International Business Machines, Corp. - Donation

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The descriptions for the following cataloged objects were provided in 1983-84 by:
Dr. E.W.Pugh, IBM - Thomas Watson Research Center - Yorktown Heights, New York and
Mr. Rowan Dordick, IBM - Information and Technical Communications - Essex Junction, Vermont

During that period the Museum was in the process of collecting early technologies relative to integrated circuits and followed with the exhibition MICROELECTRONICS where several important developments in this technology were made available to the general public.

The exhibition has since closed, however the objects remain in the standing collections for research and review by appointment only. Please allow 3 weeks advance notice to be scheduled on the Museum collections calendar.

IBM 1984.0153  NMAH Catalog Number 1984.0153.01
Ceramic Memory Modules (capped and un-capped)
64K-bit modules, two eight-chip uncapped modules, two capped modules, and two upper and
lower decks, which were included in case anyone was interested in seeing how the substrates look before they are stacked. The chips on these modules each have a capacity of 128 bits. There are four chips on each module, for a total of 512 bits per module. Up to twenty-four of these modules were soldered to the cards that formed the main memory of the IBM System 370/Model 145, which was introduced in 1971 and was the first commercial computer with an all-semiconductor main memory. (related object NMAH Catalog Number 1984.0153.05 below)

IBM 1984.0153  NMAH Catalog Number 1984.0153.02
Ceramic Memory Modules (capped and un-capped)
A double-layer, one-inch ceramic module holding eight memory chips, each with 65,536 bits (64K bits). The module thus contains 524,288 512K) bits, a thousand times as many as the ceramic module of item 3 [NMAH Catalog Number 1984.0153.01]. The first 64 K-bit chips were made in IBM in 1975, engineering parts were shipped to IBM systems developers in 1976, manufacturing was started in 1977, and production systems containing these chips were shipped in 1979. These were the first semiconductor chips with this many bits to be developed and manufactured anywhere in the world. (K here denotes 1024, the nearest binary equivalent to one thousand.)

IBM 1984.0153  NMAH Catalog Number 1984.0153.03
IBM 608 Circuit Card
4 3/4"x 6 1/2"
Containing transistors, resistors, and capacitors, interconnected by printed lines to form logic circuits. More than 600 of these circuit cards were used in each IBM 608 calculator, which is believed to be the world's first fully-transistorized calculator or computer to be placed in production. Even the ferrite core memory of the 608 was driven and supported by transistor drivers, sense amplifiers, and logic. The 608 was announced in August 1955.

The small cylinders are resistors, the large cylinders are capacitors, and the brown and black units are transistors.

IBM 1984.0153  NMAH Catalog Number 1984.0153.04, .07, .08 and .09
An SLT [Solid Logic Technology] printed circuit card with five SLT ceramic modules attached; two extra sealed SLT modules; and one SLT module without the cap, revealing 3 tiny transistors, 3 larger black printed resistors, and connecting lines.

IBM 1984.0153  NMAH Catalog Number 1984.0153.05
Memory Module - used in IBM System/370 Computers
A ceramic memory module of the type used in the world's first integrated-circuit semiconductor main memory available on a production computer, the IBM System/370 Model 145, announced in September 1970. The module is about 1/2 inch on a side and has two silicon chips on each of two ceramic layers. Each silicon chip has 128 bits of memory so the module has 512 bits total.

IBM 1984.0153  NMAH Catalog Number 1984.0153.06
Memory Module - used in IBM System/360 Computers
A ceramic SLT [Solid Logic Technology] module about 1/2 inch on a side, containing enough transistors and printed resistors and conductors to constitute a complete logic circuit, and an SLT printed circuit card about 1 1/2" x 1 3/4", capable of holding up to six modules on one side. The circuit density on an SLT card was about ten times greater than on the circuit cards used in the 608, less than ten years earlier. SLT modules and cards were used in the IBM System/360 computers which were announced in 1964. IBM produced 600,000 of these modules during 1962 and 1963, 6 million in 1964, and about 60 million in 1965.


March 12, 1984 - Comments - IBM 608 Calculator

M U S E U M     F I L E    R E F E R E N C E


In September 1951 Bell Laboratories demonstrated a multiplying unit made with point contact transistors. It may have been the first operational multiplier made with transistors. It was loosely referred to as a calculator and a computer, but clearly it was only a small part of the necessary circuitry. Following that a variety of one-of-a-kind demonstrations were built in many laboratories. Some operated as claimed, and some did not. Some of these were done in secret and some were publicized. Certain specific hardware items were built for the government (especially military agencies) and usually not publicized. Thus determining who developed specific items first is difficult.

In October 1954, IBM publicly demonstrated a fully-transistorized calculator when it dedicated its new Research Laboratory in Poughkeepsie, New York. This was a complete, full-sized calculator in every sense, and may actually be the world's first fully transistorized, complete calculator . It was a transistorized version of the IBM 604 electronic (vacuum tube) calculator, two thousand of which had already been shipped since its introduction in 1948. The transistorized 604 calculator served as the prototype f o r the IBM 608 calculator, which was not announced until August 1955. It is thus not correct to call the IBM 608 the first all-transistor calculator. What distinguishes it, and makes it particularly important historically , is that it was the first fully transistorized calculator to be placed into production and sold commercially. Incidentally the words "calculator" and "computer" were used interchangeably in those days and the distinction between the terms is still ambiguous.

Dr. E.W.Pugh, IBM - Thomas Watson Research Center

National Museum of American History

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