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Friday, 18 October 2013 10:24

Brits try to boot 50 year old computer

Written by Nick Farrell



Oldest surviving mass-produced computer

The National Museum of Computing has announced that it wants to refurbish and reboot what it believes is the last ICT 1301 in good enough shape to have a chance of working again.

The 50-year-old computer nicknamed Flossie is 20-foot by 23-foot and had been used to produce exam results for students at the University of London in the 1960s. Museum trustee Kevin Murrell told the BBC said before Flossie computers were absolutely huge with valves and thousands of vacuum tubes and would get incredibly hot, making them difficult to house in a normal business.

Flossie was one of the first to use transistors, which used very little power. That meant you could have more of them in the same space, you didn't need the complex cooling equipment and you wouldn't require the high power that earlier computers needed.

The computer was sold at scrap metal value to a group of students. It later ended up on a farm in Kent, whose owner donated it to the museum. Only four of the 150 ICT 1301s built survive with the other three being beyond repair.

Nick Farrell

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