earlier mechanical versions, but the multiplicity of designs is impressive.
I first programmed on IBM computers in 1963 and I worked at IBM from 1967 through 1988.
Here is old (pre-PC) IBM stuff of particular interest to me:
some rare consoles, card equipment, and lots of components (tubes, boards, chips, etc.).
(Note: IBM military stuff is in the military categories.)
This particular IBM system is special to me since (1) My first management job in IBM (1969) was developing BASIC software for the Model 6,
and (2) I met my wife (then, an IBM programmer) while working on this product.
Accordingly, I have given it a "top-level" category in the museum
Analog computers are of special interest to me since I had some experience using an analog computer in 1966-1967.
In addition, they were very important in the evolution of computing.
Up until about 1970, digital computers were too slow to solve the complex differential equations of motion,
so analog computers were heavily used in applications such as designing airplanes, calculating rocket trajectories,
doing real-time control, etc.
Our collection is small, but contains a very rare and powerful (and working) example.
Okay, I don't have a bomb, but I do have a "preflight controller" from either a B61 nuclear bomb or a B61 training device.
I'm giving this item a major focus in my museum partly because it's rare and
also because I have a great interest in the non-nuclear components of nuclear weapons:
the arming, firing, and "surety" (safety, security, and reliability) mechanisms.
I hope someday to use this section to expand on this topics,
but for now all you get is a description of the preflight controller.
Even though this is a "computer" museum, we actually have few complete computers: I'm more interested in the "insides" of computers.
Here is our collection of miscellaneous control panels, memories, boards, etc.
(If the component is from IBM, it lives in the IBM collection.)