This is my personal collection of old computer stuff. It focuses on stuff that I particularly like: old processors, old IBM stuff, old military computers, old encryption devices, and miscellaneous technically interesting stuff.
Most of the stuff I have can be found in the many real computer museums, but some of my items—especially old military things—seem to be rare.
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.
Thanks for visiting!
This is my 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.
This particular IBM system is also special to me since I worked on the software design in 1971-1974. 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.
I have a special interest in security features within the processor. Here are a few security processors (not much here, but one is especially interesting).
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.)
What's left over... interesting technology things that don't easily fit into the other categories.