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IBM shows off the old hardware in its basement

Historical hardware from IBM's 100 year history is on show at its Hursley site
Tue May 31 2011, 18:26

IBM IS CELEBRATING its 100th anniversary this year, and like any centenarian it has accumulated a cornucopia of bric-a-brac over the course of its life. At the company's Hursley offices near Winchester, however, this means bits of old mainframes and suchlike, and when The INQUIRER's sister web site was there recently, it managed to snap a few choice bits of the historical kit on show.

IBM printing card punch

This is a card punch from 1949, used for preparing punched cards, the data storage medium of its day.

IBM Hollerith card punch

More card punch equipment bearing the Hollerith name. Herman Hollerith founded the Tabulating Machine Company, one of the three firms that merged to form IBM in 1911.

IBM clocking in timepiece

A timestamping machine for workers clocking in. Another ancient product from one IBM's precursor companies.

IBM punched card collator

IBM Type 77 punched card collator, dating from 1937. It could automatically sort and file two sets of punched cards, handling up to 240 per minute.

IBM Selectric typewriter

IBM Selectric typewriter from 1967. These models featured proportional spacing, and a golf-ball head to print instead of each key manually striking the paper. Some Selectric models could record text to tape, allowing for editing like a crude word processor.

IBM magnetic tape

A magnetic tape reel of the type used with the Selectric typewriters to record and edit text, pre-dating the word processor by many years.

IBM ferrite core store

Before RAM chips, computers used magnetic core storage for data memory. This unit dates from 1958.

IBM TROS module

A Transformer Read-Only Store (TROS) module, used by IBM to store microcode in some computer systems in the 1960s.

IBM card assembly using SSI chips

An early card assembly using plug-in modules built using integrated circuits (chips) instead of individual transistors.

IBM disk drive assembly

IBM 5444 disk storage device, developed at Hursley in 1969 for the System/3 computer. The removable cartridge on top contains a single 14in disk storing up to 2.5MB of data.

IBM disk drive 2

Another early disk drive, showing how little the basic design has changed in decades. The disk platters and read/write head assembly are clearly visible.

IBM 8in floppy disk

An 8in floppy disk, originally developed by IBM for loading microcode into System/370 mainframes at power-up. Later, floppies developed into a widespread general-purpose storage medium.

IBM 3279 colour terminal

Introduced in 1979, the IBM 3279 was the company's first colour mainframe terminal and could even display graphics.


The IBM PC was introduced in 1981, and is the direct ancestor of today's Windows PCs. This model is a PC XT with a hard disk (early models had only floppy drives or a cassette interface), but shows the original PC keyboard layout and the bulky monochrome display screen.

IBM Convertible PC

IBM's PC Convertible, from 1986, was the firm's first 'laptop' computer. It weighed over 5kg, and had a detachable screen allowing it to be used with a monitor on a desk. It was costly compared to rival machines from vendors such as Toshiba, and did not sell well.

IBM ThinkPad 701

The ThinkPad 701, an early ThinkPad laptop model from 1995, featured a unique 'butterfly' keyboard that unfolded and locked together as the lid was lifted, to give a full-size keyboard that is wider than the system case. Later laptops had larger and wider screens, doing away with the need for such a feature.

IBM z10 mainframe

Not an antique, but a modern z10 mainframe used at Hursley as part of IBM's software and services development, and safely behind glass to keep it away from the grubby hands of visitors. µ


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